I usually fly first class, so I never thought too much about using a computer in coach, but I was flying coach on American today in a 737, and I could not use my computer because the seat in front of me was so close. Some news articles says other airlines have done the same thing, so that laptop computers can no longer be used.

Is there any US-based carrier that enough room in coach to use a full size laptop computer?

I looked up the dimensions on seat guru and this is what it said:

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So, apparently I was in one of the 31" planes. How can I tell if it is a 35" pitch plane?

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    This question is impossible to answer because it depends on the user, as well as the aircraft (seats are not exactly the same on all an airline's aircraft). I frequently use a full-size laptop in economy. It's not exactly as comfortable or productive as sitting at my desk but I make it work. You (or someone) pays for an upgrade because those seats have more legroom and are more comfortable. Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 23:55
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    The size of the laptop is certainly a factor too. Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 1:34
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    Seatguru is neither official nor is it accurate. seatexpert.com/seatmap/62/American_Airlines_Boeing_737-800 will show you only the 31-32" configurations and the difference between 31 and 37 is suspicously close to aa.com/i18n/aboutUs/ourPlanes/boeing-737-800.jsp "up to 6 more inches of legroom" AA toutes for Main Cabin Extra. I would suggest paying for Main Cabin Extra if you want 35" , it won't happen otherwise.
    – user4188
    Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 2:49
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    What size is your laptop? I've used my 15" frequently in coach and it was okay, although there obviously wasn't enough space for an external mouse.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 9:10
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    The solution is to buy a first class ticket ;)
    – Calchas
    Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


No. I know this site doesn't allow for such short answers but seriously: no. These days for a little extra legroom you are expected to pay for, Premium Economy under various names (United Economy Plus, American Airlines Main Cabin Extra, Delta Comfort+).

Edit: Alaska too.

  • That's really unbelievable. Just a few years ago I could use laptop computers no problem in coach. Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 23:37
  • Maybe someone didn't recline? Yes, before deregulation it was 35 inches typically and it's 31-ish now but that has been a case since, well, since you can have a laptop :) Here's a www1.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/… thread I found from 2001 where it was 31-32 on BA.
    – user4188
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 23:40
  • @LemuelGulliver That's the way things are going, people want cheap flights not space. Maybe if you are desperate you can do a little work in the cramped conditions, but if your time is that important to you, you need to pay for the extra space.
    – Calchas
    Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 14:17

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