Some people have the fear of flying and then there are those of us who have the fear of flying, sitting in a cramped seat. Yes, there are very few experiences that can be worse than traveling for 5 or more hours in a space where an attempt to stretch one’s legs could lead to injury. If you’re a flyer who dreads situations like this, we’ve got some news for you – you don’t always have to travel like that. Fortunately, there are some good things left in this world and if you are willing to play your cards right, you could find yourself in a better seating position on a flight. In fact, you might not even have to spend extra money. We’ve compiled a list of “trick” and “tactics” you can try to get the best seats on a flight. Keep reading.
Finding the Cheapest Flight
There are tools that can help you with this. For example, Momondo, a flight comparison site offers a tool that tracks ticket rates to find out when the cheapest flights are available. The toll actually analyses over a million ticket prices to pick the ones that are more cost-effective. A general trend that we’ve noticed after using the tool is that the cheapest tickets tend to be available 53 days prior to departure. Also, the total savings on such tickets can amount to around 29%. However, if you were to book tickets just a few days prior to departure, you would be paying some of the highest prices. As for particular days of the week, the tool found that tickets were at their highest on a Friday and the lowest on a Tuesday, especially between 6 PM and 12 AM.
Alerts for Window Seats
Sites such as ExpertFlyer.com provide free alerts on available window seats or aisle seats. The service costs a mere 99 cents and the alerts are delivered to you in the form of an email. However, the alerts are sent only when two adjacent seats go vacant. Currently, the service covers only American carriers such as United Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Virgin America, and Alaska Airlines.
Check Your Carrier’s Website 5 Days Prior to the Day of Departure
The reason you need to do this is because this is when airlines tend to do the upgrading thing, where elite flyers are sent to first class. Naturally, this results in a few seats going empty on the coach side of things. The second wave of upgrades happens 48 hours from the first day. Trip Advisor tells us that flights open up 335 days prior to departure. However, activity is seen only after the first 6 or 7 months. The point is, if you book as early as possible, you are likely to get the best seating options. Additionally, you’ll also be paying less for your ticket. The leftover cash can be used for an upgrade.
Do an Early Check-In
Generally, most airlines open up check-in 24 hours prior to departure. So, all you have to do is set an alert so that you can go in and do an early check-in. Also, when you do check-in, make sure you book an aisle seat and a window seat (if you’re traveling with a partner). That way, you can have an entire row. Middle seats are usually the last go. Of course, this isn’t valid for two-seat configurations. The advantage with doing this is that the passenger in the middle seat will gladly exchange for an aisle seat and you can sit next to your partner.
Airlines have all kinds of systems in place to make flying comfortable for families. For example, British Airways allows flyers with infants to reserve seats for the family from the time of booking at no extra cost. In fact, if the flyers forget to do so, BA will book the most ideal seats 3 days prior to departure. If you’re traveling with slightly older children, the seats are allocated 5 days prior to departure. In the worst case scenario that the family gets separate seats, BA will make sure that each child is allocated a seat next to at least one adult from your group. Airlines also have seats reserved for disabled flyers. If these seats go empty, which they often do, your whole family can be put in these seats.