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New Technology Gives Tall People Extra Legroom

Have you heard about the new adjustable seats in airplanes where the crew can shift the individual seats back and forth ? Engineering firm B.E. Aerospace has filed a patent for this technology.”

It’s all about allowing tall passengers to get a little more space for their knees, which is then taken from a shorter passenger sitting front of or behind the tall person.

So imagine yourself being really tall and you can’t really fit in an airplane seat. You sit down and find that the seat in front of you touches your knees – very annoying.

With only an incremental increase in the space you’re given, your whole trip can become so much more comfortable and pleasant. Because if you gain an inch or two in space for your knees, they won’t have to press against the seat which is really frustrating in the long run.

“Even a relatively small incremental increase in seat spacing for the tall passengers can provide additional comfort with no loss of comfort to the much smaller passengers seated in front of the tall passengers,” (B/E engineering)

Personally I hope that a technology of some sort will pass through and be implemented in all airplanes.

Movable seats won’t happen tomorrow

It is probably a longer process than one would think because the standard systems are so widely used and yeah.. standard. So it probably takes some time before airline seats will be movable.

But I think the idea of giving individual spacing in airplanes is really great. Shorter individuals like children or short adults don’t need all the space they’re given in the airplane.

They have plenty of legroom in their seat and could easily give up 2, 3 or 4 inches. I know I would love to have a little more legroom for my long legs on a long trip.

‘Knee defenders’ causes fight on airplane

Maybe you know the knee defender? It’s a small plastic device that you put into the seat in front of you and which makes it impossible for the person in front of you to lean back.

knee defender 2

We all know the situation when someone wants to sleep or relax on the plane. And in order to do so they want to lay down a little bit. But what they don’t realize or choose to forget is that they take the space from you.

There is a small plastic device that limits the ability to do so or even blocks it. But this all came to a situation where two passengers got in a fight over these knee defenders.  So airplanes generally discourage using these and I even think they are banned in some airplanes.

knee defender

Then there is the problem with stating your height, because you have to do that in order to decide who gets more or less legroom. But if people know that they are granted more leg room if they higher height, then they’ll maybe lie about it.

People are probably going to say that they are taller than they really are to get a little extra space for themselves. But in the end it’s the cabin crew who decides who gets extra legroom and who doesn’t get any extra legroom.

adjust seats digitally

As far as I could understand it is all going to be controlled digitally. I don’t know the details but I guess the B/E Aerospace company has thought it all through and are ready to implement this technology when they have gotten approval for the filed patent.

Would you like to be able to ask for extra legroom?

I would love to hear what your thoughts on this technology is. Do you think that people should get different amounts of legroom while flying on an airplane, or any other kind of transportation? Or do you think the current ‘one size fits’ all is a better solution.

Feel very free to comment below 🙂

8 Responses
  • This is pure genius! I would be thrilled to be on a plane that has this technology. Interesting point about people lying about their height. I wouldn’t have thought of that but I could see where people might embellish a bit. Maybe the air crew will make people do the classic “back-to-back” measurement test to see who is taller and deserves the seat moved. Hah! Thanks for an interesting read!

    Beth @

    • Rued
      September 11, 2015

      It will be interesting to see how they will implement this technology. Hopefully they will do it soon so we can get the better seats when we really are as tall as we say we are 😉

  • Dave
    September 18, 2015

    Two years ago I had to fly to Kyoto from SF. Checking on I found that near the front, on each side, they had one seat removed. Naturally I picked the seat behind one of those and fully extended my legs in comfort. The only downside is you can’t stow a bag under the seat in front of you, so the stewardess might force you to stow what you’re carrying in the overhead. The airline was US Air. I’m 6’7″ with not so good knees so if I have to fly anywhere, I try to book way in advance to increase the odds of finding miracles like that on seatguru, otherwise just get the economy plus. I’m too old to just cope as you suggested in another post.

    Btw, I recently went to try on cars to see what fits. What do you drive?

  • Mark
    September 29, 2015

    I love this idea, unfortunately of course you can guarantee that when it does become available, it’s going to be chargable – at least with airlines such as Ryan air. So essentially tall men are going to be given the “opportunity” to pay for enough room for their knees 🙂

    • Rued
      November 27, 2015

      Yes that’s true. And I gladly would pay a bit extra for some extra leg room – if its a longer trip 🙂

  • Laura
    December 12, 2015

    I work for a low cost airline and we offer extra legroom seats for a small fee that are usually occupied by all sorts of people, not only taller ones, because they are more comfortable. It always amazed me how very tall people do not take the opportunity to purchase such a seat and try to fit and squeeze themselves in all directions, but do not take the chance to travel more comfortably. If you ask me though, i think such seats should be offered for free to tall people as it really is very uncomfortable to travel in such limited space. It should work the same as extension belts, why being slightly overweight allows you to have a free extension belt, but being taller than average does not entitle you to a extra legroom seat…hmmm… some people might say that extension belts are related to safety, extra legroom seats are not, but this is not entirely true. Why ? Simply because it isn’t safe to hit a person with a service trolley every time you pass through the galley too, as they stretch their legs out.Someone might get hurt. Maybe the airlines should consider the option adding “in need of extra legroom” to their service list as you book the ticket. It works the same way for passengers with reduced mobility, babies and so on, why not make the journey of taller people a bit more comfortable as well.

    • Zoe Borrowdale
      October 31, 2016

      We are a family of 5 all between 6:1 and 2 at 6:7. That small cost becomes a larger one when x 5 . When I was younger when we were in the check in queue they noted that our family were tall and would allocate the seats with legroom to us . It’s obvious on the whole unless it’s a medical condition who needs those seats . Just because you are tall doesn’t mean you have extra cash to pay for legroom seats. It smacks of discrimination

      • Rued
        October 31, 2016

        That’s true – it would only make sense to check people’s height before allowing them to reserve exit row seats. I hope these things will change in the future, so tall people get some kind of advantage in selecting seats with extra leg room when flying.

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