There is nothing like the feeling of settling back on a long flight with just that little bit of extra legroom, or in a quieter area away from the queues for the toilets. With just a little know-how and effort it’s possible to bag yourself a decent seat, giving you the best possible chance of a relaxing flight – and maybe a little sleep too. Best of all, it won’t necessarily cost you any extra money to book yourself a prime spot.
While we can’t promise that the person sat next to you won’t fall asleep on your shoulder, or attempt to instigate a lengthy conversation the second the plane takes off, we can suggest ways to make your flight as comfy as possible.
To learn how, check out the Flexicover team’s top tips for getting the best seats on an aeroplane.
Do your research
The most important step you can take is to understand the type of seat that best fits your needs. Are you setting off on a European city break with just a light carry-on bag? Maximise your time by choosing a seat nearest the exit doors, so you’ll be able to get off the plane first. Flying long-haul and looking forward to a little shut-eye? While window seats can be inconvenient - you’ll probably have to disturb a couple of people if you want to use the bathroom or just stretch your legs - they offer you a place to rest your head and stay undistracted from the goings-on in the aisle, which makes them the most comfortable option. Also, if you’re one of the many flyers who hates turbulence, position yourself over the wing to lessen the effect.
Choose a seat as soon as you book
Once you’re worked out the type of seat that you want, use a site like Seat Gurus to discover the layout of your plane based on the flight number, and select the perch that best fits the bill. Most airlines and booking portals give you the opportunity to select a seat when buying a ticket, or to return to the reservation screen and make your seat selection after you’ve paid – although, depending who you are flying with, you may be charged a small fee for the privilege. Don’t see anything you like? Seats sometimes open up closer to the departure date, so it might be worth checking back later.
Earn yourself some air miles
Plenty of European airlines offer their own frequent flyer schemes - sign up for one of these programmes and you’ll earn points to spend on better seats, as well as putting you closer to the front of the queue when it comes to upgrades. Also, many, like British Airways Executive Club, remember your seat preferences for when they automatically assign you a seat, so you don’t have to fret about being cornered into a window seat when you’ve already registered that you like being next to the aisle. If you earn enough miles to jet off somewhere for free, even better!
Buy your ticket and check in as early as possible
Although seats occasionally become available closer to your departure date, as a general rule, the early booker catches the best perch. The number of spots that can be pre-assigned tends to diminish over time, so where possible, always try to buy your tickets several weeks in advance to get that prime seating position locked down. If this doesn’t work for you, check in online as soon as you can to select a seat. If online check-in isn’t available, you’ll just have to rely on getting to the airport nice and early.
If all else fails… buy a better seat
Obvious as it sounds, sometimes the best - or, indeed, the only - solution to getting yourself a great seat is simply to spend a little cash. When purchasing your ticket or checking in online you’ll undoubtedly be offered the chance to buy add-ons such as additional frequent flyer miles, fancier inflight meals and seats with extra legroom. While the amount of extra space you’ll get for your money varies from airline to airline, it can make a real difference. For instance, Ryanair charge a £7 fee for extra legroom seats – not bad considering the overall cost of a trip away.
Wherever you plan on jetting away to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.