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Which airlines offer the least legroom?

Posting in Technology

For those of us stuck in cattle class, a mad plunge to try and reach the middle emergency-exit seats ensues the moment the door is open.

Combine this with screaming children, the occasional snoring gentleman and a lack of circulation to your legs, and you may wonder if you're really getting what you paid for.

Many factors linked to flying thousands of miles up in the air in a metal tube are unavoidable -- but getting the most legroom you can may not be.

The latest annual Business Traveller Airline survey has ranked airlines depending on how much legroom each passenger is given. Data was taken from 32 airlines, each of which were ranked by legroom and seat width in economy, legroom and seat width in premium economy, and the length of flat beds in business class.

British Airways’ sister airline, Iberia, offers the least legroom in economy with just 28 inches on several of its carriers. Easyjet comes in second-to-last with 29 inches of legroom across its entire fleet, and Air Berlin is in third place with 29 to 30 inches. Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines offer the best legroom at an average of 32 inches.

Budget airline Ryanair takes the trophy for offering the narrowest economy seats offered by airlines, offering only 16 inches of width. Thai Aiways (16 inches), Jet Airways (16.1 inches), and Qatar Airlines (16.5 inches) come in the following places. Air Canada offers the most roomy seats at an average of 18 to 18.5.

In premium economy, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic both give you 38 inches of legroom, whereas Turkish Airlines lets its passengers have 46'' of room. Air New Zealand offers the least at 33” depending on the aircraft.

The seat width in premium economy varies depending on the airline. Cathay, Quantas and Turkish Airlines offer the best deals at 19.5'', whereas Virgin Atlantic and Japan Airways scrimp by giving premium economy passengers only 17.5 inches on some carriers.

According to the survey, airlines offering flat beds were ranked accordingly:

Would you be willing to pay a little more for those extra inches of legroom?

Image credit: Flickr

— By on November 2, 2012, 10:42 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure