Everything You Need To Know About Seats Behind Exit Row

Seats behind exit row – yes or no? Sitting in an airplane can be uncomfortable, especially on long flights. Many travelers try to get the best seats possible for extra legroom and comfort. The exit row often comes to mind, but what about the rows directly behind the exit row? Are they just as good?

Keep reading to learn all about the pros and cons of seats behind the exit row.

What is the Exit Row?

The exit row is a specific section of seats located on an airplane, typically located near the emergency exits. These seats are known for providing passengers with extra legroom, making them highly sought after by travelers.

However, it’s important to note that not all airlines offer the same level of legroom in their exit row seats, so it’s essential to check with the airline before booking your ticket.

Definition and key details

The exit row is generally located near the emergency exits of an aircraft. These seats are strategically placed to ensure that passengers seated in this area can assist in case of an emergency evacuation.

Due to their proximity to the exits, these seats come with certain responsibilities that passengers must be willing and able to fulfill. Airlines usually require passengers seated in the exit row to be physically capable of operating the emergency exit and assisting other passengers in an emergency situation.

Moreover, passengers seated in the exit row must meet certain criteria set by aviation regulations. These criteria typically include being at least 15 years old, able to read and understand instructions in English, not traveling with infants or children, and being free from any mobility limitations that could impede their ability to assist in an evacuation.

Why does it offer more legroom?

The reason why the exit row offers more legroom compared to other seats on the plane is due to the location of the emergency exits. Since these exits need to be easily accessible, there is usually a gap between the seats in front of the exit row and the exit itself.

This gap allows for extra legroom for passengers seated in these seats, making them a popular choice for those who value comfort during their flight.

While the amount of legroom may vary from airline to airline, exit row seats generally provide a significant increase in space compared to regular seats. This additional legroom can make a long flight much more comfortable, especially for taller individuals or those who simply prefer more space to stretch their legs.

It’s worth noting that not all exit row seats are the same, and some may offer even more legroom than others. Some airlines have specific rows designated as “premium” exit row seats, which come with an additional fee but provide even more spacious seating arrangements.

Benefits of Seats Behind the Exit Row

Usually have extra legroom

One of the biggest benefits of choosing seats behind the exit row is the extra legroom they offer. These seats are often referred to as “economy plus” or “premium economy” seats due to the additional space they provide.

Passengers who prefer more legroom will find these seats to be a great choice, especially on long-haul flights where comfort is key. Having that extra space to stretch out can make a significant difference in the overall travel experience.

Don’t have bothersome Exit Row responsibilities

Unlike the seats directly in the exit row, the seats behind the exit row don’t come with the responsibilities associated with emergency procedures. Passengers seated in the exit row are required to be able-bodied and willing to assist in case of an emergency.

This means they must be able to understand and follow the crew’s instructions and operate the exit door if necessary. While some passengers may feel confident in taking on these responsibilities, others may prefer to sit behind the exit row and enjoy their flight without any additional obligations.

Downsides of Seats Behind the Exit Row

Less legroom than the actual Exit Row

While seats behind the exit row do offer more legroom compared to regular seats in the cabin, it’s important to note that they still have less legroom than the actual exit row. Passengers who prioritize extra legroom may find this to be a downside.

Stretching out and finding a comfortable position may be more challenging in these seats, especially for taller individuals.

May not recline

One potential drawback of seats behind the exit row is that they may not recline. Airlines often design the seats in this area to be fixed in an upright position, ensuring that they don’t obstruct the exit pathway.

While this is a safety measure, it means that passengers won’t be able to adjust the seat’s angle for added comfort during the flight. For those who enjoy reclining their seats, this can be disappointing.

Could get cold from the door/have less storage

Another issue with seats behind the exit row is the possibility of experiencing cold drafts from the exit door. As the exit door is frequently opened during boarding and disembarkation, it can result in cooler temperatures in these seats.

Additionally, the proximity to the exit door may mean that there is less storage space available compared to seats in other areas of the plane. Passengers who like to have their personal items easily accessible may find this to be a disadvantage.

It’s important to consider these downsides when selecting seats behind the exit row. However, it’s worth noting that these seats can still offer more space and comfort compared to regular seats in the cabin.

Ultimately, the decision on which seat to choose will depend on individual preferences and priorities.

Tips for Getting Seats Behind the Exit Row

Book early for the best selection

One of the key tips for securing seats behind the exit row is to book your flight early. Airlines often allocate these seats on a first-come, first-served basis, so the earlier you book, the greater your chances of snagging one of these coveted seats.

By booking in advance, you’ll have a better selection to choose from and increase your chances of getting a seat with extra legroom.

Check the seat map when booking

When booking your flight, be sure to check the seat map provided by the airline. This will allow you to see the layout of the aircraft and identify the location of the exit rows. Look for seats marked with an “XL” or “extra legroom” designation, as these are typically the seats behind the exit row.

By reviewing the seat map, you can strategically choose your seat and increase your chances of securing a seat with more space.

Use Airline Seating Charts

Another helpful tip is to use airline seating charts to your advantage. Many airlines provide detailed seating charts on their websites, allowing you to see the exact dimensions of each seat and the amount of legroom available.

By consulting these charts, you can identify the seats with the most legroom, including those behind the exit row. Some websites like SeatGuru.com provide comprehensive information on seat dimensions, seat pitch, and even passenger reviews to help you make an informed decision.

Airline Comparison of Behind Exit Row Seats

American Airlines

When it comes to behind-exit row seats, American Airlines offers a great selection for passengers. These seats typically provide extra legroom and are a popular choice for travelers looking for added comfort during their flight.

American Airlines also provides additional perks such as priority boarding and complimentary snacks and beverages.


Delta is another airline that offers behind-exit row seats to enhance the flying experience for its passengers. These seats are known for their spaciousness and comfort, making long flights more enjoyable.

Delta also provides amenities like in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi to ensure a pleasant journey.


United Airlines is committed to providing a comfortable and relaxing experience for passengers seated behind the exit row. These seats offer generous legroom and additional amenities such as power outlets and USB ports for charging devices.

United Airlines also offers a wide range of in-flight entertainment options to keep passengers entertained throughout their journey.


JetBlue is known for its commitment to passenger comfort, and this extends to its behind-exit row seats as well. These seats offer ample legroom and are equipped with adjustable headrests and lumbar support for a more ergonomic seating experience.

JetBlue also provides complimentary snacks and beverages to enhance the overall flying experience.


Southwest Airlines understands the importance of comfort during air travel and offers behind-exit row seats that cater to this need. These seats provide extra legroom and are designed for maximum comfort.

Additionally, Southwest Airlines offers a unique boarding system that allows passengers to choose their own seats.

International Airlines

International airlines also prioritize passenger comfort when it comes to behind-exit row seats. These airlines offer a variety of amenities such as extra legroom, in-flight entertainment, and complimentary meals.

Each airline may have its own unique offerings and policies regarding behind-exit row seats, so it is recommended to visit their official websites for more information. Some popular international airlines include Emirates, British Airways, and Singapore Airlines.

Seats Behind Exit Row – Conclusion

While seats behind the exit row aren’t always the best on the plane, they do typically provide extra legroom without the responsibilities of sitting in the actual exit row. When booking a flight, check the airline’s seat map to confirm the details of these seats.

If you get lucky and nab seats just behind the exit row, enjoy the extra space!

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