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Get a Better Seat On Your Next Flight

There’s an easier way to get a better seat on your next flight, and it’s way more obvious than you thought.

Perhaps you’re in a seat in the very back of the plane, acquire a middle seat in the middle of the plane, or, better yet, you’re sitting in a seat right by the bathroom. Below is my key way to get a better seat on any flight.

Take a look at the upgrade list this flight the other day from Chicago to Washington Reagan.  4 people cleared the upgrade, including myself.

upgrade list better seat on plane

It’s a safe bet that the top 4 people on this list were in very covetable seats. Most likely, they’re either Concierge Key or Executive Platinums, and they had desirable Main Cabin Extra Seats, or an exit row aisle seat, like me.

As soon as they get upgraded, suddenly their original economy seats are vacated, and that’s when you swoop in. This is key to get a better seat on your next flight.

When I knew I wouldn’t clear an upgrade, I’ve asked the gate agent what seat the #1 person on the list was in. This way, she could swap me in when their upgrade cleared. It’s worked almost every time. When they’ve got standby passengers, and they’re filling the aircraft, they’re going to put them in any remaining seat, including the good ones. If you’re in a seat that you’re not pleased with, ask the agent if you can be moved to one of the now vacated seats. A lot of the time, they’re able to do it with no charge. You barely have to do anything, and you get a more desirable seat to make your flight more comfortable. Try it out! 

Jamie Larounis, The Forward Cabin | April 26, 2017

Jamie Larounis is an avid traveler, blogger and miles/points educator. Traveling well over 100,000 miles a year and staying in hotels for over 100 nights, he leverages miles, points and other deals to fly in first class cabins, and stay in 5-star hotels. His blog, The Forward Cabin, shares his experiences, musings, reviews, tips, tricks, resources and industry news with you, the fellow traveler. Today, in addition to writing The Forward Cabin, Jamie also supports the Frequent Traveler University, a Frequent Traveler Education Foundation project, as a member of their organizing staff where he’s spoken in-depth on the loyalty programs and operations of Amtrak and American Airlines. You’ll also find Jamie as an expert award trip booker with Award Magic, helping clients to redeem frequent flyer miles across a wide variety of reward programs and airlines. Among several media spotlights, he’s spoken at the New York Times Travel Show, written for InsideFlyer, Road Warrior Voices/USA Today,, the official content platform for the Travel and Adventure Shows, and makes regular guest appearances as a featured expert discussing the travel industry on FOX News. 

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