I boarded my flight home to Denver, a flight that would take around 10 hours from Frankfurt. After sitting down in my economy class seat for a few minutes, I thought the flight would be bearable. And then the seatback in front of me was promptly reclined at cruising altitude, leaving me with around 4 inches of space in between my face and the seat in front of me. Reaching for my bag in front of me looked like a contortionist in action.
Aside from my reclining neighbor, the audio on the televisions didn’t work. This was clearly one of the worst seats on the plane. To make matters worse with no entertainment on board, I couldn’t even use the window to distract from the terrible flight. My view was of the wing of the plane and nothing more. On long haul flights, your seat can dictate your entire flight experience. If you want to make those countless hours on board fly by, here are a few tips for scoring a better seat.
Check For Better Seats Opening Up Everyday Before Your Flight: Most travelers book long haul flights well in advance. However, you might not always like the seat that you are given when you book your flight or you might forget to even select one at booking. Rather than just waiting until you show up to the counter for the actual flight, you can score a better seat on board by merely checking the seat map everyday before your flight. You never know what seats might open up that have a better position on board. If you have trouble remembering to make this check, there is always an app for that. The Seat Alert app notifies you if your preferred type of seat suddenly opens up on your flight.
Avoid Booking Seats Over The Wing: In a world of tablets, readers and smartphones, seldom do you need a window seat on board long haul flights to keep you busy. However, a window seat with a view of the wing is no window seat at all. Sometimes a better seat isn’t merely about the space we have or even the amenities. A seat with a nice view is always a better seat on long haul flights when you need a break from glowing screens.
Request An Exit Row Seat: If you want to avoid those excessive seat recliners or even just to have more space, you can request to be put in an exit row. Usually the seats in front of the exit row do not recline, ensuring that you won’t have a seatback right up to your nose.
Ask and You Might Receive: With my audio not working on my 10-hour flight, I asked the flight attendant about the problem. Had the flight not been full, she said she could have moved me to another seat, perhaps even an upgrade. While there might be nothing wrong with your seat, it never hurts to ask when you check in or even at the gate if a better seat has opened up. If you never ask, the answer will always be no. Ask about a better seat and you might get lucky.
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