How to Get the Best Airline Seats Without Paying Extra

Avoid cramped legs or chairs that don't recline by following these tips to getting the best seats on your next flight.

Last-minute options

If you’re down to the wire and facing a cramped middle seat for a long cross-country flight, you may still be able to turn things around. When check-in starts, unreserved seats go up for grabs.

So once the check-in process begins — typically 24 hours before the flight’s departure — log on to the airline’s website and try to select a better, unclaimed seat. You’ll have to act fast — these seats go quickly.

If all else fails, turn on the charm. A smile and a nice conversation with the gate agent, flight attendant or even another passenger might get you a better seat.

Do you have any tips for getting the best seats, and avoiding bad ones? Let us know in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

Angela Colley
Angela Colley @angelancolley
My personal tag line might be, “There is probably a coupon for that.” At a young age, I mistook my parent’s coupon clipping for a game and I wanted to treasure hunt ... More

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