Being a tall bloke at 6 foot 5 inches I have a few nightmares on flying. As a general rule I cant get into standard economy seats without spreading my legs into the aisle and into my neighbours seat. If that happens I am never going to sleep. Its funny though that I drove an Austin Metro for many years with my knees around my ears and no complaints!
I think this is a common problem now in our world that is getting generally taller, especially in developed countries. Unfortunately airlines are restricted by money and dont put in less seats to make our lives more comfortable. If you really want to get comfortable then get into Business or First.
Its also pretty difficult to get an exit row seat now too. Virgin actually charge a fee to allow you to get an exit row seat. On a recent flight I had with them, the rows were empty and the cabin crew simply moved people into those sets before take off “because we have to have people next to the exit” in case of an emergency.
My experience pretty much relies on the staff at any point in the process to take pity on me and try and find me a decent seat. However I found a site recently and this should help me get the advantage a little bit.
Check out Seat Guru – a directory of airlines, their planes and the seat layouts with hints on which seats are the best to try and prebook. It currently covers 29 airlines and all of their craft, seat pitches (leg room to the seat in front), width and other peoples comments on seat choices.