Found myself in two planes last week with the same seat-pillow width but the arm rests where almost three times thicker in one, making me feel cramped. Up to now, I've never been bothered by the width of the seat since I am below average width and height compared to a North American.

Should Seat Width be the size of the bottom cushion or the space between armrests?

1 Answer 1


To put it simply, seat width is the distance between armrest and armrest.

Here is an illustration, from runwaygirlnetwork:

enter image description here

Seat width is reported as B.

  • 2
    Measured outside or inside?
    – user45851
    Mar 27, 2017 at 6:36
  • 10
    The conclusion of the article that you took the picture from is that there is no standard, which invalidates your answer: "It’s time to agree on one standard measurement for width. At the end of the day, it matters less whether the industry chooses B or C — but it’s time to choose, to state measurements clearly and openly, and to provide options" Mar 27, 2017 at 10:04
  • That article is lamenting the fact that there is no standard agreed upon by everyone; but the published figures of airplane seat width quote the B measurement. "Seat width is the distance from armrest to armrest, in Economy class this is typically around 43-46 centimeters (17–18in)." Mar 27, 2017 at 11:39
  • "Hip Clearance" is an amusing measurement since it's larger than the "Pax Width" measurement. Most people sit down on the seat, they don't sit on the edge of the seat then slide back. If your hips don't clear that "Pax width" measurement, you're going to have a heck of a time getting into, and especially out of that seat.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 27, 2017 at 13:31

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