5 Tips to Get the BEST Seat on the Airplane

Nowadays, it seems like airplane seats are shrinking, airlines are understaffed and crowded, and with people being less courteous than ever, including things like issues with reclining seats, or using headphones as a courtesy, instead of playing your phone on super loud mode for the whole plane to hear, getting a better in-flight experience is more important today than ever, perhaps!

So what can you do? I have 5 tips to help you!

#1 Earn Upgraded Status

There’s a ton of different programs for air benefits, depending on the airline you might prefer. Getting something like Elite status can get you the option to choose your seat in advance, secure overhead bins earlier by boarding earlier, get you a seat with more legroom, and first access to upgrades!

#2 Select Your Seats Early On

What do you prefer aisle seats or window seats, most people don’t prefer middle seats. Most airlines let you select your seat on the flight early on when you book, but if you get something like an option to choose “main cabin” for some lines or a standard, but not basic economy fare you normally have the option to pick out your seats.

Some places to avoid according to most travelers would be:

  • Crew areas – busy and noisy
  • Back row of seats on the airplane since they don’t recline
  • Bulkhead seats, if you’d like storage under your seat
  • The bathroom area – busy, noisy, and sometimes odors you may not wish to smell

#3 Avoid Basic Economy Like the Plague

Here’s why:

  • Usually you’re not able to bring a carry-on bag or if you can, you might have to pay for it.
  • You cannot reserve your seats ahead of time
  • You will be in the group to board the airplane last. (That gives you the best chance of anyone traveling to end up in a middle seat, being separated from the rest of your traveling party, and sitting in a bad spot.)

#4 Book Business or First Class

Champagne provided at a passenger's airplane seat.
Photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/Bertlmann

While not the most economical option, paying to upgrade is a strategy that can work, and here’s what you’ll want to know about upgrading:

  • It may cost a considerable amount of miles or money to take this option.
  • You’ll get extra space, and perks, which may be worth it to you.
  • Some planes have lie-flat seats that are in essence, a bed for longer flights.
  • You’ll be able to board early and stow your belongings before the plane is crowded.
  • You may be eligible for higher end meals and drinks, often including alcoholic beverages.

Another option would be to get premium economy seats, which gives you some perks, like more legroom, higher quality snacks, and better seating choices.

#5 Grab an Exit Row Seat

What you should know about an exit row seat:

  • Best legroom on the aircraft for those paying for a ticket without going to an upgraded class.
  • If there was an emergency, you would be agreeing to assist other passengers in exiting.
  • Only ages 15+ can sit in an exit row seat.

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