Tips to get a good plane seat

Guides and Tips, Trip Planning · March 18, 2008

plane seats 150x118 Tips to get a good plane seatWhich are the worst economy seats on a plane?
A) middle seat B) near toilet C) near screaming kids D) seat that doesn’t recline. The answer is: a middle seat that doesn’t recline, near the toilet and screaming kids and that’s on the back of the plane! How to avoid to experience a flight of hell especially if it’s a long one? You can do it following our tips.

Tip 1: know the plane model. Airlines’ websites have maps of their planes; you can view which model of plane you are going to board as soon as you select the flights - some airlines report this info also in their timetables. Models are usually reported in the summary of the flight as “A320″, “B747-400″. With this code, visit our tool to access Seat Guru guide to seats’ maps for all major airlines. Discover which seats are the best and the worse in all classes. Take note of seat number you would like to have, example row 32 B C H or J, row 33 A or K, row 54 or 55 B, C, H or J.

Tip 2: if you are not a member of the airline, join the program. Booking the flight as a member increases the chances to get a good seat. Likelihood increases if you’re an Elite member. Moreover some airlines allow selection of the seat at time of booking only if you’re a member. If you cannot select the seat online, call the program customer service and be specific with your request: 32B instead of a generic “good seat”. If not available, you’ll more likely get a good alternative.

Tip 3: book earlier. Earlier you book, more seats’ choices are available! Sometimes some seats are blocked off for frequent fliers (exit rows) and for passengers with babies or small children (bulkhead seats that are the seats located directly behind a bulkhead = wall or curtain).

If you want an exit row and cannot get it online or on the phone, reserve an alternative option and then arrive at the airport earlier and ask to the ticket agent if there’s any availability because these seats are not released until few hours before flight departs.

Airlines have different procedures for bulkhead seats booking (if you do not travel with babies). Some of them allow you to book these seats, but your seat choice can be canceled if somebody with baby needs that seat. So you risk to arrive at the airport and find that your seat has been given to passengers with babies (or boarding the plane and being asked by the flight attendant to give your seat to a baby with parent, it happened to me!). Some airlines release bulkhead seats to passengers without babies only at check in.

Tip 4: check in online as soon as it’s allowed. Major airlines allow you to check in online 24 hours before flight leaves. Check online to confirm your seat or select a better one (if available). If you cannot not check in online, arrive at the airport earlier and bring with you note with the seats numbers that you would like to have.

Tip 5: when plane door closes, there could be better seats waiting for you. If a flight is not full, crew will allow you to change your seat within your class. If you’re in economy, even empty rows could be available and you can even lay down on 3 seats! Usually these empty rows or seats are in the back of the plane. When you check in, ask to the ticket agent if flight is full or not and when doors close, be ready to move fast.  Advice: ask the flight attendant as soon as you board if you’re allowed to change your seats. She/he will tell you that you have to wait for doors closing…yea, you know this…. but it’s always good to be polite with the crew and you do not want steward to stop you while rushing to a better seat.

Stretch your legs, recline and enjoy your flight!


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