We’ve all been there – the small child kicking the back of your seat, the lack of legroom, the war over the armrest. While there’s no fail-safe way to guarantee that aisle seat in the exit row near the front of the plane with no one sitting next to you, we have some tactics that will help you get better airplane seats. With a little time and effort, you can be sitting pretty.
Step 1. There is no single “best seat”
There is no single “best seat” when it comes to airplane seats. All seats have their pros and cons — so decide what’s important to you. Legroom? Peace and quiet? A quick exit? A smooth ride?
Step 2. Don’t assume anything about a seat
Don’t assume anything about a seat without checking it out. Some bulkhead seats don’t offer extra legroom, some “window” seats are between windows and therefore offer little view, and many exit seats, while providing more legroom, are narrower than other airplane seats. Find out what kind of plane you’ll be on and then visit seatexpert or seatguru or seatmaestro. Click on any seat to see its pros and cons.
Step 3. Pay a small fee to get more legroom
You could pay a small fee to get a seat with the most legroom Many airlines now identify their best seats on their websites and charge for them accordingly.
Step 4. Take reclining into account
If you like to sit back, avoid the last rows in any section. If you hate people leaning into your lap, try to snare an exit seat; the seats in front of those rows usually don’t recline. Exit row seats are often not assigned until check-in. To snap up an exit row airplane seat, get to the airport early.
Step 5. Consider the pitch of the seat
The pitch of a seat is the distance between airplane seats. You’ll find this information on airline seat websites.
Step 6. Take turbulence into account
If you’re a white-knuckle flyer, sit over the front of the wing; that’s where you’re least likely to feel turbulence. Avoid the back, where you’ll feel every bump.
Step 7. Need peace and quiet?
If you need peace and quiet, avoid sitting in the back, where the engines are the loudest. And steer clear of the bulkhead, where families with babies are usually seated.
Step 8. Book your specific seat
When you buy your ticket, be sure to book your specific seat, either online or by calling the airline directly. Increase your odds of sitting beside an empty middle seat by requesting a back row where either the aisle or window seat is already booked. The middle seats in back rows fill up last.
Step 9. Check back 24 hours before your flight
Check back 24 hours before your flight; this is when prime seating often is released. Plus, airlines occasionally switch planes, possibly turning your chosen seat into an undesirable one!
Step 10. Join an airline program
If you’re a frequent flyer, consider joining an airline program that guarantees a good seat for an annual fee.
Did you know the average width of passenger class airplane seats is just 17.2 inches wide.