You've managed to secure the cheapest airline ticket or the best value ticket based on your travel itinerary. Or, maybe you've managed to snare that elusive upgrade or free award ticket in First Class. That's terrific, but you're still only halfway to a great experience -- Where are you going to sit? On the wing?
Traveling from one city to another can vary greatly based on the airline and the equipment (type of plane). Different airlines will fly different aircraft types and each will have its own seating configuration and amenities. This can drastically alter your flying experience. Even with the same airline, two or three different aircraft types may be used and each with varying quality of seats and seat arrangements.
Tips for Finding the Best Seat
1. Get to Know the Aircraft
There are several web sites, like SeatGuru.com, that will graphically show the relative position of every seat for every aircraft model flown by nearly 100 airlines. The comments listed on SeatGuru are invaluable as they are the results of passenger observations. Find out which aircraft type your flight will be using and study the seating chart. Make particular note of the distinctive characteristics of each seat. Avoid seats near galleys and restrooms at all costs.
2. Find Out What is Available
Airline web sites may not always show you which seats are available for your flight. And leaving your seat assignment up to the airline's computer is like playing the lottery and hoping for the best. If you go to ExpertFlyer.com, you will be able to view which seats are occupied or available for specific flights up to 11 months in advance for over 140 airlines worldwide. Pick an available seat then call the airline and ask for it specifically. If there are not good seats available, use a service like Seat Alerts to notify you when a preferable seat option opens up. ExpertFlyer Seat Maps also contain SeatGuru ratings information, so you can know which seats are both available and preferable.
3. Not All Aircraft Types are the Same
So you found out your flight will use a specific aircraft type. Do you think they are all configured the same? Guess again. Japan Airlines has over a dozen different seating configurations just for their 747s and American Airlines has two very different 777 First Class configurations...