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FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 3/4 [Monthly posting]
Section - [3-9b] Best Seats

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   Seat assignment on most airlines starts 3 weeks in advance of the
flight (some are 30 days). No seat assignments on Southwest and
shuttle flights. Northwest allows advance seat selection 30 days prior
to the flight. Continental and Delta allow seat selection 60 days
prior to the date of the flight.

  After midnight is the best time to get the seat assignments you
prefer, since unpaid reservations are often cancelled just after midnight.

   The safest seats in a plane are often over the wings in the exit
row (extra reinforcement). Exit row seats also provide more leg room.
But you must be physically capable of operating the emergency exit
(e.g., capable of lifting 40 to 50 pounds) and read/speak English
fluently. Children under age 15 and blind/disabled passengers cannot
sit in an exit row.  However, you can't reserve these seats, as the
airline personnel want to see the people they assign to these rows to
verify that they are physically able to open the emergency exit should
the occasion arise.  If you want a seat in the exit row, get to the
airport early on the day of the flight, and request an exit row seat.
Note that some of the exit row seats on some aircraft (e.g., MD-80 row
21 window seats) do not recline.

Aisle seats are better than window seats because:
   1.  You can get up and move around without having to climb over
       other people. On long flights you can get up for a stroll or to
       go to the bathroom without much of a bother.
   2.  There is more legroom (window seats aren't as wide, because
       they must fit into the curve of the plane).
   3.  You'll get off the plane faster, and have easy access to the
       overhead compartments.
   4.  You'll get a better view of the movie. (Depends on the
       aircraft, of course.)
   5.  You can chat with the flight attendants.
Window seats are better than aisle seats because:
   1.  You have a view, when it isn't cloudy. But the view may be
       limited to takeoff and landing, depending on the weather.
   2.  You've got something to lean against to sleep.
   3.  People don't elbow you, swing handbags/coats into your face, or
       spill drinks on you, like they do in aisle seats.
   4.  Other people don't have to climb over you.
Few people like middle seats because they have none of the benefits of
the window and aisle seats, and you get squooshed by passengers on
both sides (no elbow room).

Seats near the center and rear tend to have the greatest engine noise.
Seats near the rear are also the most sensitive to turbulence.  If you
don't like the noise and a bumpy ride, try to get seats as far forward
as possible.  On international flights, the seats closest to the
galleys are usually the quietest (except at meal times) because there
is no middle row.

If you're going to watch the movie, get a seat 4-5 rows away from the
screen, to avoid getting a neck cramp.

If you're lucky enough to have a row of seats to yourself, the
armrests on many planes swing up, giving you room to sleep.  It's also
handy to swing them up while getting into and out of the seats, if
you're not in the aisle seat.

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Top Document: FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 3/4 [Monthly posting]
Previous Document: [3-9] Tips for Business Travelers
Next Document: [3-10] Exchanging Currency

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM