In the past 8 days I’ve flown 8490 miles on eight different flights, and sat in eight seats. None of them were particularly GOOD seats as they were booked by someone other than myself (until I got online and switched them in cases where there were seats still available). In today’s travel world, most flights are overbooked leaving VERY little options once you’ve hit the “buy” button….or ARE they?
Here’s MY tactic to getting the BEST seat available!
- Download Seat Guru onto your smartphone, or if you’re booking from home you can access it at GateGuruapp.com. I learned about this completely free app from Robin Wright of Robyn’s Online World. I can’t thank her ENOUGH for that one (and Gate Guru – another MUST have if you fly often). Gate Guru will give you a map of the BEST seats on just about EVERY airplane, as well as let you know what amenities are available.
- The earlier you book the better, BUT you also DON’T want to have to pay top dollar. So seek out the sales or last minute flights and check back a day or two before each flight to see if anything has changed. If you don’t have the time to keep going online, set up a Seat Alert on ExpertFlyer.com (the first alert is free).
- Unless you’re flying Southwest (in which case you won’t have an assigned seat) WAIT to check-in until just a few hours before your flight. Seats open up at the last minute (connecting flights may be delayed or cancelled) and you just might be able to score that aisle or window seat that you want.
- ASK! My friend Jerri Ann Reason (Mom-e-Centric) brings candy to the people working the gate when she asks if there are any upgrades available. If you are a frequent flyer with that particular airline you stand a much better chance of getting to first class, but it never hurts to ASK. Be NICE, be PROFESSIONAL, and a little candy never hurts.
- BE LOYAL. I try to fly the same airline over and over again in order to get points and STATUS. The more you fly, the more status you have and you’ll be the FIRST in line to get that cushy first class seat with a full meal if you ask.
- If all else fails you can pay the $16 or $35 to get a better seat. Better yet, if you have a Y booking in coach you’ll automatically get put into first class if there’s an availability.
Adam Sommer @ Visit Flyover Country says
Being loyal to one airline is a point I’ve learned myself. Executive Plat on American, I always get upgraded when flying for personal reasons (for work, we are always in first/business anyway). The AA employees really pay a lot more attention to me as a EPLAT member.
One you didn’t mention but has helped me a lot, is some of the special credit cards offered. Amex Platnium or MasterCard/Citi’s new AA executive cards….both offer prviate & dedicated call center staff that really do whatever you ask….and always get it. Really nice feature of those cards.