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How to Get A Better Seat When Traveling
There is absolutely nothing worse than getting a center seat on the plane! There are a variety of things you can do to avoid the "center seat blues", and in fact, get better seating!
1. Seat assignment on most airlines start 30 days in advance of the flight and with other carriers, up to 90 days (with the exception of Southwest Airlines and some shuttle flights, which do not assign seats at all).
2. Aisle seats are always the first to go, followed closely by window seating. The longer you wait to book your flight plans, the greater the chance you will have of ending up with a center seat.
3. Bulkhead seating is generally reserved for frequent flyers - always enroll in the carrier's frequent flyer program to procure better seating, regardless of your preference.
4. Exit row seating cannot be assigned to anyone under the age of 15, nor blind or disabled passengers. However, you cannot reserve these seats, so if you desire an exit row seating for the extra leg room, arrive EARLY at the airport and request it. Note: On some aircraft such as MD-80's, the exit row seating does not always recline.
5. The best time to get better seating on a tightly-booked flight, is to call the airline right after midnight. This is the time unpaid reservations are cancelled and the seat selections become available.
6. If specific seating is required by you personally, at time of reservation inquire as to other flights close to your flight time that would have this seating available.
7. If there are open seats more to your liking, request to move from the flight attendant as soon as the seat belt sign goes off.
8. Seats near the center and rear tend to have the greatest engine noise. Seats near the rear are the most sensitive to turbulence. If you can sleep however, through engine noise and slight turbulence, book window seats in the back of the plane. You will have somewhere to rest your head while sleeping.
9. Aisle seats have more leg room - window seats have less (due to the curvature inwards of the plane's sides).
10. On international flights, the seats closest to the galleys are usually the quietest (except at meal times) because there is no middle row.
11. If traveling with someone else, check to see how has the highest level in the carrier's frequent flyer program. Once established, have the premier member make both reservations together, requesting an aisle and a window. The center seating will be blocked in most cases and used only if the flight is fully booked. If neither has premier status with the carrier, use the same technique but book as far back as possible. The back center seats will be the last ones filled on the plane.
12. If using a travel agent, request that a notation is made in your profile for notification of any center aisle seating. This will alert you to arrive earlier for your flight. All unclaimed seats are released prior to boarding - alert the gate attendant when checking in your preference for a better seat.
1. Plan ahead to avoid center seating. At least 1/3 of all seats are center seats and are the last to be assigned.
2. If traveling with children, advise the carrier at time of reservation. If at all possible, they will do their best to assign a family together for seating.
3. If working on the flight and traveling with a colleague, consider two aisle seats across from each other and make your reservations together on the same phone call. You will each have more leg room and less likely to be seated further apart on the flight.
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