How do you get desirable seats?

Old Jan 31st, 2002, 12:23 PM
  #1  
Marie
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How do you get desirable seats?

My husband (who is a pretty tall guy) and I are planning a trip to Europe this Spring. I'm planning on purchasing our tickets on the Internet (using one of the budget travel sites), and getting the tickets mailed to me. <BR><BR>Can anyone recommend the best way for us to secure seats that are known to have more leg room? I'm thinking maybe the bulkhead rows, emergency exit rows, aisle seats, etc. Unfortunately, we can't afford first class or business class. <BR><BR>If we buy our tickets online, can we call the airline to request seats or are they not assigned until you check in at the airport? <BR><BR>As you may be able to tell, I'm not a seasoned traveler. I'd appreciate any suggestions.<BR>
 
Old Jan 31st, 2002, 12:39 PM
  #2  
xxx
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Yes, you can call the airline and get your seats ahead of time. They generally reserve the best seats (even in coach) for their best frequent fliers. If you are not a member of the FF program of the airline, join before you go even if you don't think you'll ever fly them again.<BR><BR>Look on the airline's web site to see if they have seat maps. You could also visit www.flyertalk.com to see if there is info there on best seats. You can also call the airline and ask their advice on the best seats. If you get someone who isn't helpful, politely hang up and try again. Finally, you can check in extra early and ask (both at the ticket counter and at the gate) for seats with extra leg room. Don't plan on getting upgraded to business or first doing this and you won't be disappointed.<BR><BR>Keep in mind that even if you get a great seat, a last minute change in aircraft make this all for naught.
 
Old Jan 31st, 2002, 01:57 PM
  #3  
Penny
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Bulkhead and exit rows generally have the best leg room. Exit row though on most a/l's can not be assigned until you check in. AA has the most room in coach travel as they have removed seats in virtually every plane to make that room. You would be surprised how much difference a few inches can make.
 
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 03:37 PM
  #4  
JAY
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AIRLINES RESERVE A NUMBER OF SEATS FOR FF. THE SEATS WITH MOST ROOM ARE AFTER FIRST OR BIZ CLASS, ABOUT 5-10 ROWS AFTER. TRY FOR A EXIT DOOR CAN HAVE TWICE AS MUCH ROOM
 
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 06:36 PM
  #5  
Statia
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I also have a rather tall husband and we fly frequently. Our experience with American (our hub airline) has been to check in early. We have usually been told that bulkhead and emergency exit seating is on a first come, first serve basis and can't be reserved ahead of time.<BR><BR>We check in early and ask for these two rows and most of the time get them with no problem. I will say this....American tends to like to give emergency exit rows to people who "look" like they can handle the exit door if need be. In other words, I don't get it unless I'm with my husband (I'm petite, he's tall).<BR><BR>Another thing to keep in mind is that exit rows don't always have reclining seats. Also, bulkhead seats don't allow you to stow carry-ons under the seat in front of you (there isn't one). So, be sure to grab that overhead bin space while you can.<BR><BR>Good luck!<BR><BR>
 
Old Jul 4th, 2002, 01:48 AM
  #6  
Vic
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AA has the most legroom by far in coach for regular customers. BA, Continental has 31 inch pitch in coach, AA has 34 to 35 in all coach seats. The difference is remarkable especially on a long flight.<BR><BR>If you pay full coach fare, or you're one of UA's best customers they have 36 inch pitch reserved for them. The rest of coach where the peasants sit in 29. It's the most uncomfortable experience you'll ever have.<BR><BR>So unless you're a very frequent flyer, scratch UA off your list. AA is the best.<BR><BR>Orbitz will assign seats based on your preference. However, you're free to call the airline from time to time to see if you can improve your position.
 
Old Jul 12th, 2002, 08:09 PM
  #7  
dana g
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<BR>Forget exit rows in advance. The FAA has strict rules on who can be pre-assigned exit rows, and one of the exemptions they have given the airlines is for airline's upper elite ( Platinum or higher ) to be preassigned. The assumption is that they are over 15, physically fit. The rest are done at the airport on day of departure.<BR><BR>We are not allowed to give exit row seats to other people in advance except in very limited circumstances. And it just got stricter a month or two ago. <BR><BR>AA offers 1 - 2 extra inches of leg room in coach. UA offers 5 extra inches in Economy Plus, but it takes a higher fare for that, or Premier status.<BR><BR>Good Luck!
 
Old Jul 13th, 2002, 02:42 AM
  #8  
Vic
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Dana raises a good point. If the airline doesn't assign exit rows until the day of departure, you'll have a better chance if you get to the airport early.<BR><BR>Many airlines assign priveleged seating in coach starting from the front of coach section. The privelege often reaches back to the exit rows, so you'll have no chance of sitting there unless you have premium status or pay full coach. Before you buy your tickets you can call the airline and deterine their policy.<BR><BR>The one airline you can be sure of that puts the unanointed at a disadvantage is United. The unwashed sit in the back and are assigned incredibly tight seats.
 
Old Jul 13th, 2002, 04:33 AM
  #9  
Doc
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Contrary to the above information, on Delta at least you do not have to be upper elite to get poreassigned to an exit row. I am only at the first level of Medallion and was advance assigned exit row about 3 months in advance on both directions of Florida/JFK flights. Maybe they have a switch in their records to indicate whether a Medallion level is or has been willing to take an exit row...
 
Old Jul 13th, 2002, 04:49 AM
  #10  
Will
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The other problem with the airlines is that they try to keep the middle seats empty in the annointed section. So the back can get very crowded while the front of coach remains blishfully empty.
 
Old Jul 17th, 2002, 09:12 AM
  #11  
wondering
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Statia - <BR><BR>What does one's height have to do with whether or not one can "handle" the exit door?
 
Old Jul 17th, 2002, 11:09 AM
  #12  
Statia
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Wondering:<BR><BR>I don't think that height necessarily has anything to do with it. I have been told at the check-in counter that they reserve emergency exit seating for those passengers who "look" like they could handle the door in an emergency (it's not a lightweight door, by any means).<BR><BR>In other words, they aren't going to put small women, teen-agers or eldery persons in that position, which I suppose I understand for safety concerns.<BR><BR>I just know that I have no problem getting an exit aisle when my tall, and very broad husband is with me, but they tend not to give it up when I'm traveling alone.<BR><BR>I think it all boils down to WHO is working check-in at that point, and whether or not they feel you can handle the door if need be.<BR>
 
Old Jul 17th, 2002, 02:38 PM
  #13  
Xxx
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Statia - <BR><BR>Petite hardly means helpless - especially in this day and age. Look at the likes of Madonna, Jennifer Aniston and Sara Jessica Parker. They all look like they're a size 4 or under, but very toned. I'm sure they could quite capably handle the exit door. Woman with muscles (not the bodybuilder type) are considered sexy these days.
 
Old Jul 18th, 2002, 03:52 AM
  #14  
Statia
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XXX:<BR><BR>I fully agree with you. I never SAID that someone petite couldn't handle the door, now did I?<BR><BR>I'm not the one who made the airline rules. I workout myself and could probably handle the door just fine, but I'm SIMPLY relating what my experience has been in trying to get the best seats.<BR><BR>
 
Old Jul 18th, 2002, 03:57 AM
  #15  
Statia
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I suppose I should clarify.<BR><BR>The airlines reserve the emergency seating for those persons who look like they could handle the door with no problem. I'm sure that many "petite" airline employees would agree that smaller folks could handle the door just as well as any NFL player. However, they reserve the emergency seating for more adept looking people in an effort to cover their own butts in the case of an emergency and the person seated there could NOT open the door.<BR><BR>Make more sense? As I said before, I didn't make the rules. I'm just relaying exactly what I've been told by agents at check-in gates.<BR>
 
Old Jul 18th, 2002, 04:15 AM
  #16  
Sure
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How did I know Statia was going to say "I work out"? People on this board are SO predictable. Someone points out that her need to tell everyone how petite she is actually made her sound frail and helpless, and she backtracks immediately.<BR><BR>Maybe the problem is that she DOES look a little helpless - much more so than other women her size - and this is why they avoid putting her in the exit row.
 
Old Jul 18th, 2002, 06:20 AM
  #17  
Mark
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Get real. They don't put "petite" or short people, particularly women who seem not to be frequent/business passengers in the rows with extra leg room because they are saving them for tall, male business passengers. Has almost nothing to do with someone's ability to open an exit door in an emergency.
 
Old Jul 18th, 2002, 08:22 AM
  #18  
The
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How to get a desirable seat or maybe even an upgrade?<BR>If you are a good looking young lady, get behind the counter and get on your knees if the ticket agent is a male.<BR>If you are a male - well just pay for it!!
 
Old Jul 21st, 2002, 10:36 AM
  #19  
linda
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the type of person check -in clerks look for when assigning emergency exit seats are those who look like they could prevent someone from opening the door in a state of panic(usually a large male .)
 
Old Jul 22nd, 2002, 07:35 PM
  #20  
Belinda
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Nonsense, Linda. Mark and others are right -- it's just whom they want to make comfortable who wouldn't be completely incompetent to handle the door (e.g., someone on crutches or a child).<BR><BR>Re: getting upgraded to 1st/bus. class -- Quote from friend who's a gate agent: "no one in shorts or jeans gets the upgrades if there's someone dressed for business."
 

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