Travel Experts Reveal The Best Ways To Ensure You’ll End Up Next To An Empty Seat On A Flight

How To Increase The Chance Of Being Next To An Empty Seat On A Plane


  • Nobody wants to sit next to a total stranger over the course of a flight—but there are some ways you can deter people from booking the seat next to you before you board the plane
  • Travel experts revealed the strategies to use to increase the odds of being next to an empty seat
  • Check out more travel tips here

It’s hard to believe that are many people out there who genuinely look forward to flying, as “enjoyable” is one of the last words that come to mind when it comes to describing what you’re typically forced to endure aboard a commercial airline.

There are certainly exceptions, but the misery usually kicks off as soon as boarding begins. That process marks the start of every traveler’s least favorite guessing game—Will There Be Someone Sitting Next To Me?—which frequently ends when you find out you’ll be spending the next few hours engaged in a passive-aggressive battle against a total stranger for armrest superiority.

There’s unfortunately only so much you can do when it comes to controlling your own fate. With that said, the experts over at Travel Codex have a few tricks up their sleeve when it comes to shifting the odds in your favor and increasing the chances you’ll end up next to an exit seat when the flight attendants close the door to the jetbridge.

It’s worth noting the tips in question are designed with international flights in mind, but after taking a look at them, it’s hard to imagine they won’t also come in handy if you’re keeping things domestic.

Here’s a quick look at some of the main things to keep in mind if you’re able to pick your seat when you book:

  1. Always take an aisle seat (for reasons that should be obvious if you’ve ever been on a plane). With that said, the window should be your fallback if there aren’t any available for reasons that will be obvious when you read the next piece of advice
  2. Try to keep the middle seat open. In a 3-3-3 seating configuration, choose a seat on the left or right, as people are less likely to pick in order to avoid having to climb over someone to get out. If you can book a flight on a plane with a 2-3-2 or 2-4-2 seating configuration, your chances are even better.
  3. Choose a seat near the back of the plane. Gate agents will generally move from the front to the back when assigning seats to those who don’t already have their seats preassigned.
  4. Choose a seat next to one empty seat as opposed to near a bunch of empty seats, as people traveling in groups will be looking for those large open areas leaving you vulnerable.

Again, there are still no guarantees any of this will work, but at least you can head to the airport knowing you did what you could.