CFR Traveller Tips vol. II

Welcome to the second installment of CFR Traveller Tips. This is put together – at least the draft of it – in seat 42D on BA59 from LHR to CPT. A flight you can read the review of here, if you wish.

Only one item on the agenda today – but the one that inspiration from Real Life On Planes™ calls for:

  1. Tips for picking a tolerable seat

Seat choices – something between and art and a science. Referring back to the first article, checking in early will give you the widest amount of options and, in combination with a seat information website, can allow you to make some educated guesses. Here’s a handful of assorted tips that you can pick and choose from according to your own preferences:

  • If the airline allows, exit row seats and bulkhead seats (those at the start of a section) typically offers most legroom. But do crosscheck with information available for the plane type as there can be other drawbacks – for instance, some exit row seats do not decline. (For the record, the best seat I ever had was in row 77 on a KLM flight from the US to Europe – a business class exit row seat on the upper floor of a 747. To illustrate the leg space let me just say that I had to walk to the seat pocket in front of me… But that is a once in a lot kind of experience to economy seat choices as is the topic here…)
  • “Premium space” seats may actually be available well in advance against a fee. Whether or not this option is for you will depend on your wallet and/or your company’s travel (cost) policy, but if you’re in for it, do jump in as soon as you have booked your ticket.
  • I’m generally an aisle type guy. The exception is that I may pick a window seat on a long-distance flight where I want to sleep as it can be nice to have the wall to lean against – but then, probably only if the plane configuration is 2-4-2 as getting out across two neighbour passengers is a little too much of a hassle for everyone involved.
  • As for picking an aisle seat, I tend to prefer the middle block if the plane has a 3-4-3 configuration such as the 747 economy shown here (from Basically for the same reason as above – there will only be one passenger who should have to pass you to get out.
  • Some airlines allow you to change seating even after original checkin, (maybe) especially if you have an electronic/mobile boarding pass or haven’t yet chosen to print the paper one. If you can get away with that, take the opportunity to jump in and look for another seat of the type you like (in my most recent case, middle-block aisle on a BA 747). And look for seats with empty seats next to it. This way, I flew to Cape Town with only the two aisle seats taken and as the guy at the other end (G) only used the F row table and not the seat, I could fold up the armrests and enjoy quite a lot of space. The change from 29C to 42D thus was a good one – though many people seem to dislike moving to the back of the plane. Some even luckier guy further back got a whole row to himself – that’s the economy version of a business class lie flat sleeper 🙂

That’s it for this time – hope it helps you some day and remember to fly safely!

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