The world is huge

Don't miss any of it

Travel news, itineraries, and inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.


The 27-Inch-Pitch Airline Seat Is Coming

Spirit and Ryanair, the two ultra-low-cost airlines infamous for their low-priced, no-comfort flights, cram as many seats as possible into their planes. That’s their business model. With pitch—the front-to-back distance between seats—as little as 28 inches and 30 inches, respectively, legroom is an oxymoron.

As unpleasant as the inflight experience on those carriers can be, a new benchmark for ultra-cramped seating may be in the offing.

Zodiac Aerospace, self-proclaimed “world leader in aircraft seating,” presented its new ultra-slimline seat designs at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, including the L3, which could be a game-changer for high-density seating.

The L3, according to the manufacturer, “is a revolutionary passenger seat dedicated for medium/short haul flights, offering a good living space to passengers and to airlines a higher density and a lighter weight, below 4 kg. per passenger.”

A good living space?

The speculation is that the new ultra-slimline seats have been designed specifically to allow an extra row of seats on the popular A320, increasing the plane’s capacity from 180 to 186 seats. But to do that, the seats would have to be arranged with just 27 inches of pitch between rows.

A good living space?

Just how good would your experience of the living space be when shoehorned into a seat with just 27 inches of pitch? Next time you’re whiling away the hours in a coach seat with 30 or 31 inches of pitch, on a fully-loaded flight, just imagine the seat in front of you 3 or 4 inches closer to your knees.

“A good living space” probably won’t be the first words that spring to mind.

Reader Reality Check

How little legroom can you live with?

This article originally appeared on

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Top Fares From