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.
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
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 it’s 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:
Valid on flights departing Sydney between May to June 2017. Sample fares include Sydney to Los Angeles for $760 return, Sydney to Seattle for $805 return, Sydney to San Francisco for $805 return and more. Other destinations include, Chicago, Las Vegas etc.
Valid on select dates from April until May 2017. Sample fares include Sydney to Melbourne for $99 return, Sydney to Brisbane for $132 return, Sydney to Gold Coast for $150 return and more. Other destinations include Adelaide, Auckland, Cairns, Singapore,Tokyo, Bangkok, London, Los Angeles etc.
Extra $15 off any flight
Valid on any flight, any destination for this week only.
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Valid for flights between May - June, August - September and October - November 2017. Sample fares include Brisbane to Los Angeles for $811 return, Melbourne to Los Angeles for $816 return, Perth to Los Angeles for $817 return and more. Conditions apply.
Valid for travel between 21 February to 30 November 2017. Sample fares include Perth to Amsterdam for $1,085, Perth to Milan for $1,095, Adelaide to Milan for $1,105 and more. Other destinations include Rome, Paris, Zurich, Frankfurt, Athens, Milan, Madrid, London, Manchester. Conditions apply.
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Valid on flights until 31 October. Sample fares include Perth to Hong Kong for $607 return, Brisbane to Bangkok for $629 return. Destinations include Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, China, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, Italy, Iran, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, Germany, France, Russia, UK, UAE and Oman.
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Valid on select dates from March 2017 until December 2017. Sample fares include Melbourne-Hobart from $39 each way, Melbourne-Sydney for $49 each way, Melbourne-Adelaide for $49 each way and Gold Coast-Sydney for $55 each way. See a full list of sale fares here.
Europe and North America flights from $896 return
Valid on selected destinations. Sample fares include San Francisco for $896 return, London for $994 return, , Paris for $919 return, Stockholm for $989 return and more. Conditions apply.
Flights to Beijing from $340 return on Hainan Airlines
Fly to Beijing on Hainan Airlines from $340 return. Flights include: Sydney to Beijing from $340 return and Melbourne to Beijing from $363 return.
Valid on flights between 13 January - 28 March 2017 and 27 September - 22 November 2017. Sample fares include Brisbane to Istanbul for $2,011 economy, Brisbane Belgrade for $2,022 economy, Brisbane to Rabart for $2,025 and more. Other destinations include Brussels, Venice, Milan, Zurich etc. Conditions apply.
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Europe flights from $926 return
Valid on flights from March -April 2017. Sample fares include Rome from $926 return, Amsterdam from $936 return, Stockholm from $989 return, London from $994 return, Paris from $1,067 return and Nice from $1,134 return.
Valid on flights select dates until September. Sample fares include Adelaide or Melbourne to Singapore for $649 return, Sydney or Cairns to Singapore for $659 return, Perth to Singapore for $697 return, Canberra to Singapore for $699 return. Other destinations include Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Hong Kong, Beijing, Changhai, Phuket, Tokyo.
Valid for travel to Thailand and China from 27 January - 31 March, 18 April - 23 June, 11 July - 15 September and 2 October - 31 October 2017. While, Sri Lanka, India and Nepal flights are available for travel between 20 January - 31 October 2017. Sample fares include Perth-Krabi for $645, Perth-Bangkok for $657 and more. Flight restrictions apply.
Feature image: Etihad