Seats 101

Now you may think the subject of “seats” is boring, perhaps it is, but it is a very big part of air travel. Where you sit can make a huge difference in your experience. There are good and bad seats. The window seat of the last row for example. I have been there when I was on stand by and the last person to board. I always say someone has to sit in the bad seats, but book your travel with AlwaysHarriet and I will do my best to make sure it is not you!

There is a great website you may want to visit You can find each carrier and every type of plane flown by that company complete with the seat configuration. You can view where the best rated seats are located. Other useful details such as the pitch of the back of the seat and width of the seat can also be viewed. What rates as a good seat? Several factors make a difference such as leg room, location to the lavatory or galley, electronic outlets, and whether it is facing forward or backward. Most people prefer an aisle seat, so I automatically assign them first. If you like to sleep then a window seat is best for you. In the old days when the planes were not very full, two people could often take a window and an aisle leaving the space in the middle. I do not recommend that these days since surely someone will sit in the middle. Now many couples were both persons prefer the aisle will sit aisle across because the planes are so full.

My favorite seat location is in the big 747’s in the second floor bubble-like area. Most often it is reserved for business class. The second floor makes you feel like you are on a small private plane only with the body of a giant! The bigger the plane, the smoother the flight.

Speaking of business class (domestically business class is called first class), is it worth it? It depends on lots of factors. Is the flight over three hours? Are you going to work and need to be present upon landing? Who is paying? Do you have lots of frequent flier miles? Do you appreciate and enjoy the comfort? I know I do. I believe the biggest bang for the frequent flier mile bucks is upgrading. Purchase a coach class seat then upgrade with miles. The seats in business class have many advantages such as size, comfort, space, hushed atmosphere, and personal attention let alone food and a beverage!

To get the best seat whether you are flying coach, business, or first, it is important to reserve as well in advance as you can. I had a client that was sure his profile said he liked a middle seat, because he always had one. But I reminded him the day before does not give me much advance!

Lastly, carriers limit their advance seat assignments. Some like British Airways do not allow coach class and some business class to pre-assign seats at all. In November when I go to Cape Town, I cannot get seats until 24 hours prior. These are going to be very long flights and I going to be experiencing it in coach. This will be what I call an out of body experience. I will just have to get my mind to go some place else. Usually a very good book helps.

AlwaysHarriet Travel Tip: If you do not like your pre-assigned seat, at airport check in (on-line or at the counter) or at the gate request a better seat. Lots of people do not show up for their flights. Also many get upgraded last minute and good seats tend to open up. Also if you are on the plane, the door closes and you see a better seat, hop to it!

About alwaysharriet

With thirty years experience in corporate and leisure travel consulting, Harriet Ahouse has traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean and worldwide. An avid scuba diver, she understands the requirements of travelers both on land and in the water. On the European scene she has offered traditional and personalized travel itineraries throughout the continent--Italy, France, and England are some of her favorites. As a Virtuoso Agent, she also has extensive resources to enhance her expertise in designing individual destination travel itineraries--and honeymoons--worldwide!
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