Tips on How to Avoid Getting the Crappiest Seat on a Flight


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

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 

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

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!