The Truth About Seat Selection

January 3, 2017
Posted in Travel
January 3, 2017 Donny A

The Truth About Seat Selection

Fact: There are only so many aisle seats on a plane 

I have been helping individuals and groups book tickets to destinations around the world since 2004. During this time I have learned a lot about seating preferences. One of the most common requests I have heard over the years is: “I must have an aisle seat at the front of the plane”.  

Let’s face it we all have requested it, and we are all entitled to make requests, but let’s take a minute to review the facts. 

1) Unless you are a frequent flyer, or you are willing to pay a premium, the chances of getting a seat in the front of economy class, at the front of the plane, are close to nil.

2) If you do not want to pay to “sit up front”, take the best aisle seat available and enjoy your flight.

3) Realistically speaking, sitting further back in the plane will not end up costing you any extra time

Did that last point catch you off guard? Well, let’s take a moment to understand how I can say that with a straight face.

Let’s say you get the very first row on the plane, you are lucky enough to make your way off the plane first and start to navigate your way through the airport. You make it through the terminal and head through security and arrive at the luggage carousel and now you wait…. and wait… and wait some more…

The fact of the matter is, more often than not, you end up waiting at the carousel long after all the other passengers arrive and stand there waiting along with you. This is especially true when traveling domestically or within Europe, as you don’t have the additional component of passport control.  

Just the other day, I was having a conversation with one of our clients, who will be traveling with his family to Israel for the first time this winter. As I was finalizing his reservation we started to discuss seating arrangements on the plane. This client is pretty savvy so he had pulled up a seating chart from SeatGuru and was asking for my advice.

He had determined, based on the SeatGuru map, that the best place to sit would be in the last row of the plane as there are fewer seats and he would be able to secure a window and aisle seat next to each other (many planes today are typically laid out in a 3-4-3 configuration).

I advised him that it would be a bad idea on a transatlantic flight to spend the entire trip sitting near a bathroom for the duration of the multi-hour flight, for reasons we can all understand.  

So how do you ensure that, as a couple, you can comfortably sit next to each other? My recommendation, when the plane is not configured to have a window and adjacent aisle seat, is to book a window and aisle seat leaving the middle seat empty.

When you do this, one of 2 things will happen. Either, you get lucky and the seat will stay empty, giving you more breathing room, or ask the person sitting between you if they would like to swap seats, I am sure they will be happy to move to the window or the aisle. 

I always look at seating my clients like connecting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, always striving to get the pieces in the correct place and doing my best to ensure a comfortable flight.

One last thing to remember, seating is always subject to change by the airline. Your seats may be changed if a different type of aircraft is substituted for your flight or for any number of reasons as viewed prudent for operational reasons.

Have more questions about Airline seating? Give us a call at 1-855 958-6877.