Can You Buy Two Seats on an Airplane to Get Extra Space?

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

When you are squeezed into your row while flying, you may wonder if it’s worth it to buy the seat next to you just so you can spread out a bit and be more comfortable.

A discussion on this topic appeared on the Elliott Advocacy forums.

To satisfy your curiosity, buying the additional seat is possible if you have the money to do it. For some passengers, the airlines requires the purchase of the adjacent seat if the passenger is unable to fit safely in only one.

For example, United Airlines says this about extra seat purchases on their website:

A customer is required to purchase an additional seat or upgrade if they do not meet one of the following criteria:

  1. The customer must be able to properly attach, buckle and wear the seat belt, with one extension if necessary, whenever the seatbelt sign is illuminated or as instructed by a crew member.
  2. The customer must be able to remain seated with the seat armrest(s) down for the entirety of the flight.
  3. The customer must not significantly encroach upon the adjacent seating space.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

American says, “if a customer’s body extends more than one inch beyond the outermost edge of the armrest and a seat belt extension is needed…” passengers are required to buy the extra seat. Delta only recommends passengers of larger sizes buy the seat next to them to be more comfortable.

What the major carriers don’t say is if extra seats can be purchased if their specific size requirements aren’t met.

To that point, Alaska and JetBlue don’t have size requirements at all for purchasing adjacent seating. Alaska even calls them Comfort Seats–and don’t we all want to be comfortable?

If you do decide you want to take the extra steps for extra comfort, refer to the individual airlines’ websites for instructions on booking, or call them directly. Seems pretty straightforward, right?

So let’s talk about getting to use the extra seat.

Photo Credit: Pixnio

You must check in for both seats. You will get two boarding passes. You will be questioned by the agents you pass on the way to boarding.

Then, it’s your responsibility to defend your right to your seat. Other people and even the flight attendants will want to know why the extra seat you bought and paid for appears empty. Be polite and firm on this point. That’s your seat even if your rear end isn’t exactly in it.

Finally, don’t forget to check the charge for an upgrade. There’s hardly any drama in first class, you get extra leg (and fanny) room and a hot towel. That may be all worthwhile.

What do you think? Buying another seat for yourself anytime soon? Let us know in the comments!