Last month I was travelling to Los Angeles from Europe and I really asked myself, why should I force myself twelve hours into a small uncomfortable seat in between of two snoring, ugly-smelling fat guys, not being able to stand up, and then pay $1,200 for the airfare? I am travelling a lot in my life so I made up my mind how to make the travel experience just a little bit more comfortable in your life.
1) Be A Seat Guru
The cheapest and most intelligent way to get a good seat is to know before all others where you sit and why. There’s lots of websites on the internet such as
where you can evaluate all seats according to their comfort. There’s green, yellow and red seats, where the green ones are exceptionally good and offer things like more leg room and increased space. You should avoid the red ones as they can easily be more narrow, have a backrest that cannot be reclined or are near the toilet.
As every airline has its special seat allocation, all major airlines’ airplanes are listed. If you know beforehand which are the “good” seats you have an edge at check-in if you come early enough. It also makes sense to use web check-in to be the first one to select your seat. But beware that in many airlines, you cannot check yourself on an emergency exit seat due to legal regulations, so you should ask for these seats early at the check-in counter or have your travel agent reserve this seat for you.
I have travelled many times with a pre-selected good seat and it comes close to business class!
2) Get A Frequent Traveller Card
All major airlines today are member of an alliance, be it Star Alliance or SkyTeam. Alliances offer their passengers not only more flight connection but also customer loyalty programs, the so-called Airline Miles. Major programs include American’s AAdvantage or Lufthansa’s Miles & More. These programs not only allow you to collect miles you can exchange for free flights but also issue Frequent Traveller cards to their passengers flying a certain amount of miles per year. You definitively want to get such a card as airlines will treat you like a king. You can get free upgrades and have lounge access and many more. Try to fly within the same alliance as your flights will be worth more in the end when you get their Gold Card.
3) Get A Seat Near The Flight Attendants
If you can not get a “green” seat, you can try to get a seat near or opposite the flight attendants. They will head off as soon as the airplane takes off and you have more space then. Plus, it’s a great chance to flirt with all the hot stewardesses during take-off and landing and makes the flight so much more enjoyable. People tend to sit in their chair and looking in the air, so a nice chat is always appreciated.
4) Ask For Upgrades!
I should maybe not have put this up here as it’s against my own interests, but I’m completely serious about that. Everybody can ask for a free upgrade into business class, and when the plane is nearly full there’s a big chance you will get one! So how does this work? Here’s the secret: At check-in, ask whether this flight is full. If the flight is full or nearly full, chances are high that economy class is overbooked and they transfer some passengers to business or even first. You want to be that passenger that is transferred, so as soon as you arrive at the gate you ask for the possibility for an upgrade. Be very polite and friendly, and put up your best face. If they have the need to upgrade someone, it will be you in most cases so you can enjoy all the benefits of business class with great food and comfortable seating!