Have you ever been wedged between two full-grown adults on a three-hour flight? Or how about trying to get comfortable with less leg room than the back seat of a Mini Cooper?
No matter what the circumstance, nothing is worse than getting stuck with a bad seat on an airplane.
While pinpointing the worst seat on a flight is impossible due to so many variables, Christopher Elliott took a deep dive into the subject in a column for the Washington Post. Let’s just say you might want to take a little extra time to avoid a painful flight.
You Get What You Pay For
Wow. Two flights in a row I’ve gotten a middle seat assignment. Why do bad things happen to good people
— Kyle (@KFA703) January 24, 2020
Elliot suggests that the best way to ensure you don’t get saddled with a sad seat situation is to eschew the cheapest ticket. For most flights, a basic economy ticket may save you money, but you will pay dearly when it comes to comfort – shocker, I know.
Some airline carriers, including American, Delta and United, forbid basic economy passengers from purchasing any upgrades. Even purchasing a normal standard economy ticket can provide you the flexibility to change seats.
Check Your Plane’s Seating Map Carefully
So what exactly is the protocol for when you have an aisle seat and the person in the middle practically leans into your lap the entire flight to watch the movie you paid to rent?? He couldn’t hear anything so do I only ask him to cover half the rental fee?? #seriously
— Chris Weaver (@steamers2424) January 24, 2020
Can you imagine boarding your flight only to find out your window seat doesn’t actually have a window? Sometimes an airline’s provided seating map can cause confusion, which in turn can result in you spending a few hours within earshot (and nose-shot) of the bathroom.
One way to ensure your seat is exactly where you expect it to be is to utilize the color-coded seat maps provided by SeatGuru. This site is an incredibly helpful tool for travelers, especially with its seat width comparison charts. For bigger guys like myself, this can be a life saver on long flights.
Take Advantage of Early Check In
So first @KLM does not send me a email to remind me to check my flight in and then I want to change seats and I only get a "Your seat selection failed, your seat is unchanged. Please try again later." error for ANY seat I try. Worst airline ever.
— Karina Voggel (@KarinaVoggel) January 9, 2019
As soon as the 24-hour check-in window opens, make sure to log in and take a look at the seat map. Often, business and first-class passengers receive upgrades, leaving behind valuable comfy seats ripe for the picking.
You can save yourself time by downloading your airline’s app ahead of time. On your departure day, open the app and you may just strike gold when a precious aisle or window seat becomes available.
These measures may be simple, but they could also be game-changers the next time you travel. Happy flying!