8 ways to get the best airline seat

Make sure you snag the perfect seat for your next flight.

Let’s face it. No one wants to be stuck in the middle seat, in the middle row, near the toilets.

From getting a bit of extra legroom to sitting far away from crying babies, here are eight handy tips that can help make your next flight a lot more comfortable.

1. Always check the seat map.

Depending on the model and layout of the plane you’re flying, what you think is an aisle seat might end up being squeezed between two passengers. And on planes that narrow toward the back, the letters allocated to each seat may change. It’s a good idea to check the seat map carefully when choosing your seat to avoid disappointment.

2. Check your plane on SeatGuru

Like TripAdvisor for airplane seats, SeatGuru offers reviews of seats on most major airlines. It provides seat maps (such as the one pictured below) and you can hover over each allocated seat and read notes about them. The site will usually note things like extra legroom and proximity to the bathrooms.

Images: SeatGuru

3. See if there's an app for that.

There are a few apps out there that can help you trade or swap with other passengers to get better seats. Others can alert you when seats have become available on your flight.

  • Although only available for U.S. users at the moment, Seateroo lets you swap seats with other passengers on your flight for a negotiated price of $5 or more. The app charges a 15% fee (at the seller’s expense).
  • Set up alerts on SeatAlerts by Expert Flyer and you can find out when a preferred seat becomes available on your upcoming flight. You’ll then be able to change your allocated seat to the one you prefer.

4. Get discounted seat upgrades, guaranteed empty seats next to you.

Working with select airlines, Optiontown allows passengers who have already booked their tickets to pay as little as a quarter of the regular price for extra baggage or a seat upgrade. It also offers an option if you want to pay to have an empty seat next to you.

You just need to enter your airline, reservation number and name to see what options are available. If you choose to book one, you’ll get confirmation before you take off. If you can’t get your upgrade, you’ll get your money (minus an admin fee) back.

5. Suck it up and pay to choose your seat, and be ready to cough up for the extra legroom.

Sometimes the nominal fee for a few inches of extra legroom can be worth it – especially if you’re tall or are on a long-haul flight. For longer flights, Tigerair charges $25 each way, Jetstar charges $47 each way, Virgin Australia charges $50 each way and Qantas charges $60 each way.

6. Make the most of your online check-in window.

If you don’t want to pay for the privilege of a good seat, it’s a good idea to make note of when your flight’s online check-in opens. The earlier you check in for your flight, the sooner you’ll have your assigned seat.

7. See if there’s a designated quiet area

Budget airline competitors Scoot and AirAsia X both offer a separate, child-free section. This option is ideal for those trying to catch some sleep without having to worry about being seated next to a crying infant.

  • ScootinSilence, which is located in rows 21 to 25, offers more than just quiet seating for those aged 12 and older. Passengers will also be sitting closer to the front of the plane and a 35” seat pitch (four inches more than a standard economy seat). The airline charges $39 (up from the standard $12) to sit in this area.
  • AirAsia X’s Quiet Zone is available for passengers aged 10 and older. It’s located just after the Premium Flatbed cabin from ros 7-14 and offers minimal noise, soft lighting and faster meal delivery. AirAsia X charges a fee for this option based on your flight, with prices for standard seats staring from MYR69 (around AUD$23).

PlaneWomanSleeping

8. Try just being nice.

It could be worth asking politely at check-in and again at the gate whether there are any better seats available, or if there are spots still available in the exit row. While it’s unlikely you’ll get an upgrade to first class, it’s certainly worth a try.


Great tips, but where should I sit on the plane?

Believe it or not, each part of the plane does have its benefits. Depending on what your personal needs are when you're flying, here are a few things you might want to consider.

For peace and quiet: Choose a seat in a quiet zone

As noted above, some airlines let you pay extra to sit in a designated quiet zone. It’s ideal if you’re hoping to sleep during the flight.

For less turbulence: Choose a seat over the wing.

If you’re worried about a turbulent flight, sitting above a wing tends to reduce the amount of movement you feel.

For a short connection or a quicker exit: Choose a seat close to the front door.

Not all flights will disembark using both the front and rear doors. So if you need to get off the plane quicker, choose a seat toward the front of the plane, or as close to it as your ticket class will allow.

For more space: Choose a seat near the back of the plane.

If a roomier flight is your main priority, choose a seat toward the back. Flights tend to fill up from front to back, so selecting a set at the back gives you a higher chance of having an empty seat next to you – or a whole row if you’re really lucky.


Now that you know how to pick the perfect seat for your next flight, it's time to book:

Qatar Airways Qatar Airways

Europe flights from $999 return

Available for travel between 1 February - 2 October 2020. Destinations include Spain, Netherlands, Ireland, Greece, Italy, and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Barcelona in economy class. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Aunt Betty Aunt Betty

Bali flights from $232 return

Available on select travel dates from February - September 2020. Other flights available with Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia and more. Sample fare is Perth-Denpasar (Bali) with Malindo Air. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Australia-wide flights from $89 each way

Available for travel between February - May 2020. Sample fare is Gold Coast-Sydney. Destinations include Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, Cairns, Darwin, Hamilton Island and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Expedia.com.au Expedia.com.au

Rome flights from $876 return

Available for flights February - March 2020. Sample fare is from Melbourne.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Philippines flights from $282 return

Available for flights on select dates from 1 January - 31 May 2020 with Cebu Pacific. Sample fare is Melbourne-Manila. Destinations include Cebu, Davao and more.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skiddoo Skiddoo

San Francisco flights from $803 return

Available on select travel dates from January - October 2020. Sample fare is Melbourne-San Francisco with Delta Air. Other flights with Virgin Australia, Hawaiian Airlines, Air New Zealand, Fiji Airways, Qantas and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Aunt Betty Aunt Betty

Los Angeles flights from $806 return

Available on select travel dates from January - March 2020. Other flights available with Qantas, Delta Air lines, Air New Zealand, American Airlines , Cathay Pacific and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Los Angeles with Virgin Australia. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 10% off international flights with code

Valid for travel on select dates on Getaway, Freedom and Business fares. Destinations include across Australia to Bali, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Port Moresby or Pacific Islands. Minimum of 20-day advance purchase. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 10% off international fares with code

Valid for travel on select dates. Must book 20 days in advance. Destinations include across Australia to New Zealand, Hong Kong, Bali, Port Moresby and Pacific Islands. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Aunt Betty Aunt Betty

Singapore flights from $484 return

Available on select travel dates from February - November 2020. Other flights available with Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Philippine Airlines, British Airways and more. Sample fare is Perth-Singapore with Qantas. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Aunt Betty Aunt Betty

New York flights from $1,022 return

Available on select travel dates from January - May 2020. Other flights available with Qantas, Delta Air lines, Air Canada, American Airlines, Virgin Australia and more. Sample fare is Sydney-New York with United Airlines. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 15% off flights with code

Discount applies 7% off for Getaway, Elevate and Freedom, and 15% off Business fares within Australia and to Hong Kong, New Zealand and Fiji. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Tokyo flights from $699 return

Available for travel between April - September 2020. Sample fare is Adelaide-Tokyo.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 10% off worldwide business flights with code

Valid for travel on select dates to all destinations. Includes 5% discount to Getaway, Elevate and Business Saver fares.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 15% off business flights with code

Available for travel on select dates excluding blackout dates 9-13 April 2020. Discount applies to all destinations. Includes 10% off for Getaway, Elevate and Business Saver. Minimum of 20-day advance purchase applies. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

STA Travel STA Travel

Japan flights from $589 return with Virgin Australia

Choose the $689 fare and enter the code upon checkout. Available on travel from 29 March - 30 November 2020. Sample fare is Brisbane-Haneda. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Flight Centre - International Flight Centre - International

South Pacific flights from $499 return

Available for flights 15 April - 31 May 2020 with Air Vanuatu. Sample fare is Brisbane-Vanuatu.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Air New Zealand Air New Zealand

Norfolk Island flights from $219 each way

Available on travel dates from December 2019 - August 2020. Sample fare is Brisbane-Norfolk. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Flight Centre - International Flight Centre - International

Hawaii flights from $656 return

Valid for travel from 1 February to 31 March 2020 with Jetstar. Sample fare is from Gold Coast to Hawaii. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 10% off worldwide flights with code

Valid for travel until 29 June 2020. Discount applies to Getaway, Elevate, Premium Economy, Business Saver and Business fares. Minimum of 20-day advance purchase. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Kayak Kayak

Up to 35% off flights worldwide

Subscribe to Kayak newsletter and receive personalised private deals of up to 35% off. Destinations include Europe, Asia, America, Australia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

STA Travel STA Travel

Europe flights from $539 each way

Available on select travel dates from January - November 2020. Sample fare is Perth-Paris with Thai Airways. Other destinations include London, Rome, Manchester, Dublin and more.T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

STA Travel STA Travel

Hawaii flights from $729 return

Available on select travel dates from January - September 2020. Sample fare is Sydney-Honolulu with Qantas. Other flights available with Fiji Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and more.T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

STA Travel STA Travel

Bali flights from $279 return

Available on select travel dates from February - September 2020. Other flights available with Malindo Air, Virgin Australia, Garuda Indonesia and more. Sample fare is Perth-Denpasar (Bali) with Air Asia. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

STA Travel STA Travel

North America flights from $559 each way

Valid for travel between May 2019 and April 2020. Sample fare is Sydney–Los Angeles with Air New Zealand.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Bangkok flights from $216 each way

Available for flights on select dates including Christmas season. Sample fare departs from Perth with Scoot. Other flights with Virgin Australia, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skiddoo Skiddoo

Korean Air international flights from $992 return

Available on select travel dates in 2020. Sample fare is Sydney-Prague. Other destinations include Seoul, Amsterdam, New York, Vancouver and Frankfurt. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skiddoo Skiddoo

Phuket flights from $381 return

Available on select travel dates from February - August 2020. Sample fare is Perth-Phuket with Malindo Air. Other flights with Qantas, Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines, China Southern and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Aunt Betty Aunt Betty

Paris flights from $885 return

Available on select travel dates from January - March 2020. Other flights available with Etihad Airways, Emirates, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Australia and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-London with China Southern Airlines. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Aunt Betty Aunt Betty

London flights from $965 return

Available on select travel dates from January - March 2020. Other flights available with Malaysia Airlines, Royal Brunei, Etihad Airways, British Airlines, Cathay Pacific and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-London with China Southern Airlines. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Cathay Pacific Cathay Pacific

Hong Kong flights from $675 return

Available on select travel dates from February - June 2020. Sample fare is from Melbourne. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Bali flights from $373 return

Available for travel until January 2020 including Christmas season. Sample fare is Perth-Denpasar with AirAsia and Citilink. Destinations include Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

India flights from $465 each way

Available for flights in December 2019 including Christmas season. Sample fare is Perth-Amritsar. Destinations include New Delhi, Mumbai, Goa and more.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Thailand flights from $605 return

Available for flights on select dates including Christmas season. Sample fare departs from Perth to Surat Thani. Destinations include Bangkok, Phuket and more.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Phuket flights from $360 each way

Available for flights on select dates in December 2019. Sample fare departs from Perth.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Hong Kong flights from $399 each way

Available for flights on select dates in December 2019 including Christmas season. Sample fare departs from Darwin.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Sydney flights from $76 each way

Available for flights on select dates in December 2019. Sample fare departs from Melbourne.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Melbourne flights from $89 each way

Available for flights on select dates in December 2019 including Christmas season. Sample fare departs from Sydney.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Frankfurt flights from $721 each way

Available for travel on select dates in December 2019 including Christmas season. Sample fare departs from Sydney. Destinations include Munich and more.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skiddoo Skiddoo

Domestic flights from $184 return

Valid for travel until January 2020. Sample fare is Melbourne–Hobart. Destinations include Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Perth and more.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Popular Flights coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
10 Dec 2019 Up to 10% off international flights with code HNV****
10 Dec 2019 Up to 10% off international fares with code DFR****
9 Dec 2019 Up to 10% off worldwide business flights with code BKT****
9 Dec 2019 Up to 15% off business flights with code BHJ****
6 Dec 2019 Japan flights from $589 return with Virgin Australia TOK****

Feature image: Etihad


Follow us for all the latest deals and coupon codes

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Latest travel offers

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    JohnJanuary 30, 2018

    Emirates has 3 tiers of economy fares, Saver,Flex and Flexplus. The website shows the benefits / services provided for each tier. For example, baggage allowance, miles earned and miles required to obtain an upgrade. However it does not say whether the higher tiered (more expensive) fare gives one a better chance of obtaining miles / points upgrade.
    Does a Flexplus fare improve chances of getting a point/ miles upgrade to business class?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JudithFebruary 2, 2018Staff

      Hi John,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder. I hope all is good on your end.

      Yes, there is an advantage because you need fewer Miles to upgrade a Flex Plus fare compared to a Saver fare. Flex Plus fares in Economy Class and Business Class can be upgraded at any time before departure based on availability whereas special fares (their most affordable fares) are not eligible for upgrades. Economy Class Saver fares can be only be upgraded within 48 hours prior to departure (before online check-in).

      Please do note that tickets eligible for upgrades cannot be upgraded later than six hours before departure. You may also review the Fare Conditions and applicable restrictions at the time of booking.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Judith

Ask a question
Go to site