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Buckle Up! 6 Tips for Getting the Best Seats on a Plane

Written by Going Places

These days, to travel is to fly. That’s not to diminish the value of road trips or taking a train; it’s just that air travel takes a fraction of the time and opens destinations all over the world. A plane ride can be the first stage of any amazing adventure, like driving through Scotland or a train trip across Japan. And all you really need to do is: lean back, relax, and let the pilot do the navigating. That is, of course, if you’ve got the best possible seats on the plane. Because, whether you’re taking a short cross-state trip or flying to another continent, your seat can dictate your entire flight experience. There’s no hyperbole in the idea that getting your place in one of the best seats on a plane can make the difference between a comfortable or miserable experience. If you want to make those countless hours on board fly by, here are a few tips for scoring one of those superior seats.

Choose the Right Window Seat
Tips for Getting the Best Seats on a Plane - Window Seat

Even for people who’re used to flying, there’s something magical about seeing the heavens from a window seat. If daydreaming in the clouds is your thing, ask for a window seat up front or toward the back. Window seats more in the middle of the plane, while usually experience less turbulence, will generally only provide you with a bland view of the wing for your entire trip. Consider that if you’re taking a long-distance flight. Sometimes a better seat isn’t merely about the space we have or even the amenities. A seat with a nice view is always a better seat on long-haul flights when you need a break from glowing screens.

Remember That the Early Bird Gets the Best Seat
Tips for Getting the Best Seats on a Plane - book early

Most domestic and foreign airline flights fill up quickly, so an early reservation can be your key to preferred seating. When you make your reservation by phone or online, be sure to request the seating arrangement of your choice, else you’ll be assigned a random one. In that case of “first come, first served,” booking early and reserving where on the plane you’ll be, can assure you better seating.

Request an Exit Row Seat
Tips for Getting the Best Seats on a Plane - exit row

Don’t you hate when you have a seat on an airplane that keeps your legs cramped in a small space? While you might endure it for a short flight, a long-haul would be intolerable. If extra legroom is essential to you, you might consider requesting an exit row seat. These seats have more space because they are positioned near the plane’s emergency exits. But before you’re granted an exit row seat, you’ll be asked if you are willing to help and comply in case the exits need to be used. You must have the physical capabilities of opening the door and assisting other passengers. It’s fine to decline the responsibilities, and the flight crew will offer you alternative seating.

Related: Hate Flying With Lots of Other Passengers? Try to Book at the Least Crowded Flight Times

Avoid Action Alley: The Galley and the Bathroom
Tips for Getting the Best Seats on a Plane - Avoid by bathroom

Most frequent flyers know that as soon as the plane is in the air, everyone seems to need a trip to the bathroom. Isn’t it frustrating to be bumped and stepped on by neighbor passengers who suddenly feel nature’s call? Sitting close to the toilet will probably mean a miserable flight. You’ll  have the same issues if you’re seated close to the galley. During the trip, flight attendants will be pushing carts up and down the aisle to serve drinks and food. You may be blocked by a cart and need to visit the bathroom. Unless you don’t mind having your toes or knees constantly being bumped accidentally by galley carts, find seating elsewhere.

Consider Being Seated Closer to the Front
Tips for Getting the Best Seats on a Plane - sit in the front

Are you an impatient person who loathes standing in line? Then you might consider requesting a seat that’s closer to the plane’s main door. When the flight has landed safely, and the crew has given the go-ahead, almost everyone stands and tries to wrestle out their overhead luggage for departure. The closer you are to the rear of the plane, the longer you must wait to get your things and exit. The front of the plane is also the ideal spot if  you plan to get a little shuteye during the flight; most passengers find it calmer than toward the back, where families with children often sit.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for What You Want
Tips for Getting the Best Seats on a Plane - ask

The best seats on a plane are not always non-negotiable. Are you uncomfortable with where you’re sitting? Feel free to ask for the place you want. Most flight crews will be happy to accommodate your request if they can. There’s also no harm in asking a fellow passenger for a seat trade. But remember to be polite and nice about it!

Have your own tips for getting the best seats on a plane? Leave them in the comments section below!

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