How to get the best seat on a flight

Rows near flight attendant areas and restrooms tend to be noisier and experience more traffic.

If you are a nervous flier, you may want to sit over the wing, where there is less turbulence. Business people might want an aisle seat near the front of the plane so you can debark as quickly as possible on arrival. On an overnight flight, you might prefer a window seat so you can rest your head.

The middle seat in any row is generally undesirable. Rows near flight attendant areas and restrooms tend to be noisier and experience more traffic while seats very close to overhead movie screens can be uncomfortable, or bright if you are trying to sleep.

Check out our tips for getting the best seat on the plane below.

1. Buy your tickets early

The number of seats available dwindles as the travel date approaches. If you can’t buy your tickets at least a month in advance, be sure to check in online as soon as possible before your flight to select a seat, or arrive at the airport early if online check-in isn’t available.

2. Consider purchasing a better seat

Airlines now offer economy-class seats with extra legroom for an additional fee. Airlines offer programs for more space seats. This entitles travellers to a few extra inches of seat pitch toward the front of the coach cabin.

3. Select your seat when you book

Most airline websites and major booking engines allow you to choose a seat when you purchase your ticket, or to return to your reservation after your initial purchase and make your seat selection later. If you don’t see a seat online that you like, consider calling the airline and speaking to a live agent; sometimes there’s a disparity between what’s displayed on a carrier’s site and what’s actually available.

4. Confirm your seat at check-in

Most airlines allow passengers to check in online 24 hours before their flight departs. At that point, you can confirm the seat you’ve already chosen or even choose a better one.

5. Get to the airport early

If you arrive too late at your gate, you may lose your seat.

Also, once you reach your gate, ask whether any new seats have opened up. If other passengers upgrade to business class or don’t show up for the flight, you may get lucky and grab a better assignment.

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