With my long legs, I’d heard about the virtues of booking exit-row seats on planes, but had never gotten around to trying it — probably because they’re in high demand and get booked early, and some airlines now charge a premium for such seats.
But I booked early for a recent trip to England, and the carrier, Icelandair, didn’t charge extra for those seats with many extra inches of knee-room. Ahhh, the luxury of not having to poke my kneecaps into the seatback in front of me for hours on end!
Beyond that discovery, however, it was the first time I’d used a nifty website, www.seatguru.com — a sister site of popular TripAdvisor — to select my seat. You can plug in your airline and flight number and it shows a detailed seat map of the plane you’ll be on and gives easy-to-understand, color-coded recommendations for “good seat,” “poor seat,” etc. Roll your cursor over a seat number and a pop-up window gives details, including information on lavatory location, whether you have power ports, etc. A similar site is www.seatexpert.com.
For long overseas flights, it’s worth the extra step before booking.
Information in this article, originally published Jan. 18, 2013, was corrected Jan. 23, 2013. A previous version of this article stated that Alaska Airlines charges extra for premium seats such as exit rows. Actually, Alaska restricts early booking of such seats to its MVP and MVP Gold (high-mileage) members, then opens them to other passengers at no extra charge if still available within 24 hours of departure.