Get the best seat on a plane

Secure the best seat on a plane, ensuring a spare seat beside you.

An avid jet-setter, Drew shares his tips on how to secure the best seat on a plane, ensuring a spare seat beside you.

I am a fairly large guy and while I do not infringe on the person seated beside me when travelling by plane, I do find flying very uncomfortable and using my computer is impossible without a spare seat beside me. 

How to ‘beat the system’

24-hours before any flight, you will receive an email reminder from the airline allowing you to check-in online. I wait an additional 30 minutes for passengers to start booking seats before checking myself in on the system.

During this process you are asked to select a seat. Predictably, the front half of the plane is taken up by the early bookers and the back half will have a minimal number of scattered bookings. Depending on the length of the flight, I will select either an aisle seat (short flight duration) or window seat (long flight duration) located in the back three rows of the plane. Let’s assume for this example that I want to book an aisle seat.  

This is the stage where my trick comes into play. Scroll to the very back of the plane and find a row (preferably the very back row) which already has a passenger booked in the window seat with the middle seat free. Book yourself the aisle seat in that row leaving only the middle seat free. The final step is to cross your fingers when boarding.

While sometimes it is simply unavoidable (sold out flights) that you will end up with a passenger in the middle, my system has held up in eight of my last nine flights, including a flight with a total of three unsold seats last week!

An additional bonus to booking up the back of the plane is that if you are unlucky enough to be involved in a plane crash, there is a significantly higher chance of survival being seated at the back of the plane.

Do you have a system when booking flights?


    To make a comment, please register or login
    18th Dec 2013
    If you book the back seats, won't the choice of menu run out? Or run out altogether?
    18th Dec 2013
    Yep, that's. The last flight we were on, there was a choice for dinner, until they reached us, then it was leftovers,no longer a choice. The only advantage on a rear seat on a long flight is that you get two seats in the space that would otherwise be taken up by 3, which means you have room to put a bag of anything between the seat and the wall of the cabin, and there is just the two of you, and you don't have to concern yourself over who is having the window seat, it has already been decided for you :0
    18th Dec 2013
    The back part of the aeroplane generally gets more engine noise and the back rows are usually near toilets or galleys frequented by passengers and crew.
    30th Jan 2017
    And the toilets start to smell by the end of a very long haul flight
    18th Dec 2013
    Thanks Drew. I have followed this advice successfully on my last 4 flights. Wonder who Poppsy flies with to get a choice of menu or where food runs out. If you order a special dietary requirement, such as vegetarian, online when you book your seat, your food will usually come out first. Although a committed carnivore, I think it pays to go vegetarian on flights as it saves you from those anonymous meat rissoles and curries. Never suffered from extra aisle congestion as suggested by Profiteer but my flights haven't been long haul. If you are booked at the back, make sure you are first on and once landed, make yourself comfy and be content to be last off otherwise you will suffer from aisle congestion.
    18th Dec 2013
    Who do you fly with Clair? I have always had a choice on international flight From Emirates to Dubai, or Virgin Australia to Seattle, etc. If you want a choice that doesn't run out, take an international with Emirates in Business class, then you will see what flying is.You will actually look forward the the long haul ! If you have super, dip into it, that's what it's there for!
    18th Dec 2013
    Eclair, I usually fly with Emirates long haul. Wonder if there is a system for meals - that is - do they start from the front or the back. Every trip I found it is different. Of course I am talking about Economy. Business would be heaven for long hauls.

    Also for vegetarian meals, would you still get the side dishes with the main? I often thought about getting special meals.
    18th Dec 2013
    I have had two long haul flights with Emirates in economy and I was seated in row 40 something when it came for my meal guess what we never had a choice we all had left overs which we did not eat they were cold and looked rather tired!!!! The breakfast the next morning was no better. I did advise Emirates of this on my return but have had not response my next trip is not on Emirates.
    18th Dec 2013
    Similar to your system, but I usually fly with my husband. He likes a window seat, I prefer an aisle seat, so I book those seats online, leaving the middle seat empty. We very seldom get anyone in the seat between us.
    Young Simmo
    19th Dec 2013
    Come on Kaye and company, let's get away from some of these boring subjects and liven things up a bit.
    I think the mobile phone use in cars is a big beat up, easy source of income for the cops and only coarse a fraction of the claimed road deaths. I have been driving since 1957 and never had a prang. I continuously change radio channels from AM to FM and search while driving down the Highway at 110 Kph. Also spend quite a bit of time changing addresses and destinations on my GPS at 110 Kph going along the road. I am not saying these are good habits, just that they are nowhere near as serious as our money hungry Cops make out. I only use my Mobile for the for hour, so never take it in the car with me, but feel confident I would see the sun go down if I did happen to take it with me. OK come and get me or agree with me.
    19th Dec 2013
    why change the subject just to show what a wanker you are ? Cops are sick of dealing with the results of road trauma particularly when its avoidable. What could possibly be so important that you need to talk on the phone or worse, text during driving. You have been driving since 1957 so you aint no youngster and cant claim inexperience for your selfish attitude. No doubt you have had no prangs because good drivers have taken evasive action. Please publish alerts of your future driving itineraries so those of us who wish to stay safe can keep our distance.
    Young Simmo
    19th Dec 2013
    ozirules, speaking of WANKERS, go and have a look in a mirror, then reread my comments, and then comment on the facts. Your dribble is so boring. I repeat for your benefit, I only use my Mobile Phone for the free hour each day, and it never leaves the kitchen table. Have you got that young fella??????
    P.S. It might be a good idea to change your tag to, MENTAL_RULES.
    19th Dec 2013
    reread your comments....'mobile phone use in cars is a big beat up' etc....what part of your diatribe did I misunderstand? seem to advocate a number of distractions to driving as maybe not good habits but take aim at the cops for being money hungry.....I'm glad my dribble is so boring it warranted a response, at least we are discussing road safety which cant be a bad thing....MENTAL_RULES...good one...I like that, YOUNG DIMMO........
    Young Simmo
    19th Dec 2013
    Subject changed I win, YEEHAAAAAAAA.
    19th Dec 2013
    ya got me.....bugger
    Young Simmo
    20th Dec 2013
    Cheers ozirules, see ya tomorrow for round 2.

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