Air Travel FAQ
1. How Do I Get an Aisle / Window Seat?
This happens all the time! Your best bet is to check in online exactly 24hrs in advance when online check-in opens for flights - you can change your seats at that time.
In my current position as a gate agent, I am often changing seats at the airport as well (numerous times a day) to accommodate passengers. So if you cannot secure aisle seats, get to the gate a good hour before the departure so that the minute the gate agent arrives you can approach the agent and be in line for aisle seats before anyone else.
The aisle seats are often prebooked by the top tier frequent flyers of an airline (usually they don't have fees to contend with because of the volume of flights they take, and they get access to more of the premium seats).
As a last resort - if you can't secure 2 aisle seats, but can get one let's say, then take the one and make sure the other is a window seat as far forward as possible which could give you more leverage for trading on board (there are almost always as many people vying for a window seat instead of an aisle seat). Or 2 aisle seats far apart, offer to trade the one that is farther forward with someone. You may/may not have time to do this before takeoff but once the plane is at cruising altitude this can be quite easily done.
Advanced seating usually only comprises 70-80% of seats on board, and more seats become available once online check-in is open 24hrs before a flight - so definitely check-in online if possible and then go down my list above if the seating you prefer is not secured.
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