How to select the best airline seat
While it’s no secret the window seat is the best for napping, there’s a science to choosing the best seat on an airplane.
Travelers agree that flying is often the farthest thing from comfortable. From limited legroom to questionable aromas from the onboard lavatory, it’s hard to understand why we pay premium dollar for a serious lack of personal space. Still, there are some ways to make the experience of flying more tolerable – starting with selecting the best seat.
Find the most legroom
SeatGuru.com, a go-to resource for savvy flyers, keeps track of seating charts for every single flight. Simply enter your airline or browse from more than a thousand aircrafts spanning 127 airlines to find a detailed seat map that includes traveler photos, in-flight amenities, user comments and a color-coded key that specifically calls out good and bad seats.
So, are certain airlines better than others? SeatGuru also has charts ranging from economy to first class to help you compare seating among different airlines. Hint: If you’re booking a long-haul flight to paradise, you may have to get up a few extra times to stretch your legs on Fiji Airways.
If you need extra space or have a long flight, it may be worth purchasing a premium seat. Frontier Airlines offers Stretch Seating for an upcharge of around $20 that includes five to seven extra inches of legroom and other perks.
If you’re searching for a specific seat. ExpertFlyer.com allows you to set up free alerts that tell you when the seat you want becomes available. And if you’re wedged in a middle seat on a full flight, you can pay a passenger with a better seat to swap seats with you through the app Seateroo.
The dreaded ‘bad’ seat
The worst seat is the one for which you can’t plan. Whether it’s a broken headphone jack or screaming baby, some things are out of your control. If you can catch the attendant’s attention, and there’s an extra seat on the plane, you’re might be in luck. If it’s a packed flight, try to look beyond the annoyances and settle into a good book or discover something interesting about the stranger sitting next to you.
If you’re just searching for some general tips, a seat in the exit or bulkhead row will usually have more legroom and space for families with small children. Seats over the wing tend to have the smoothest ride, and you’ll usually have less trouble finding overhead bin space if you pick a seat in the rear.
Whether you’re a “window” or an “aisle” traveler, consider sharing your insights on seat selection on our Facebook page.