Spirit Airlines

How Much Legroom Do You Really Have (or Not) on Spirit Airlines

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In this day and age with smaller and smaller planes, leg room and space have become more and more of an issues for air travelers. Spirit Airlines is notorious for having the least amount of space in the industry. But how does it compare to the other airlines?

To keep this as standardized as possible I’m going to use the seating on various airlines for an Airbus A320 for this comparison.

Spirit Airlines:
Big Front Seat: Seat Pitch: 36″ Width: 20″
Row behind “Big Front Seat”: Seat Pitch: 37″ Width: 17.75″
Exit Row Seats: Seat Pitch: 38″ Width: 17.75″
Everywhere Else: Seat Pitch: 28″ Width: 17.75″

The other airlines do not advertise how much extra leg room comes with an exit row seat. I’m going to assume the width of the seat is the same as in economy and anywhere from 6-8 inches more leg room.

Economy: Seat pitch: 30-31″ Width: 18″

Southwest: They only fly Boeing aircraft, so I compared it to those
Boeing 737-700: Seat pitch: 31″ Width: 17″
All others in their fleet: Seat pitch: 32-33″ Width: 17″

Even more space: Seat pitch: 38-39″ Width: 17.8″
Coach: Seat pitch: 34″ Width: 17.8″

US Airways:
First: Seat pitch: 38″ Width: 21″
Coach: Seat pitch: 31″ Width: 18″

First: Seat pitch: 36″ Width: 21″
Economy Comfort: Seat pitch: 34″ Width: 17.2″
Economy: Seat pitch: 31-32″ Width: 17.2″

First: Seat pitch: 38″ Width: 20.5″
Economy Plus: Seat pitch: 36″ Width: 18″
Economy: Seat pitch: 31″ Width: 18″

American Airlines: (Airbus A319)
First: Seat pitch: 38″ Width: 21″
Main Cabin Extra: Seat pitch: 34″ Width: 17.7″
Economy: Seat pitch: 30″ Width: 17.7″

Virgin America:
First: Seat pitch: 55″ Width: 21″
Main Cabin Select: Seat pitch: 38″ Width: 17.7″
Economy: Seat pitch: 32″ Width: 17.7″


On Spirit airlines, the length of your flight, where your seat is located on the plane, and the amount of extra space you get determines the cost of your seat.

For my upcoming flight to Vegas (from DFW), if I wanted the peace of mind to buy a regular seat beforehand (to guarantee you won’t have a middle seat), it can cost between $10 – $20 depending on where I’m at in the plane.

It’s $10 for the back of the plane, $15 for the middle of the plane behind the exit row seats, and $20 to be in front of the exit row seats.

Keep in mind these costs are each way and they also fluctuate depending on the length of the flight.

For an exit row seat it’s $35. For a “Big Front Seat” it’s $55. These prices are all specifically for the Vegas route.

I also have seen “Big Front Seats” cost only $35 a seat, and the exit row seats only cost $27 a seat (e.g. DFW to Detroit) and $30 and $20 respectively (DFW to DEN).

Something interesting I’ve noticed is I can never find available for purchase the seats directly behind the “Big Front Seats”. It seems to not matter which route I put in or how soon or how far out the flight is, they never are available for purchase even though they’re always advertising the extra leg room. If most (or all) of the exit row seats and the big front seats are available, I would think one or two seats in those first rows should be available too. I wonder if Spirit saves those seats for something particular or they’re not made available for purchase until you check-in for your flight. Definitely something I’ll be looking for the next time I check-in online.

Again with Spirit vs. other airlines, it’s all in what you want and need and what you’re willing to pay for. If paying for the extra leg room on Spirit is considerably cheaper than an “Economy Plus/Extra/Select” class on another airline that may be the choice for you. Someone told me they once got a “big front seat” cheaper than one of their other “extra leg room” seats so never make assumptions and always double-check the prices for your specific flight.


For more on Spirit Airlines, check out Tiff’s comprehensive guide!

Everything You Need to Know About Spirit Airlines



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Tiff's first big vacation was a Caribbean cruise when she was six. She first started getting interested in deals when her husband showed her the tricks to getting bought off your flights back in the late 90s. She started flying nonrev when they got married; the first unusual nonrev she did was in '05 when her family flew through San Juan to get to Dallas from Philly. They have two boys, ages 11 and 7, who she usually drags along on their travels and hopes they will grow up to love traveling as much as she does.


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