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Travel Tips: How to get the best seat on the plane

Not everyone can secure a business class upgrade to make their air travel more enjoyable. But you don’t have to suffer in economy. A little bit of research and these helpful tips will help you secure the best seat on the plane for your next holiday.

Photo credit: Jetstar Airways on

Decide what is important to you

It is good to know whether it is extra legroom or less noise which is paramount to your travel priorities as these will impact on the choice of seat you make. For example, if you want more leg space, the chances are you will have to sacrifice some peace as the spacious seats are often near fold-out cribs for parents travelling with babies.

If you want to secure a quieter flight avoid the galley areas where staff work preparing meals or the toilets.

Don’t follow the crowd

A survey revealed that seat 6A was the most sought-after seat on a standard plane and seat 31E the least favourite. This result was derived from survey responses that showed 46 percent of people prefer to be seated at the front of the plane, nearly 60 percent prefer window seats and 62 percent want an even-numbered row. That said, you should opt for an aisle seat on an odd-numbered row.

Do your research

An airline website can assist you in finding the best seat on your flight with details about the plane you will be flying on.  The information will include the amount of legroom, whether the seat reclines, how close to the galleys and toilets you are and what type of entertainment system to expect.

Check in early, check in often

Travellers now have a heap of competition for coveted seats. The earlier you check-in and secure a seat the more choices you will have. International flights can open up to a year in advance. However, if the seats you want are not available keep checking back online. Many airlines release new seats as late as a week to a day before departure and these are often the coveted exit row seats, which tend to be reserved for frequent flyers.

It pays to be nice

When checking in it is always worth asking the assistant at the counter if they know of any better seats available. When frequent flyers are upgraded they often free up a better economy or premium economy seat. This can all happen at the last minute, so that extra smile at the check-in counter might see you bumped into a better seat.

You can beat the system

If you are travelling as a family or in a couple you can snare yourself some extra space by leaving an empty seat between two members of your party. Ideally on a three-seat row if you book the window and aisle seat you increase your chances of having a vacant seat between you. If the flight does end up full and you want to sit together you can always swap with the person in the middle as surveys have shown the middle seat is the least popular seat on the plane.

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