Airplane seats: words that make most people cringe.
For a tall man, it’s downright scary.
Getting the right seat is not just about comfort. It’s about protecting your knees from the rude recliner in front of you. It’s about avoiding the back pain and muscle spasms that come when you squeeze your body into a seriously undersized seat for hours.
Unfortunately, airlines and airplane manufacturers continue to squash more seats into already crowded planes. Even though their research shows that legroom and seat width make up 60% of the average traveler’s sense of comfort, they keep shrinking the seats and squeezing us in.
What’s a tall traveler to do? Here are 7 tips for snagging the best, roomiest seats on an airplane.
- Ask the guru. Before you choose seats, go to SeatGuru, a site that rates airplane seats on elements that can affect your comfort on a flight, including legroom, the ability to recline, and power port availability. You can search by your flight number or the airplane model to find a map highlighting the seats you want to snag – and avoid.
- Reserve your seat early. Most booking engines and airlines let you select a seat when buying your ticket. Even if it’s not your first choice, reserve one, preferably one next to an empty middle seat. You may be able to swap to a better location later.
- Pay more. Most airlines allos you to upgrade for a fee (of course). Consider shelling out some extra dough for a more comfortable experience, particularly on longer flights. Your legs will thank your wallet.
- Call the airline. If you’ve booked your ticket online and don’t like the seat you’ve selected, call the airline directly. A kind phone agent might be able to find a better option. It’s not likely, but what have you got to lose?
- Check back for changes. As people book and cancel flights, seat options change. Many airlines also open up certain seats, like exit row and bulkhead seats, on the day of the flight. As your flight gets closer, check seat availability online frequently to see if you have new choices.
- Check in online as early as possible. Most airlines allow you to check in online from your computer or smart phone. When your flight is available for check-in, make it happen. You may have access to that choice exit row you’ve been coveting.
- Ask at the gate and be nice. Flight attendants have power. They can make things happen. So turn on the charm, and you may be a much happier traveler.
Snagging the best seat on an airplane is tricky, but give these tips a try and see where you land.
Best of luck and safe travels.