Reader Mail : “What is seat pitch?”

This week’s reader mail took some clarification because when I first read it I was sure it was a typo … but apparently it was a communications error.

This week’s Reader Mail comes from Lysse. Lysse was on the phone with an airline changing her seats when she asked about legroom in economy class … the answer she received back from the agent on the other end, speaking with a ‘heavy accent,’ caught her by surprise.

So … here was the original question of the week “What is seat b!+ch? I’d swear the lady on the phone said my seat had a 31 inch b!+ch.”  Now, with some clarification, I know the real question of the week is “What is seat pitch.”

So Lysse, now that we’ve clarified your question … let me explain what Seat Pitch is.  Simply put, Seat Pitch is the distance between two seats. Specifically Seat Pitch is the distance between the back of the seat your sitting in and the back of the seat you’re staring at, ie: the meal tray the person behind you is looking to the meal tray in front of you that you’re staring at. This distance is called Seat Pitch.

While technically legroom depends on the thickness of a seat and the depth of a seat’s under-seat space… Seat Pitch is generally a term used to inform passengers of their legroom in a seat.

Below is a photo I shot on-board a Bombardier Q400 NextGen demo-plane with different Seat Pitch configurations.  I have drawn in markings showing where Seat Pitch is measured from.

Hope this answers your question!

Happy Flying!

a row of seats in an airplane


  1. It is the whine that occurs as the seats are moved closer together. the lower the number the more irritating the pitch. Consider that in the
    post air dereg late 80’s First Pitch 40-42″ wide 27-29″ coach 34-36″ wide 24″ tourist 32″ wide 22″ earlier in the 70’s First Pitch 50-55″ wide 30″ Coach 40 wide 26 Tourist 34-35 wide 24
    Now early y2k first pitch 60″ wide 26-30″ Busi 40-46 wide 26 coach 34-36 wide 22-24
    today first (mostly extinct) LH Busi 60″ wide 26-28″ SH busi 38-40 wide 26-28 peco 34-36 wide 20-22 eco 31-33 wide 19-22.

    Super LCC (Spirit/Alligiant/Frontier) run eco at 26-28 pitch and 17″-18″ wide. Talk about getting to know your neighbor!

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