There is flying, and then there is flying like a pro. Millions of people each year plan an exotic vacation to Mexico or the Caribbean, only to have it sullied by an abominable flying experience. Get the most bang for your airline ticket buck, and follow a few simple guidelines when planning the next flight. The previous article in this series outlined a couple rules of thumb when it came to good and bad seating on a plane. Sitting in front of the engines will be more quiet, while the opposite is true when sitting in back of the engines (plus its more bumpy). The exit row has lots of leg-room, but it is also more noisy and people are often entering the aisle to access toilets.
Now we all know the middle seat is the least desirable, especially if the row is five seats deep. There is less room, less privacy and one has to climb over two other people to get out to the bathroom. If the flight is relatively short, then sitting in the middle may not be an issue. However if the destination is the beautiful Cancun, Jamaica or even further, then sitting in the middle will be far more uncomfortable.
If your plan is to sleep for most of the flight, try an aisle position or of course the coveted window seat. Aisle seats are great if you know you will be getting up to move around or use the toilet a lot, but remember there will be additional moving for your neighbors. Also be careful of bumps and knocks from meal or drink carts, and other passengers.
Although airlines do not recommend this practice, it is possible to simulate the comfort of first class in economy. If there appears to be rows of empty seats after everyone has boarded, try to find out if you can use the seats as a bed. Simply raise the armrests and lie down for a snooze! If you end up trying to nap in your seat, be sure to strap your seatbelt over top of the blanket. Then when the flight attendants come around, they will not need to wake you to check for seatbelts.
Keep in mind, the flight attendants are there to help make the flight a relaxing experience. If your neighbor is ill or takes up far more room than they should, or if the electronics in the seat don’t work, tell the flight attendant right away and they may be able to get you a new seat. On the other hand, when traveling with a lot of other people you do not know, there is a certain amount of understanding and tolerance that must take place. Don’t be overly picky, but know your limits as well.
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