5 Tips for Getting a Better Seat When You Fly

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This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz.

Anyone who’s familiar with flying understands the importance of getting a good seat on the plane. Travel expert George Hobica recently wrote a post on airfarewatchdog about how you can fly in comfort by following a few simple tips.

Here are our favorites from his list:

1. Don’t buy the expensive “premium economy seat”

When booking a flight online with an airline that has both economy and “premium” economy seating, you may be told that “only premium economy seats are available” when you try to pick a seat. Of course, that comes with a heftier price tag. Don’t fall for this ploy! Hobica noted:

This doesn’t mean that you won’t eventually get a seat assignment or a seat (if you get involuntarily bumped, that’s another story, but it rarely happens). Don’t cough up the extra money for a premium seat. If in fact all the “cheap” seats are taken, you’ll get a premium economy seat when you check in. You can also try calling the airline directly to see if they’ll give you a seat assignment.

2. Check first-class fares

Business- and first-class fares can come with a hefty price tag – but not always. Oftentimes first-class fares go for the same price as refundable coach fares and little more than economy. Hobica recalls, “Recently I flew from New York JFK to Boston in first class on American for $140 each way, when economy class (or cattle class) on the Delta Shuttle was charging $400 from LaGuardia.”

3. Use SeatGuru.com

SeatGuru has seat maps for most airlines and aircrafts. The site includes seat advice, user comments and photos to help you select a more desirable seat.

4. Fly on slow travel days

Hobica says fewer people travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which means there’s a greater chance that the middle seat will stay open.

5. Choose a legroom-friendly airline

Looking to stretch out your legs? JetBlue may be the airline for you, boasting seat rows spaced 33 to 34 inches apart in coach. Those 2 to 3 inches can make a big difference in passenger comfort. According to SeatGuru, JetBlue’s “even more space” seats range from a roomy 37 to 41 inches apart.

Need more help? Money Talks News money expert Stacy Johnson shared his airline seat tips in this video.

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