When you travel as often as I do, you’re bound to experience a bad flight sooner or later. Try to prevent problems before they happen. To avoid being stuck in a horrible airplane seat for extended periods of time, you MUST reserve airplane seats in advance!
Some airlines will charge you a small reservation fee, but most frequent flyer programs will waive this fee. If it’s a short flight and you won’t be reimbursed by your company, you might want to take your chances. For example, on a short haul flight of an hour or two, I really don’t care if I get a window or aisle seat. But when taking a long-haul flight, getting stuck in an aisle seat means having your seatmate(s) with a weak bladder crawl over you to get to the bathroom a dozen times. It just isn’t fun for either of you. I’ll take that window seat, every time!
Use the airlines website to find a map of your flight’s seat layout. Identify the front/last row (bulkhead) seats, emergency rows and toilets of *each* section of the plane. Be aware that the bathroom close to your seat, but behind that business class curtain is NOT to be used by economy passengers. Or by business passengers in the first class lavatory.
Pros: Extra legroom. No-one in front of you to recline and take “your space”. Front of the line to exit the airplane after landing.
Cons: These seats will not be allowed any carry-on or hangbag storage under the chair in front of you (as there isn’t one!) or on the floor during taxi/takeoff/landing. They will also have a very small tray table which usually folds into the armrest and no (or at least very small) video screen. Very often these seats are also right next to the bathroom. Which means people are always hanging around, using your seat as an armrest during turbulence, etc. Particularly the aisle seat in this row.
Summary: Extremely tall people NEED these seats. I AVOID them like the plague.
Emergency Exit rows
Pros: Exit row seats *sometimes* have extra legroom.
Cons: Airlines may charge extra. The flight attendant will have to give you an additional safety speech about your responsibilities should the exit door need to be used. Children under 18 are NOT allowed to sit in this row. They will make you change your seat. This row is also not allowed to have any under seat storage during takeoff/landing.
**Also worth noting: The row of seats IN FRONT of an exit row will NOT be able to recline. You really don’t want that seat. If the person in front of you puts their seat all the way back (and for sure they will) you will have VERY limited space.
If you need help, check out SEATGURU.COM It’s a free website that has seat maps of nearly every flight, with colour coded guides to help you choose the best seat for you.