Why You Shouldn’t Buy Two Seats on a Plane?

Published on: December 21, 2023
Written by Evander Mac / Fact-checked by Jamal Haider

Buying two seats on a plane might seem like a luxury, but it’s often an unnecessary expense. This practice can lead to financial inefficiency and a misunderstanding of airline policies.

Purchasing an extra seat on a flight is typically done for added comfort or privacy. While the idea of extra space is appealing, it’s not always the most economical choice. Airlines often have specific policies for passengers who require additional space due to size or medical reasons. In many cases, these policies can accommodate such needs without the need for purchasing an extra seat.

The cost implication is a significant factor. Air travel is already expensive, and buying an additional seat doubles this expense. This money could be better spent on upgraded tickets that offer more comfort and amenities. Premium economy or business class seats provide more space and luxury, often making the purchase of a second economy seat seem redundant.

why you shouldn't buy two seats on a plane

Environmental considerations also play a role. Air travel has a considerable carbon footprint, and purchasing an extra seat contributes to this. By not buying an extra seat, passengers can help reduce their environmental impact.

For those considering buying two seats on a plane, it’s advisable to review the airline’s policies and explore other options like seat upgrades. This approach ensures a balance between comfort and cost-effectiveness. For more detailed insights, you are invited to read the detailed article below.

The Downsides of Buying Two Seats on a Plane

The Financial Burden of Extra Seat Purchase

Cost Comparison Between Single and Double Seat Booking

Let’s talk numbers. Buying two seats on a plane might seem like a simple solution for extra comfort, but have you ever stopped to think about how much it really costs? Let’s break it down with some data.

Flight RouteAverage Cost of Single SeatAverage Cost of Double Seat
New York to Chicago$250$500
Los Angeles to Miami$350$700
Boston to San Francisco$400$800
visual chart (1) cost comparison between single and double seat booking
visual chart (1) cost comparison between single and double seat booking

As you can see, the cost literally doubles. It’s a significant financial commitment, especially for frequent travelers or those on a tight budget.

Impact on Personal or Business Travel Budgets

Now, imagine you’re a regular flyer, jetting off for business or leisure. Doubling your flight expense can quickly eat into your budget. For businesses, this could mean less money for other essential expenses. For personal travel, it might mean sacrificing other aspects of your trip. It’s all about balancing comfort with cost.

Alternatives to Double Seat Booking

Instead of booking two economy seats, why not consider an upgrade? Business or first-class tickets offer more space and luxury. You might be surprised at how the cost of an upgraded ticket can sometimes be close to the price of two economy seats. Plus, you get all those extra perks!

Airline Policies and Passenger Rights

Airline Policies for Extra Space Needs

Airlines have specific policies for passengers needing extra space. It’s not always about buying another seat. Some airlines offer special accommodations or alternative solutions. It’s worth checking these out before you book.

Rights for Passengers with Special Requirements

For those with medical needs or size considerations, airlines often have policies in place to ensure comfort without the need for purchasing an extra seat. Knowing your rights can save you money and hassle.

Case Studies: How Airlines Handle Extra Seating Requests

There are numerous instances where airlines have creatively accommodated passengers without the need for an extra seat purchase. From special seating arrangements to complimentary upgrades, these case studies show that there are alternatives to buying that second seat.

Practical Considerations

Limited Benefits of Extra Space in Economy Class

Let’s be real – the extra space you get from buying a second economy seat isn’t always as great as it sounds. The armrest might not go up, or the seats could be uncomfortably aligned. It’s not quite the luxury experience you might expect.

Challenges in Booking and Utilizing Two Seats

Booking two seats for one person can be a logistical headache. Not all booking systems are set up for this, and you might end up in a back-and-forth with customer service. Plus, there’s the awkwardness of explaining your situation to fellow passengers and flight attendants.

Real-Life Experiences: Travelers’ Stories

Hearing from others who’ve been there, done that can be eye-opening. Many travelers share stories of the practical challenges they faced when they booked two seats, from minor inconveniences to major regrets.

Environmental Impact of Excess Booking

The Carbon Footprint of Additional Seats

Flying isn’t great for the environment, and buying an extra seat doubles your carbon footprint for that trip. Let’s look at some data to understand this better.

Flight RouteCarbon Emission for Single Seat (kg CO2)Carbon Emission for Double Seat (kg CO2)
New York to Chicago110220
Los Angeles to Miami180360
Boston to San Francisco220440

Doubling your seat means doubling your environmental impact. It’s something to think about if you’re conscious about your carbon footprint.

visual chart (2) the carbon footprint of additional seats
visual chart (2) the carbon footprint of additional seats

Sustainable Travel Practices

Opting for a single seat, even if it’s a bit cramped, is a small but significant way to reduce your environmental impact. It’s about making responsible choices that align with sustainable travel practices.

Alternatives to Purchasing an Extra Seat

Comparing Seat Upgrade Options

Before you rush to book that extra seat, have you considered what an upgrade can offer? More legroom, better service, and enhanced comfort – all without the need for a second seat. Let’s compare the options.

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Seat Upgrades vs. Extra Seat

Upgrade OptionCostBenefits
Business Class$450More space, superior service, better food
First Class$600Ultimate comfort, privacy, luxury amenities
Extra Economy Seat$500Just extra space, no additional perks

As you can see, upgrading often gives you more bang for your buck.

Tips for Comfortable Travel within Budget

Traveling comfortably doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of tips and tricks to make the most of your travel experience without purchasing an extra seat. From choosing the right seat to making smart packing choices, there’s a lot you can do.

Space and Comfort in Air Travel

Evaluating the True Need for Extra Space

Do you really need that extra seat? Sometimes, it’s more about perception than reality. Understanding your actual space needs can save you money and hassle.

Design and Comfort Features in Different Classes

Each class on a plane offers different features. Knowing what each class provides can help you make an informed decision about where to spend your money for the best comfort.

Passenger Reviews: Comfort in Various Seating Options

Hearing from fellow travelers about their experiences in different seating classes can be enlightening. These reviews often reveal that the perceived benefits of buying an extra seat might not be as great as you think.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does Buying Two Seats Guarantee More Privacy?

Buying two seats might seem like a good way to ensure privacy, but it’s not a foolproof plan. In reality, the extra seat next to you might not provide the solitude you’re seeking. Airplanes are public spaces, and you’re still in close proximity to other passengers. Conversations, movement in the aisle, and cabin activity will be just as noticeable. Plus, the extra seat doesn’t offer a physical barrier to the hustle and bustle of airplane travel. If privacy is your main concern, it might be more effective to invest in noise-canceling headphones or eye masks, or consider flying during less busy times.

Can I Resell or Transfer the Extra Seat If I Change My Mind?

Once you’ve purchased an extra seat, reselling or transferring it is typically not an option. Airline tickets are usually non-transferable, and this includes extra seats bought for personal comfort. If you decide you no longer need the extra space, you might be stuck with the cost. This is a significant risk to consider, especially if you’re unsure about your need for the extra seat. It’s always best to review the airline’s ticketing policies before making such a purchase to avoid any financial loss.

Are There Health Benefits to Buying Two Seats?

While buying two seats might offer more physical space, it doesn’t necessarily translate to significant health benefits. The extra seat may provide a bit more legroom and space to stretch, but it doesn’t change the overall environment of the cabin, such as air quality or the ability to move around freely. For long flights, it’s still important to get up, stretch, and walk around the cabin to promote blood circulation, regardless of how many seats you have. Investing in comfort-enhancing accessories like a good travel pillow or a footrest might be a more cost-effective way to improve your health and comfort during the flight.

How Does Buying Two Seats Affect Airline Loyalty Points?

Purchasing an extra seat can impact how you accrue airline loyalty points, but not always in a beneficial way. While you might expect to earn double the points for buying two seats, this isn’t usually the case. Most airline loyalty programs award points based on the distance flown and the fare class, not the number of seats purchased. So, you might end up spending more without reaping additional loyalty benefits. It’s a good idea to check with your airline’s loyalty program to understand how purchasing an extra seat would affect your points balance.

Is It Easier to Sleep on a Plane with Two Seats?

Having two seats can make sleeping on a plane a bit easier, but it’s not a guaranteed solution for a good night’s sleep. The extra space allows you to lie down more comfortably than in a single seat, but it’s still not comparable to a bed. The cabin environment, with its noise, light, and fluctuating temperatures, can still make it challenging to sleep well. For better sleep on a plane, consider investing in a high-quality travel pillow, a comfortable blanket, and noise-canceling headphones, rather than purchasing an extra seat.

Does Buying Two Seats Offer Better In-Flight Entertainment Options?

Purchasing an extra seat does not provide any additional in-flight entertainment options. Each seat on a plane typically comes with its own entertainment system, so having two seats doesn’t mean access to more movies or games. Your viewing or gaming experience will remain the same, regardless of how many seats you have. If variety in entertainment is important to you, consider bringing your own device loaded with your favorite content, or choose airlines known for their extensive in-flight entertainment libraries.

Are There Specific Seat Locations Better for Buying Two Seats?

If you’re considering buying two seats, the location of these seats on the plane can make a difference in your experience. For instance, seats near the wings are generally more stable and experience less turbulence, which might be preferable if you’re using the extra seat to lie down. Exit row seats or bulkhead seats offer more legroom, but they might have restrictions on seat movement and storage. It’s essential to research the aircraft layout and consider your specific needs before deciding where to book your extra seat. However, remember that the benefits of an extra seat can vary greatly depending on the aircraft and the flight.


In conclusion, buying two seats on a plane is not always the smartest move. It’s costly, often unnecessary, and not as comfortable as you might expect. Plus, it doubles your environmental impact. Before you book that extra seat, consider the alternatives. Upgrades, understanding airline policies, and making informed decisions can lead to a more comfortable and cost-effective travel experience. Remember, smarter travel choices not only benefit you but also the environment.

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