by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | April 01, 2004
Getting stuck with that middle seat on a long-haul flight is just one of the perils of flying economy. But even if first-class or business seating is out of budget reach, there still are ways to snag a good seat on a plane without paying extra for it. Insiders recommend the following strategies.
    1. Ask by number. Seating varies by type of aircraft and model. Instead of asking the check-in agent for a window or aisle, ask to see a seating chart of the plane and then request a specific seat, say the online travel experts at
   2. Arrive early. According to Consumer Reports (, airlines typically hold 15 percent of economy-class inventory for day-of-departure assignments. Get to the ticket counter early and you can swap that middle seat the company’s corporate travel agent assigned for a more comfortable location, like a bulkhead.
    3. When quiet is essential. Seats near or over the airplane’s engines will be noisier, as will those near the galley. At, flyers can click on the aircraft they are flying, select the model and take a virtual tour of the seating map. This shows which rows have the most leg room, the location of the plane’s engines and emergency door rows, among other features.
    4. Sit here. Seats near the lavatories are typically nonreclining, as are those in the last row of the airplane. Only have a carry-on and want to make a quick exit? Ask for a seat near the front of the plane.