This Little-Known Travel Hack Will Help You Get More Legroom on Your Flight—for Free
Legrooms for Google Flights doesn't cost a dime and is the secret to getting more space whenever you fly
RD.COM, Getty images
Have long legs and a limited travel budget? Don’t despair! I have the secret to finding the most available legroom on a plane, without having to cough up a ton of extra cash for a special seat. The trick? An easily downloadable addition to the popular Google Flights website, which I always recommend when buying a plane ticket and tracking flight prices to get the best fare possible. This hidden gem is called Legrooms for Google Flights, and it’s about to change your life—or at least your life when you’re on a flight.
This is one of my favorite travel booking tips, and even better, it’s free! With it, you can easily choose the best airplane seats so that you can be comfortable on a plane—and still stay well within your budget. Here’s how it works.
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What is Legrooms for Google Flights?
Legrooms for Google Flights is a free Chrome plug-in (also known as an extension) that works in tandem with Google Flights. It adds information to your Google Flights results regarding the amount of available legroom on every flight you’re looking at. And it is precise: It will show you the specific number of inches of legroom space available in coach on each flight based on the airline and aircraft.
This information is presented as an extra column of information after the standard Google Flight details. For example, a regular Google Flights search will list the name of the airline, departure and arrival times, length of the flight, number of stops, carbon emissions, price and the type of aircraft (which allows you to check the plane model). The Legrooms extension adds one more column that details the exact number of inches of leg space available.
There’s no additional cost, and the information can help you choose the roomiest seat available without having to pay extra for an upgraded “extra legroom” seat on your airline. However, note that for classes of service beyond coach, you won’t find as much, or sometimes any, information. You also can’t set parameters to search based on legroom measurements. However, since I have a son who has been more than 6 feet tall since middle school, being able to find seats with the space to stretch our legs without having to pay for more room makes this free tool a winner.
How to set up Legrooms for Google Flights
RD.COM, Getty images
I am not a tech-savvy person, and I was able to set this up in under two minutes. (Yes, I timed it!) Here’s my easy install technique.
- First, open the Chrome browser. (This will not work on Safari or other internet browsers.)
- Type “Legrooms for Google Flights” in your search bar. (I also tried this with the words legroom, legroom extensions and Google Flights in a variety of combinations, and all variations worked.) Searching for this term will bring you to the Chrome web store, where you’ll find the “Legrooms for Google Flights” option with a graphic of two airplane seats in green and yellow. (You can also go directly to the Chrome web store and search there.)
- Click on the bar to the right that says “Add to Chrome.”
- Choose “Add extension” when the pop-up box appears. Note: There is no charge to add this extension, and you should not see an option to add payment.
- Next, open Google Flights and put in your itinerary (where you’re flying from, where you want to go and your dates of travel).
- Click on the puzzle-piece extension icon on the top right of your toolbar.
- Choose the “Legrooms for Google Flights” extension as an option. You will now see a new column appear on the far right of your flight results, after the type of aircraft. This new column has the heading “Enhanced by Legroom for Google Flights.”
- Click the drop-down arrow on the right to see the exact number of inches for the seats available, as well as whether that’s above or below average.
Once you’ve installed this extension, you will not need to add it again—this information should appear on every flight search from now on. If you ever have an issue, though, click on the little puzzle-piece icon to jump-start it again.
How can you see legroom on Google Flights?
As described above, the new column of information has the heading “Enhanced by Legroom for Google Flights” and will appear after the type of aircraft in Google Flights search results. What you’ll see are simply inch measurements, which are the exact number of inches every seat on the flight has in economy.
For example, on a sample Newark to Miami flight itinerary, I can see that Spirit airlines has 28 inches of legroom, JetBlue has 32 inches and Delta offers 31 inches. I can also compare and see that all are nonstop flights. However, the Spirit itinerary costs $113, JetBlue $130 and Delta $172.
Tips for a more comfortable flight
If you’re like me, you have to weigh comfort versus cost for every flight. Sure, it’s easy to have a comfortable trip in the front of the plane if you can afford to fly business or first class on every flight. However, if you, like me, are not in this position, there are some ways to make the back of the plane feel less restricting and to make coach feel like first class.
- Choose the right seat. Not all coach seats are created equal. After comparing Legrooms for Google Flights, check SeatGuru, a free website, for the exact seat map of your plane. Both less desirable and better seats are denoted here. Avoid any seats that don’t have a window (it happens!), aren’t able to recline or have an entertainment system or other hardware that cuts into legroom.
- Look for seats that may have extra space for free. For example, see if there’s a misaligned seat that doesn’t have another one directly in front of it. These are rare, but they do exist.
- Sit in the bulkhead seats, if possible. Bulkhead seats are located in the first row of each section, and some airlines will allow you to sit there for no additional cost. If this is an option, take it, since you won’t have anyone recline their seat into you, and you will have extra leg space. Just be aware that most of these extra-roomy seats incur an additional fee.
- Put technology to work for you. If you’re unable to book the type of seat you want—e.g., window or aisle—use ExpertFlyer’s Seat Alert. Simply enter your flight information and the type of seat you’re looking for, and the site will alert you, for free, if your desired option becomes available.
- Bring everything you may need to be comfortable. Translation: Don’t count on the airlines to provide any amenities. My list of carry-on essentials always includes headphones, a blow-up neck pillow (the size of a pack of tissues when deflated) and an oversize scarf to use as a blanket. Plus, snacks. I never fly without snacks. For overnight flights, I include an eye mask too.
- If all else fails, budget for extra space. I’ll pay a premium to get extra seat and leg space if I’ve gotten a good deal on my ticket or if I’m flying a far distance where the extra cost amortizes on the lengthy flight. (For example, an eight-hour overseas trip versus a flight of less than three hours domestically.) You can also balance out the cost by saving on other parts of your trip, so make sure you know the best time to book a hotel, affordable accommodation options at your destination and these other budget-travel tips.