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High angle view of male passenger fastening seat belt while sitting on the airplane for safe flight. Safety, traveling concept
Yaroslav Astakhov | Adobe Stock

The Ultimate Guide to Airplane Seatbelt Extenders

For many travelers, flying on an airplane is a stressful and uncomfortable experience. Airline seats seem to get smaller and smaller, with less and less legroom. For plus-sized passengers, the airline-provided seat belts might not comfortably buckle, presenting a safety issue. If your seatbelt won’t close, you’ll need to request an airplane seatbelt extender. This guide covers everything you need to know about airplane seatbelt extenders so you can fly confidently.

What Are Airplane Seatbelt Extenders?

Airplane seatbelt extenders, sometimes called seatbelt extensions, are longer seatbelt straps provided by airlines to give passengers more room. They attach to the built-in seatbelts to make them longer and looser. Standard airplane seatbelts are between 39 and 51 inches and vary by aircraft. Seatbelt extenders generally provide an extra 25 inches of length. 

How Do You Request an Airplane Seatbelt Extender?

air hostess service on plane , flight attendant checking and closing cabin compartment in airplane
sittinan | Adobe Stock

Airlines stock seatbelt extenders on every flight. To request one, simply ask a flight attendant. If you want to request an airplane seatbelt extender discreetly, here are a few tips:

  • Ask for one as you board the plane (the flight attendant can drop it off at your seat)
  • Ask the flight attendant for one as they are walking around and checking the overhead bins
  • Ring the call button after taking your seat and ask for one

Flight attendants hand out airplane seatbelt extenders on a daily basis, so don’t be embarrassed to ask for one. It’s mandatory that you be buckled in before takeoff, so proactively requesting one will help speed up the process. 

How Do Airplane Seatbelt Extenders Work?

Using an airline seatbelt extender is very easy. Simply click the extender into the plane’s seat belt and adjust the belt to be the correct length. It should fit snugly but not too tight. 

Can You Bring Your Own Seatbelt Extender on a Plane?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strictly prohibits passengers from using their own seatbelt extenders. The seatbelt extenders provided by the airlines have been tested to meet stringent safety standards, and ones purchased online could break or fail in case of an accident.

If a flight attendant sees a passenger attempting to use their own seatbelt extender, they will require them to swap it out for the airline’s. 

Does Requesting a Seatbelt Extender Cost Extra or Require Pre-Booking?

All passengers deserve to fly safely, so there are absolutely no fees or costs associated with using a seatbelt extender. There’s also no need to prebook or reserve one—just ask for it when you board. 

Can You Use a Seatbelt Extender in an Exit Row?

Unfortunately, seatbelt extenders are not allowed in the exit row. Seatbelt extenders could become an obstruction or trip hazard in an emergency, hindering access to the exit.

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