Are Spirit Airlines Seats Smaller? A Detailed Look

If you’ve flown Spirit Airlines before, you may have noticed their seats feel a bit snug. Spirit is known for offering ultra low fares by cutting amenities and maximizing the number of seats on their planes.

This often leaves passengers wondering – are Spirit Airlines seats actually smaller than other airlines?

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: Yes, Spirit Airlines seats are generally smaller than other major US airlines. Spirit configures their Airbus narrow-body planes with 28″ seat pitch and 16.5-17.8″ seat width depending on aircraft.

This is less than American, Delta, United and JetBlue.

Spirit’s “Seats Made for You” Philosophy

When it comes to airline travel, comfort is often a top priority for passengers. Spirit Airlines, known for its low-cost fares, has a unique approach to seating that they call their “Seats Made for You” philosophy.

This philosophy is centered around maximizing the number of seats per plane, resulting in smaller seat sizes compared to other airlines.

More Seats Per Plane

One of the reasons behind Spirit’s smaller seats is their aim to fit more passengers on each aircraft. By maximizing the number of seats per plane, Spirit is able to offer lower fares and make air travel more accessible to a wider range of people.

While this may mean a sacrifice in personal space, it allows Spirit to keep their prices competitive.

Less Legroom and Width

One of the main complaints about Spirit Airlines is the limited legroom and width of their seats. Passengers often feel cramped and uncomfortable during their flights, especially on longer journeys. Spirit’s seats typically have less legroom and narrower width compared to other airlines, which can be a downside for taller or larger passengers.

Seat Sizes by Aircraft

The seat sizes on Spirit Airlines can vary depending on the aircraft type. For example, their Airbus A320 aircraft typically have seats with a pitch (the distance between one seat and the seat in front of it) of around 28 inches and a width of about 17.75 inches.

On the other hand, their smaller Airbus A319 aircraft may have slightly smaller seat dimensions.

It’s important to note that while Spirit’s seats may be smaller, they still meet the safety regulations set by aviation authorities. Additionally, Spirit offers seat upgrades for passengers who prefer more space and comfort during their flights.

If you’re considering flying with Spirit Airlines, it’s important to be aware of their seating philosophy and the potential trade-off in comfort. However, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option and don’t mind sacrificing some personal space, Spirit can be a great choice for your travels.

How Spirit Seat Sizes Compare to Other Airlines

Legroom Comparison

When it comes to legroom, Spirit Airlines is known for having one of the tightest seat pitches in the industry. Seat pitch refers to the distance between a point on one seat and the same point on the seat in front or behind it.

On Spirit Airlines, the average seat pitch is around 28 inches, which is significantly smaller than other major airlines. To put it into perspective, the average seat pitch on Delta Air Lines is around 31-32 inches, while JetBlue Airways offers an average seat pitch of 33-34 inches.

This means that passengers on Spirit Airlines may have less legroom, especially for taller individuals or those who like to stretch out during long flights.

Seat Width Comparison

In addition to the limited legroom, Spirit Airlines also offers narrower seat widths compared to other airlines. The average seat width on Spirit Airlines is around 17-18 inches, while other major carriers typically offer seat widths ranging from 18-19 inches.

This may seem like a small difference, but it can make a significant impact on overall comfort, especially for larger passengers or those who prefer a little extra space. It’s important to note that these measurements can vary depending on the aircraft and seating configuration, so it’s always a good idea to check the specific dimensions for your flight when booking your ticket.

Aircraft Comparison

It’s worth mentioning that seat sizes can vary even within the same airline, as different aircraft may have different seating configurations. For example, Spirit Airlines operates a fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, which generally have tighter seat pitches and narrower seat widths compared to larger aircraft like the Boeing 737 or Airbus A330.

If you have a choice in selecting your flight, consider checking the aircraft type and seating configuration to ensure a more comfortable journey.

Why Spirit Uses Smaller Seats

There are a few reasons why Spirit Airlines chooses to use smaller seats on their aircraft. Let’s take a closer look at these reasons:

Lower Costs

One of the main reasons why Spirit Airlines uses smaller seats is to lower costs. By using smaller seats, the airline is able to fit more passengers onto each flight. This means that they can sell more tickets and generate more revenue without having to increase the size of their aircraft.

Additionally, smaller seats require less material to manufacture, reducing production costs for the airline. This cost-saving measure allows Spirit to offer lower fares compared to other airlines.

Higher Revenues

Using smaller seats also allows Spirit Airlines to maximize their revenue. By fitting more seats into the aircraft, they are able to sell more tickets on each flight. This increases the overall capacity of the plane and allows the airline to accommodate a larger number of passengers.

With more passengers on board, Spirit can generate higher revenues from ticket sales and other onboard services. This business strategy has proven successful for Spirit, as they focus on providing affordable travel options for budget-conscious travelers.

In fact, according to a recent study by Travel + Leisure, Spirit Airlines has been consistently ranked as one of the most profitable airlines in the industry. Their approach of using smaller seats to maximize capacity and revenue has contributed to their financial success.

It’s important to note that while Spirit Airlines’ seats may be smaller compared to some other airlines, they still comply with safety regulations and undergo rigorous testing to ensure passenger comfort and safety.

Additionally, passengers have the option to purchase additional legroom or upgrade to larger seats if they prefer more space during their flight.

Passenger Feedback on Spirit’s Small Seats

Complaints About Discomfort

When it comes to Spirit Airlines, one of the most common complaints from passengers is the size of the seats. Many travelers have expressed their discomfort and dissatisfaction with the limited space provided on Spirit flights.

With a reputation for having some of the smallest seats in the industry, it’s no surprise that passengers often voice their concerns about the lack of legroom and overall cramped conditions.

Some passengers have even compared the seating experience on Spirit Airlines to sitting in a “sardine can” or “cattle car.” This cramped seating can be particularly challenging for taller individuals or those with mobility issues, as they may find it difficult to find a comfortable position during the flight.

While Spirit Airlines has taken steps to maximize space and fit more seats on their planes, this has led to a reduction in legroom and overall seat comfort. It’s important for passengers to be aware of these limitations when considering flying with Spirit, especially if they prioritize comfort during their journey.

Praise for Low Fares

Despite the discomfort associated with smaller seats, Spirit Airlines has also received praise from passengers for their low fares. One of the main reasons why people choose to fly with Spirit is because of the affordable ticket prices.

For budget-conscious travelers, the cost savings can outweigh the drawbacks of the smaller seats.

Passengers who prioritize saving money over comfort often appreciate Spirit’s low-cost model. By offering basic amenities and charging for optional extras, Spirit is able to keep their ticket prices significantly lower than many other airlines.

This makes it an attractive option for those who are willing to sacrifice a bit of comfort for the sake of their wallet.

It’s worth noting that while Spirit Airlines seats may be smaller, they do offer options for passengers to upgrade their seating for a more comfortable experience. These upgrades typically come with additional fees, but they can provide extra legroom and other amenities to enhance the overall flight experience.

Tips for Flying Comfortably on Spirit

While Spirit Airlines is known for its low fares, it’s no secret that their seats are smaller compared to other airlines. However, there are a few tips and tricks you can employ to make your flight more comfortable.

Pick Seats With More Legroom

If you value legroom, consider selecting seats with extra space. Spirit offers seats with more legroom for an additional fee. These seats are typically located in exit rows or towards the front of the plane. By choosing these seats, you can stretch your legs and enjoy a more comfortable flight.

Try Big Front Seats

If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can upgrade to Spirit’s Big Front Seats. These seats are wider and offer more legroom than the regular seats. They are located at the front of the plane and provide a more spacious and comfortable experience.

While this upgrade comes at an additional cost, it may be worth it for those seeking extra comfort during their flight.

Avoid Overhead Baggage

One of the main reasons for discomfort on Spirit Airlines is the limited space in the overhead bins. To ensure a more pleasant flight, try to pack light and avoid carrying large or bulky carry-on bags.

Spirit has strict baggage policies, and if your bag doesn’t fit under the seat in front of you, you may be charged an additional fee. By traveling with only a personal item that fits under the seat, you can maximize your legroom and have a more comfortable journey.

Remember, while Spirit Airlines may have smaller seats, there are ways to make your flight more comfortable. By choosing seats with more legroom, considering an upgrade to Big Front Seats, and packing light, you can have a more enjoyable experience while flying with Spirit.


While Spirit Airlines seats are among the smallest of major US airlines, this allows Spirit to offer incredibly low base fares. Passengers have to decide if the tradeoff is worth it for them. Those wanting more comfort can choose roomier seats for an additional fee.

At the end of the day, Spirit gives flyers options amid an increasingly crowded airline industry.

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