A good seat makes all the difference when traveling, whether your flight is a short one hour dash between cities or a long 18+ hour journey from one corner of the globe to another. Seeing that it is almost the weekend, here are some tips to help you find the best seats for whatever air travel plans you may have.

  • Know the type of plane you will be flying in

As unimportant as this information might seem, if you will be taking a long flight, it is necessary to look at the types of airplanes available for that flight to help you make informed decisions when booking for your seat and packing your hand luggage.

  • If you like it quiet, avoid the front or back of the cabin

The parts of the plane where people tend to go to for different reasons, the kitchens, lavatories, and more (depending on the type of plane) are usually at the front and back of the cabins. For many international flights, the bassinet crib positions for babies and families with young children are usually at the front of each cabin – which means that the back of a Business Class cabin might have babies in Economy on just the other side of a thin wall. All these factors could combine to be pretty noisy, so if peace and quiet are important to you, pick a seat elsewhere.

  • If you want legroom, look for an exit row instead of a bulkhead

If stretched-out legroom is more important to you than space for your knees, then you may need to stay away from heading for the bulkhead. The difference is that you can extend your feet underneath the seat in front of you, but not if there’s a bulkhead wall ahead. There’s usually more space for your knees in the bulkhead, though – and, when space is tighter at the back of the plane, there’s crucial space for your laptop too. The emergency exit seats – where the rows of seats are spaced further apart for emergency access, and there’s no bulkhead wall at all – are almost always the best for the seriously tall passenger. However, the window seats at some emergency exit rows sometimes have less legroom than a standard economy seat if the emergency door sprouts a protruding bump, so an aisle seat can be the safest bet.

  • Keep checking back, especially 7, 3 and 1 days before departure

If you don’t like the seat you can pick at check-in, make sure you keep checking back periodically. (Try setting a calendar appointment to remind you, noting down the PNR Booking Reference Number in the appointment so that it is always handy. Some airlines often keep the best seats for their most frequent flyers to start with, and those seats will then be released back into the general pool as it gets closer to departure. And other passengers who have snagged your favourite seat might have changed flights, been upgraded or swapped places.

Particularly useful times to check back are 7 days, 3 days and 24 hours before your departure. Those tend to be the times that airlines most frequently shift around the seats they might have been keeping back.

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