i'm flying from Frankfurt to Seattle(condor airlines - Boeing 767-300 economy class) in few weeks for the first time, and the seat width in the plane is 17 inches,while my width is around 19 inches, will there be any problems ?

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    Well of course from the measurements you quote there will be problems. You can purchase two seats for comfort or hope you get an empty seat adjacent to you. People have been known to get into arguments even fights with seatmates over such inconveniences Jan 4 '19 at 14:19
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    @KeithLoughnane I've always (within in the United States) raised the armrest the first thing I do before I even take my seat when traveling with my wife and I've never heard an announcement about armrests needing to be lowered for takeoff/landing.. Qr14: 2" inches should be no problem, especially with a raised armrest. An aisle seat might be a bit more wiggle room but then you face bumps from passengers and drink carts. Jan 4 '19 at 15:25
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    @MarkStewart a window seat might also provide more room, though on smaller planes the curvature sometimes means that there is less room for the feet or head. At least there is no bumping from the aisle traffic. It's occasionally possible to lift the outer armrest on a window seat by finding the secret switch under the armrest. I've actually managed this only once. A sympathetic flight attendant might help with this, though I suspect that the switch is hidden because of some regulation or another.
    – phoog
    Jan 4 '19 at 16:38
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    As a note, depending on your airline premium economy might be cheaper than buying two seats and a better experience on a very long flight. Jan 4 '19 at 19:32
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    @MarkStewart It may be that US internal flights are lax about safety procedures. For international flights though, they will always insist on armrests being up.
    – Graham
    Jan 5 '19 at 9:30

As the 767 has 2-3-2 seating and you are travelling with a companion, if you are able to select seats, you can:

  • book 2 seats on one of the sides, and use the window seat for yourself. There's usually a little bit of extra room on that side, at chest/arm level (there's of course plenty of extra room at chest/arm level if you are in an aisle seat, but then you get bumped into constantly).

  • book 2 aisle seats on the same row in the central portion, which an empty seat between you. There's evidently no guarantee that it will remain empty, but such seats are always the last to go, so if the flight isn't completely full, you may have an empty seat next to you. If there's someone in the end, they will probably gladly switch their middle seat for an aisle seat. The further back in the plane you select the higher the chances the seat will remain empty, usually.

Note: do NOT book seats on the first row of any section (like row 22 for instance, and 23 on some versions). You may have extra legroom, but the TV screen and/or tray table are often in the armrest, so the armrest can't move and is usually thicker than on other seats, reducing width even more.

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    Excellent point about the front row seats. Some people quite like being in the front row, though I (at 6'5" or 195 cm) generally do not, because even though my knees and shins are happier in the front row, I usually cannot stretch my feet enough. If OP ends up in the front row, though, it should not be too difficult to find someone willing to switch, since most people view these seats as more desirable.
    – phoog
    Jan 4 '19 at 16:43
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    Traveler can try to select a seat based on information from seatguru.com Jan 4 '19 at 21:49

Many airlines do have rules around this (primary for safety reasons). Typical are

  1. If the seat belt doesn't close, they will give a seat belt extender
  2. If one extender isn't enough either, you may be prohibited from flying since they think you can't be kept safely in the seat during severe turbulence (which is rare, but happens)
  3. Both armrest need to be able to come down. If you the arm rest won't go down, you need to buy an extra seat. Some airlines have an extra category for this type of seat

I couldn't find the specific rules for Condor so I recommend to contact the airline directly and ask.

EDIT It looks like Condor flies a 767 with a 2-3-2 configuration on this route. If you buy an extra seat and you and your companion get a 3 seat row in the middle, you'd be quite comfortable. It's a lot of extra money, but it's also an 11 hour flight.


You can purchase an extra seat or make sure there is an empty set next to you. Some people get annoyed when people take up to much room. You can push the armrest up if you want.

  • If you want and your neighbour agrees (unlikely) or you don't have one, of course.
    – jcaron
    Jan 4 '19 at 15:54
  • You can only push the armrest up after takeoff. During takeoff and landing, the armrest between you and your neighbour needs to be down. No exceptions.
    – Graham
    Jan 5 '19 at 9:34

Since you're flying on an aircraft with a 2-3-2 configuration and mention that you're flying with someone who is much smaller, I'd recommend picking one of the groups of two seats on the side. Assuming the person you're flying with is ok with it, you can raise the armrest between you. The armrest on the aisle generally must be kept down during takeoff and landing, but you can usually raise the one between seats if it is movable.

You should avoid picking the bulkhead seats (the first row in a given cabin,) as these often (including on some of Condor's 767 configurations) have the tray table stored in the arm rest. This significantly reduces seat width at the hip area and also makes the arm rest immovable (so you can't raise the arm rest between you and the person you're traveling with.)

Of course, another option would be to pay to upgrade to business class. These seats are 19" wide. They also fold out into a bed, which makes sleeping on a long-haul flight much easier than in economy, though, in Condor's case, the beds are angled downward somewhat rather than being fully flat, as on most of the major airlines' modern business-class products.

Condor currently operates 3 different seating configurations on their 767s, but all of them are 2-3-2 in economy and 2-2-2 with angle-flat seats in business. You can find the current configurations on Seat Guru's page for Condor.


Flying with assigned seats, I request the aisle seat, as a broad broad. I unapologetically request a seat belt extender from the attendant first thing. Sometimes, if there is not much of a crowd around, I request one as I pass upon entry. I smile and am polite. I do not attempt to fasten my seatbelt until I obtain the extender. I pull the armrest up before being seated.

When I get the extender, I fasten it, but only after all passengers have been seated in my row.

If I am flying Southwest where seats are not officially assigned except A, B or C, I am careful to log in early as possible before leaving for the airport in order to register for Group A which enables me to be seated during the first group. I choose an aisle seat, and like above, I request an extender, waiting to fasten my seatbelt until everyone has been seated in my row. While I am waiting for Groups B and C to be seated, I make myself appear as fat and unhappy as possible. I frown. That's all. I make eye contact with every person who walks down that aisle, and, using my very best "Resting "bit*&face" expression, magically, no one chooses to sit next to me. Easy peasy.

Never apologize for your size. I don't like have half my thigh flopping over into the next seat, but I am wider than a 140 lb person. So what? The airlines choose to make their seats 17 inches (barely) and no one is "comfortable" during a flight. You have a right to be there just like the tiniest person does. Some people talk incessantly, some have horrible breath that knocks you out from 10 feet away, some drink heavily, crunch chips or nuts in your ear, some people need a bath or don't use deoderant. Others fart. We are each different. There are a number of things that make me physically or mentally uncomfortable when I fly. My extra girth is the thing that makes others uncomfortable with me. I am aware of it. I wonder if they are equally as self-aware of their own idiosyncrasies.

Happy traveling!


You will be fine. Everybody fills up the seats on planes these days no matter how large or small, not to worry.

My dad worked for an airline and the 17" measurement is not always accurate. They have to list the smallest seat that might be on a plane and not all seats are that size. He also used to point out that the seat measurement is for the butt pad (for lack of a better word) and does not include the area that the arm rests flare out. Hope that helps, have a good flight!


I'm a pretty broad person, and fly regularly. I buy one seat, generally on one of the edges (in 3-3 configurations). If you can get into the exit row, you'll have more leg room. Personally, I found flying to be uncomfortable even before I gained weight. It's uncomfortable, and it sucks. If you can get an edge seat, with your companion beside you, you could be more happy about being in such close quarters.

The idea that you should be required to purchase an additional seat because people are made uncomfortable by sitting next to a fat person is valid if you want to, but by no means necessary. I am made uncomfortable by sitting next to strangers who talk to me during flights, but I recognize that there are things I can do to mitigate that.

If you are still nervous, I would encourage you to look up resources by fat people regarding flying while fat-- there's a lot of them. But I wouldn't bother buying an extra seat. It's a huge amount of money. Flying on its own is stressful enough, don't add the stress about your body onto it. Everyone is uncomfortable and cramped on an airplane. That's just

  • Buying a comfort seat isn't necessarily expensive - you won't pay the taxes or surcharges, just the fare, which in economy may only be a modest proportion of the cost of a second ticket. However it'll depend on the airline's policies and unfortunately I'm not familiar with this carrier. Jan 4 '19 at 17:39
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    It's not "made uncomfortable" like not knowing which gender pronoun to use. It's "made actually uncomfortable" due to physical dimensions remaining. The indignity of someone else intruding upon ones own space that one paid good money for, and the concomitant disrespect for the concept of ownership, is secondary. Jan 4 '19 at 19:16
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    It is by all means necessary to purchase a second seat or a ticket in a higher cabin class with wider seats according to the contracts of cartridge of many airlines.
    – Sean
    Jan 4 '19 at 20:37
  • I'm not familiar with Condor, but some airlines will actually refund the price of the second seat to you if the aircraft is not sold-out. For example, I seem to recall reading that this is Southwest's policy.
    – reirab
    Jan 4 '19 at 23:05

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