Finding the best seat on an airplane

If you have ever flown somewhere, you know just how uncomfortable that experience can be, especially if it is a long flight and you’re stuck in the economy section. The seats are narrow, there is no room to stretch out, and you’ve often got the seat in front of you reclined into your lap. The person beside you is hogging the armrest, and your knees are jammed into the seat frame.

airplane seatsFlying doesn’t have to be all discomfort and grumpiness though. With a little creative thinking and some research, you can find a decent seat or even an airline that is flying to your destination that has slightly better seating arrangements. You’d be surprised how much difference one or two centimetres can make.

First steps

The first thing I always do is check out the available flights on my favourite booking websites. When you are given your flight options, they include an airline, and the flight number. You can take that information and plug it into a website such as and find out what aircraft you could be taking, the seat pitch, the seat width, the good seats and bad seats and so on.

Contrast and compare

Sometimes the cheapest flight is not always the best option. The cheapest flight is the one that will probably fill up the fastest, but it will also be harder to pick that seat that doesn’t make you feel like you’re 400 years old once you arrive at your destination. Some airlines have started charging extra for what they call “preferred seating” and “premium economy” seating. I have had flights where those were the only available seats and I had to pay extra on top of the flight price, driving the price well above the other flight options.

Air New Zealands nice new Business Class

Picking and choosing

So you’ve compared a few flight options, checked out the seat arrangements and decided on an airline. How do you pick the seat itself? What makes a seat better over others?  Well, that’s a very subjective thing. For me, I prefer a little extra room to stretch out my legs. I always look for exit rows, bulkheads or premium economy seating. Having a frequent flyer card also helps as you get preferred seating choices before other passengers. Do watch out for window seats right next to the emergency exits though, as they tend to be very cold during the flights. Pick an aisle seat if you can when you’re on an exit row. Bulkheads are popular with families and small children, so it can be a good idea to avoid those seats.

It can take several flights to really nail it down to what seats you find the best, and it varies from one airline to another as well as one aircraft type to another. If you have any real good tips, please share them here!

LOST Auction - Oceanic wreckage and Sawyer's seat

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