Protip: How to get the last seat with extra legroom

I’m traveling to Houston for work now, which means longer flights and (hopefully) more time to update the blog!

One of the best improvements to air travel in recent years has been the addition and expansion of subsections of economy containing seats with extra legroom. Generally frequent flyers can select these seats at no charge, so these are the first seats to fill up on heavy business-travel days.Since I’ve had to book several flights in the last few weeks shortly before taking them, my seat options have been less than stellar; in some cases, I was told that I couldn’t select a seat in advance and that I would have to wait for the airport.

One of the last things that the gate agents do before they start boarding is clear upgrades. Generally the people getting upgraded have high frequent-flyer status, which allows them to pick the best seats in coach (read: seats with extra legroom) for free. When those flyers are pulled into the forward cabin, their seat becomes available. What happens with this available seat? The gate agent will generally either give it to someone who doesn’t have a seat assignment or pull someone from the standby list and give them that seat.

If you’re interested in snagging one of the best seats as it opens up, simple approach the gate agent and ask politely if s/he can put you into a seat with extra legroom, if one opens up when passengers are upgraded to first class. I did this on my last flight home. Minutes before boarding, the gate agent called me up and handed me a boarding pass; my extra four inches of legroom had been secured. 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone! I’m experiencing a different type of travel this weekend… heading to a cabin in the woods for a weekend of board games with friends.

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2 thoughts on “Protip: How to get the last seat with extra legroom

    • Yikes! I’ve gotten relatively few upgrades as a platinum on Delta, but I have cleared all but once on American an Exec Plat… I wonder which will be my preferred airline in 2015…

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