Seat belt length varies by airline and by type of aircraft. While you can find out seat widths and pitches online, many airlines do not provide information about seat belt lengths on their websites. If you're concerned about the length of a seat belt, the best way to get current seat belt information is by contacting your airline.
Passengers are required by law to wear a seat belt on the plane unless the seatbelt sign is turned off. While you can buy your own seat belt extender, there is no guarantee that it will be allowed through security and there's no guarantee you will be able to use it on the plane. If the belt doesn't close, you may be asked to deplane. To avoid last-minute boarding problems, you should call, email, or start an online chat with your airline whenever you have any questions or concerns about your tickets, itinerary, or flight. This process may take some time, particularly if you contact your airline by email or happen to talk with a customer service agent who does not know the answer to your question.
Ask all your questions before you buy your tickets so that you have plenty of time to get the answers you need and make informed decisions about which tickets to buy.
By law, airlines can establish policies for passengers that are overweight. These passengers, often called "passengers of size" or "passengers requiring extra space," can be required to purchase a ticket for a second seat if they meet certain criteria, like if the passenger's body extends a certain distance beyond their seat and requires a seat belt extender, or if a passenger cannot perform a specific action or combination of actions such as lowering both armrests comfortably, or lowering the armrests and fastening a seat belt with an extender. Some airlines do not require larger passengers to purchase a second seat, but if other passengers in the row raise complaints, larger passengers might be asked to move to a different seat.
If you cannot comply with your airline's policy and cannot purchase a second seat because the flight is sold out, you may be denied boarding until the next day a flight with unsold seats is available.
Airlines usually publish information about these policies in their Contract of Carriage. Your airline's Contract of Carriage, the legal document that spells out the airline's obligations to its customers, is available online or at the ticket counter.
Several airlines have special policies that apply to the use of seat belt extenders. For example, Delta Air Lines does not permit passengers to use their own personal extenders, citing "FAA regulations" as the reason for this ban. Southwest Airlines also bars passengers from bringing their own seat belt extenders. Alaska Airlines does not allow passengers to use seat belt extenders if they are sitting in an exit row or in rows 1 through 6 on Flights 1 through 999. Many airlines offer their own seat belt extenders to passengers who request them, but it's advisable to talk to the airline in advance or speak to the gate agents prior to boarding to ensure that there is a seatbelt extender available.
North American Airlines
To help you find out the seat belt lengths for airlines, we contacted several North American airlines to find out how long their seat belts are, on average, and whether those airlines provide seat belt extenders. Not all North American airlines are represented in this seat belt length table.
While this information is current as of this writing, please bear in mind that airlines frequently purchase new aircraft and upgrade their existing equipment on a regular basis, so your experience may differ from the data presented here. Contact your airline to get the best available information for your aircraft.
Lengths by Airline
|All lengths are given in inches.|
|Airline||Seat Belt Length||Extenders||Extender Length|
|Delta Air Lines||35 - 38||Yes||12|
|JetBlue||42 - 49.5||Yes||25|
|United Airlines||31||Must Pre-reserve||25|