Airline Travel – Choosing Your Seats on the Plane

Seating Arrangements on a 777 Plane

My husband and I just got back from a trip to Europe with our two kids. We flew with American Airlines. I haven’t flown for awhile, so I was surprised to find that almost the whole ticketing process was done electronically or by phone.

When we ordered them (by phone) we were told we wouldn’t receive actual tickets. Instead we were given a number that we could use to access our flight information online. When we got to the airline, we would need that number, plus our passports.

Fortunately, my mother-in-law warned us to go online as quickly as possible to choose our seats. She told us about a great site called where you can put in the model of the plane and it will tell you which are good seats.

When I went to the American Airlines site to check out our seats, I found that they had put us in some of the worst: in one of the last rows on the plane near the bathrooms. Don’t choose those seats! (I had them once a long time ago and they were noisy and smelly.) I changed our seats. The new ones put us in two rows, one in front of the other, next to the window. We wanted both of our kids to have window seats for the view. It was a thrill for them! I chose similar seats for the flight back.

About two weeks before our trip I was notified that our flight back was canceled and we were switched to an earlier flight on the same day. I rushed to the American Airlines site to check our new seats. They had the four of us scattered in different seats around the plane. There weren’t many choices for seats left. I was able to get three of us together in the center aisle in the middle 3 seats, and the other seat in the middle of the center aisle about 5 rows further up. This wasn’t a great situation since we wanted to keep our family together on the flight.

I mentioned the problem to a neighbor of ours who’s also a stewardess. She told us to try to get on the aisle for the one seat that was separate from the others. People will be much more willing to trade aisle seats with you.

That’s what we did, and in the end, someone was willing to exchange with us, so we could sit near each other.

The lesson here is:

1) Go online early, to check your seats and pick better ones if they’re available.

2) Avoid the seats near the bathrooms.

3) If you want to trade seats with someone else on a plane, try to get a ticket with an aisle seat. You’ll have a better chance that the other person will be willing to change seats with you.

Most importantly: Bon voyage!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Thursday, April 3rd, 2008 at 5:10 pm and is filed under Mama Lisa, Plane Seats, Plane Tickets, Traveling. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “Airline Travel – Choosing Your Seats on the Plane”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Douglas wrote me:

    I think the best seats on an airplane are the door escape seats, as they have the most leg room (I’m 6’1″) and while the rear seats are noisy and smelly, statistically they are the safest.
    best wishes

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