The Best (Airplane) Seats in the House

Anyone who has ever gotten stuck for hours in a seat in the back row of an airplane can relate to the fact that not all airline seats are created equal.  

Or maybe you volunteered, or paid to upgrade to the better legroom found in the exit row. (provided you are willing , and able to help people clamber out of the plane in the event of an unfortunate landing).

There’s usually a seat in the row just ahead of the exit row that doesn’t recline in order to give those two exit rows extra spacing.  

And then there is the first row behind the First Class ‘cabin’, where you have nowhere to stow anything under the seat ahead, because you’re facing a … well, it’s not really a bulkhead, it’s a carpeted divider establishing the fact that people sitting in First Class are luckier than the rest of us. 

The seat you select can make a big difference in how comfortable your flight is going to be.  Frequent fliers will regularly visit the airline’s web site to see if their preferred seats have opened up.  Now that more airlines have begun reconfiguring their planes to give a chunk of the ‘Coach’ fliers more leg room, seat selection has become even more important. 

Yet even in the slightly upgraded Coach seating, there are winners and losers; seats that are right next to the toilet, window seats with no window, seats over a segment of the plane that vibrates noisily, etc…  And the same equipment (plane) can be configured differently by different airlines.  

What to do? 

Check Seat Guru

Seat Guru is a sweet web site geared for regular (and ‘in the know’) travelers who know how a bad seat can affect their productivity and comfort. If you have a flight number and a date, the site will show the actual seating configuration for your flight so you can make an informed selection.  It will highlight seats that aren’t great, and ones that are abysmal.   

They also have a blog about airplanes, airlines, and seat configurations that can come in handy when considering which cheap ticket to grab.  In case you can’t remember the  name of this blog, I’ve included their link on the Resources page as well.  You can find the link to that page at the top of the site (it’s a bit hard to see, but I’m working on beefing up the text). 

If you’re taking a long flight over the ocean, a good seat can make all the difference in your ability to tolerate the trip.  Seat Guru.  Tell them I sent you.  😉


Have you tried Seat Guru?  What was your experience?  Is this a useful tip?  Drop me a comment.  

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Reformed road warrior with side interests in human rights, fuzzy creatures, great food, and a healthier planet.

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