Flying Friendly Skies: How JetBlue Caters to Plus-Size Passengers

Post originally Published January 24, 2024 || Last Updated January 24, 2024

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Flying Friendly Skies: How JetBlue Caters to Plus-Size Passengers - More Room to Move

For plus-size flyers, one of the biggest challenges can be simply fitting into the tight quarters of a standard airline seat. Seat width and legroom have shrunk over the years as airlines cram in more passengers, making it an uncomfortable - or even impossible - fit for larger travelers. That's why JetBlue's commitment to providing more spacious seats comes as a welcome relief.

JetBlue offers some of the most generous legroom and seat width of any U.S. carrier. Their standard coach seats have a pitch of 32-34 inches and a width of 18 inches. While an inch or two may not sound like much, it can literally make the difference between squeezing in or needing an extender. JetBlue's Even More Space seats offer even more breathing room with a generous 38 inches of legroom.
For comparison, legacy airlines like American and United have a standard seat pitch of just 30-31 inches in coach. And low-cost carriers like Spirit and Frontier have a knee-crunching 28 inch pitch. Those few extra inches JetBlue provides can prevent the dreaded armrest wars with your seat mate over elbow room.
Several plus-size travelers rave about the extra spaciousness of JetBlue's seats. Miranda F. said JetBlue is the only airline she can comfortably fit it without an extender. She loves the ability to raise the armrests up out of the way for more hip room. John K. echoes that sentiment, saying JetBlue's seats are "like sitting in a luxury recliner" compared to other airlines.

Not having to stress over whether you'll fit takes away significant travel anxiety. Chelsea T. recalls her relief at learning she'd be flying JetBlue for an upcoming trip, knowing she'd have wiggle room. The added space reduces the need to squeeze into the seat or encroach on a neighbor's area. Plus-size travelers report feeling less self-conscious and more at ease.
JetBlue's seating layout is also conducive to size-friendly travel. Their Airbus fleet has a 3-3 configuration in standard coach. This allows for a bit more space compared to the tighter 3-4-3 setups on some 737s. The Even More Space and Mint premium seats have even more liberal 2-2 configurations. Simply put, less seats per row equals more room per passenger.

What else is in this post?

  1. Flying Friendly Skies: How JetBlue Caters to Plus-Size Passengers - More Room to Move
  2. Flying Friendly Skies: How JetBlue Caters to Plus-Size Passengers - Size-Friendly Seats
  3. Flying Friendly Skies: How JetBlue Caters to Plus-Size Passengers - Priority Boarding
  4. Flying Friendly Skies: How JetBlue Caters to Plus-Size Passengers - Spacious Lavatories
  5. Flying Friendly Skies: How JetBlue Caters to Plus-Size Passengers - Onboard Comfort Items
  6. Flying Friendly Skies: How JetBlue Caters to Plus-Size Passengers - Seeking Customer Feedback

Flying Friendly Skies: How JetBlue Caters to Plus-Size Passengers - Size-Friendly Seats

Finding seats that actually fit can be one of the biggest obstacles for plus-size flyers. Standard coach seats keep shrinking, with less width and reclining range. This can make it nearly impossible to buckle seatbelts or raise armrests. Extenders are often required, drawing unwanted attention. But JetBlue's reputation for size-friendly seats is getting rave reviews from larger travelers.

JetBlue offers some of the roomiest coach seats in the skies, with a generous width of 18 inches. That's 2 inches wider than Spirit's seats and 1 inch wider than Delta's. While it may not seem substantial, that extra inch provides the critical difference between comfort and being painfully wedged in. Plus-size travelers say they can sit without making contact with their neighbors. And some say they don't even need to use the extender belt thanks to the extra breathing room.
The seat design itself is also size-inclusive. Sturdy metal armrests easily raise all the way up and out of the way. Passengers report the armrests stay up, rather than collapsing down annoyingly like on some airlines. This allows large hips or thighs more wiggle room. And the reclining range is greater than average, with seats tilting back 4-5 inches rather than the standard 2-3. This allows you to find that just-right position to relieve pressure points.

The bottom cushioning is also worth noting. Many airlines have seats that slope downward, causing you to slowly slide forward. But JetBlue's flat-bottomed seats maintain their posture. As long as you find the sweet spot for lumbar support with the adjustable headrest, the seat pan offers a stable and comfortable perch.

Several plus-size bloggers rave about JetBlue's seats, saying the size and design shows consideration for curvier figures. Natalie W. was skeptical that airline seats could ever be truly comfortable for someone of her size. But her JetBlue flight proved her wrong. With the generous dimensions and ability to lift both armrests, it was her most comfortable in-flight experience yet. She could sprawl out as needed without bumping her neighbors.
Brandi R. has sworn off most airlines due to narrow, pinch-prone seats. But she calls JetBlue's seats "a dream" in comparison. She loves the sturdy build that doesn't collapse inward if she leans on an armrest. And unlike plane seats that dig into her hips, JetBlue's padding keeps her comfortably cushioned. Overall, she says JetBlue's seats signal an effort to think about bodies of all shapes and sizes.

Flying Friendly Skies: How JetBlue Caters to Plus-Size Passengers - Priority Boarding

Priority boarding can make a huge difference in easing travel stress for plus-size flyers. Finding ample overhead bin space and settling into your seat early helps avoid that hurried, flustered feeling as other passengers crowd in. JetBlue's priority boarding for travelers needing extra time is a game-changer.

Having the ability to board early allows you to stow carry-ons and get situated without the impatient glares of those behind you. Plus-size travelers describe boarding as one of the most embarrassing parts of flying - feeling rushed while trying to maneuver down narrow aisles as impatient flyers sigh loudly. Early boarding eliminates that anxiety.
JetBlue's policy allows customers who need additional time to kindly request priority boarding. There's no need to disclose private medical information or justify your request. Agents issue a priority boarding pass swiftly and discreetly.

Once onboard, travelers can take time situating bags and getting comfortable without bumping elbows. For plus-size flyers, priority boarding makes all the difference in finding space for bags and avoiding the indignity of obstructing aisles and drawing annoyed looks. Early boarding also guarantees overhead bin space near your seat.
Rebecca S. recalls the stress of past flights where she'd get stuckfar back in the boarding line. Winded from rushing down the jetbridge while dodging impatient passengers, she'd struggle to squeeze down narrow aisles looking for any remaining room to stash her bag. Now with JetBlue's early boarding, she has time to calmly store her luggage and settle into her seat without the usual stares.
Priority boarding also allows plus-size flyers to proactively address any seating challenges. If more room is needed, you can inquire discreetly about empty adjacent seats or work with the accommodating crew. Some travelers ask flight attendants for seat belt extenders right away, avoiding the need to push the call button repeatedly once seated. With JetBlue's early boarding, these adjustments can be made smoothly without disrupting fellow passengers already seated.

Several plus-size bloggers say JetBlue's priority boarding option is one of the most meaningful size-friendly policies. Melissa G. loves that she no longer has to disclose her weight to gate agents to plead her case for early boarding. Thanks to JetBlue's discreet process, her chronic pain is accommodated without any embarrassment or need to share private medical history.

Flying Friendly Skies: How JetBlue Caters to Plus-Size Passengers - Spacious Lavatories

Using an airplane lavatory can be challenging for anyone, but for plus-size passengers it can feel downright impossible. The tiny water closets found on most commercial jets are cramped, with narrow doors and confined stalls. For larger bodies, the pinch points and awkward maneuvers required to fit inside can cause extreme discomfort and embarrassment. That's why JetBlue's commitment to installing more spacious lavatories has been enthusiastically welcomed.
JetBlue has committed to refitting much of its Airbus fleet with larger lavatories, starting with its A321 aircraft. The new bathrooms are 26% wider, providing several more inches of width. While a few extra inches may not seem significant, it makes a substantial difference in providing enough space to comfortably enter and move around inside. The change allows plus-size travelers to use the restroom without bumping into walls or straining to fit through the narrow doorway.

Brandi R. says JetBlue's larger lavatories are "a game changer" for plus-size passengers like herself. In the past, she's been unable to fit inside some airline bathrooms. She would wait as long as possible rather than face the inevitable bumps and bruises trying to squeeze inside. The newly expanded lavs on JetBlue give her plenty of wiggle room. She can shift positions freely without contorting herself, providing much needed relief on long flights.
Another plus-size blogger, Natalie W., recalls past struggles to navigate in and out of cramped airplane lavatories. Twisting sideways to squeeze through the door, she has banged her hip against the sink or side panel. Inside the stall there was barely space to move without elbows scraping the walls. She dreaded the thought of having to use the bathroom mid-flight. But on a recent JetBlue trip, she was pleasantly surprised by the noticeably larger lavatory. The spacious dimensions allowed her to maneuver freely in and out without turning sideways or fear of bumping into anything.

Flying Friendly Skies: How JetBlue Caters to Plus-Size Passengers - Onboard Comfort Items

In addition to size-friendly seats and boarding policies, JetBlue aims to enhance in-flight comfort for larger travelers through thoughtful amenities. While most airlines pare down frills to cut costs, JetBlue bucks the trend by providing real pillows and blankets, earbuds, and entertainment screens at every seat. These creature comforts make a big difference for plus-size flyers spending long hours in the constrained quarters of an airplane.

The ability to get cozy with a pillow and blanket seems like an obvious win. But incredibly, most domestic airlines no longer supply these basic amenities even on red-eye overnighters. Bringing your own neck pillow and throw blanket is bulky and inconvenient. JetBlue feels your pain - they hand out real pillows and blankets on every flight. Plus-size bloggers rave about the ability to bundle up in-flight, resting their heads and getting some shuteye. The blankets provide an added layer of coverage and warmth for curvier figures, while the pillows prevent stiff necks.

Inflight entertainment is another key comfort factor, helping pass the time pleasantly versus miserably. Again bucking industry trends, every JetBlue seatback has a personal screen with live TV, games, and videos. For plus-size flyers who may have mobility issues, this amenity keeps restlessness at bay. Miranda F. loves JetBlue's seatback screens and appreciates not having to strain to see a distant drop-down monitor. She can easily cue up a favorite flick or check the news. John K. is a fan of the gaming options, saying a few rounds of trivia help take his mind off the cramped quarters.
Earbuds are another complimentary item enhancing the entertainment. JetBlue hands out earbuds rather than making you use germy communal headsets. They even have noise-cancelling options to drown out cabin sounds. Plus-size bloggers appreciate these high-quality earbuds, which boost the volume and enhance the viewing experience. The ability to get immersed in movies or music makes the hours fly by.
While it may seem minor, beverage service also factors into comfort. JetBlue’s policy of unlimited free snacks and drinks keeps flyers hydrated and blood sugar stable. This prevents crankiness that can arise when you're parched or hungry. Plus-size bloggers love JetBlue's frequent beverage runs. Staying hydrated on long flights can be challenging for those with mobility limitations. JetBlue crew keep refills coming, avoiding the need to repeatedly push the call button. The unlimited free snacks are another perk bigger travelers appreciate. In-flight food menus skew towards small portions or carb-heavy junk. Having protein-packed snacks on hand makes a difference.

Flying Friendly Skies: How JetBlue Caters to Plus-Size Passengers - Seeking Customer Feedback

According to JetBlue's Director of Customer Experience, ongoing customer input drives many of the carrier's size-friendly initiatives. Post-flight surveys provide insights into areas for improvement. For instance, plus-size travelers reported difficulties using cramped lavatories. This feedback inspired JetBlue's lavatory expansion project to increase roominess.

The airline also connects directly with plus-size travel bloggers and activists to hear about the highs and lows of flying while fat. In a recent meeting with prominent body positivity advocate Virgie Tovar, JetBlue executives gathered ideas to enhance seat design, upgrade extenders, and reduce stigma. Many of Tovar's suggestions have already been implemented, including discreet extensions upon boarding and inclusive crew training.
JetBlue also interacts with its robust online community to source suggestions. The @JetBlue Twitter account frequently engages customers in public-facing conversations about the pluses and minuses of the experience. Queries from plus-size flyers often spark in-depth dialogue on existing policies and brainstorming for improvements. For instance, feedback about saggy seats led to installing firmer cushioning.

Brandi R., a plus-size blogger, appreciates JetBlue's openness to critique and change. She expressed disappointment to a JetBlue social media rep about feeling squished on a cross-country flight. Though initially defensive, the rep promised to pass along her feedback. On her next trip, Brandi was pleasantly surprised to find more generously spaced seats. She later learned JetBlue had proactively made adjustments based on her input and that of other customers.

The airline also interacts one-on-one with travelers to resolve concerns. Chelsea T. had frustrations trying to fit into Even More Space seats that seemed no roomier than standard. After tweeting her disappointment, she received a direct message asking for details about her experience. JetBlue passed the info to their seat design team, who discovered inconsistencies in the dimensions. As a result, they revamped manufacturing specs to guarantee more elbow room. Chelsea was impressed the airline took her grievance seriously rather than brushing it off.
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