When it comes to choosing your seat on a flight, some people are window seat people and some prefer the aisle. No one ever claims to prefer the middle seat. That’s just nutty. But one thing we know – choosing the right seat on a flight can mean the difference between arriving refreshed and relaxed – or aggravated and stressed. Here’s a few tips to make sure you get the seat you need.
Start flight shopping early to get best seat options
This is probably the most important consideration. The earlier you shop, the more seats are available. It sounds very simple – and it is!
Decide where you want to sit on the plane
This one also sounds simple, right? Well, yes and no. After all, you may be a window seat person (on a red-eye, for example, if you want to sleep and don’t want people stepping over you all night). Or you may be traveling with kids – which opens up all sorts of preference possibilities. When you’re traveling for business, you may want to sit on the aisle near the front of the plane so you can scoot off pretty quick. Or maybe you’re traveling with a big group, and are juggling the preferences of quite a few folks. See what we mean? Step 1 is always going to be to decide exactly where you want to sit.
Consult your flight’s seat map
On CheapAir.com, we show you a seat map on every selected flight, so you can see what seats are still available and how much extra they will cost you. Some airlines do not charge for seat selection, though these days that is more the exception on domestic flights. We will also show you exactly what legroom, seat width and seat configuration you’ll get for every seat on every flight we sell. It’s a handy tool so you can go into your purchase with a clear view of what you get with each seat.
Decide whether you want to pay for a seat on the plane or take what they give you
Not all airlines are created equal, especially in Economy. Sometimes paying a little extra can be a good idea. One thing we caution people against is hedging your bets – thinking you might be able to get a free upgrade at check-in. Those days are largely over. Usually, the airlines save a few seats for their loyalty / frequent flyer program members. But you’re not likely to get a free upgrade by dressing professionally or by being sweet to the gate agent.
If you book with CheapAir.com, you’ll be able to select your seat after you buy – using “My Trips” and searching by your booking number. You can choose a seat after you’ve booked in most cases (some airlines restrict this option).
Confirm your seat at check-in or upgrade
24 hours before your flight departs, with most airlines, you have a chance to upgrade your seat at check-in. Why do we mention this? It may be that you’re feeling a little “splurgy” right before the flight leaves. A little (or a lot) of time has elapsed since you booked, so you might be more focused on the experience and less on the cost.
Don’t be late to the airport
If you show up late, the airline may give away your assigned seat. We don’t recommend this tactic for the non-punctually inclined if you’re intent on keeping your assigned seat. Just be on time.