Six Tips for Choosing the Best Seat on a Plane - Page 2

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Airplane flight
 (Digital Vision/Thinkstock)

The Emergency Exit Row
Coveted extra leg room makes this row prime coach property. The biggest disadvantage to the emergency exit row is that you may actually have to lift the 40 pound emergency exit door. Don’t even think of sitting here if you are unsure of your ability to perform this procedure in an emergency. Also be aware that seats in the row in front of the emergency exit row often don't recline (so they won't be in the way in case of emergency), so if you're a recliner, avoid these seats.

Glorified Coach
In some cases, it doesn’t pay to just grab the cheapest airfare you can find. The longer the flight, the more important your comfort is. The old adage is true: you get what you pay for. Some airlines offer larger, more comfortable seats in a slightly upgraded economy section, for an increased fare.

When You Check In
Before you book your flight, go on your airline's website to see which seats are still available. Then check, a comprehensive website of color-coded maps of the best and worst seats for that flight. SeatGuru also has information on the location of power outlets, emergency exits, bathrooms, the galley, and seats with extended leg room and limited reclining ability. You can also compare seat pitch and width.

Check your seat one week before you fly. Sometimes airlines substitute a different type of aircraft with a totally different seating arrangement. You might be able to switch your selected seat to an even better one. Check again the day of the flight. Some airlines will only book a bulkhead or exit-row seat the day of the flight. Then, check in with the gate agent. If the business or first class is not full, elite status frequent fliers are often upgraded. Let the gate agent know that you would be happy to get one of the “good” seats if they become available.

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