Get An Empty Seat Next To You On Your Next Flight By Booking The Window And Aisle Seat

Get An Empty Seat Next To You On Your Next Flight By Booking The Window And Aisle Seat

Getting a good seat on a flight is awesome, but getting one with no one sitting next to you is even better. If you’re lucky enough to be on a flight that isn’t filled to the brim, here’s a trick that’ll increase the possibility of having an empty seat next to you.

If you’re booking tickets with a friend or family member, you probably look for two seats together, but a better strategy is to book an aisle and a window seat in the same row. People don’t like to sit in the middle, so that will probably be one of the last seats booked — meaning if the flight isn’t full, you have a chance of having an empty seat next to you, with room to stretch out a bit. And, if someone does book that middle seat, they’d be more than happy to trade with you so you can sit next to your travel buddy (since, again, no one wants to sit in the middle).

If you’re travelling by yourself, you can still use this strategy by booking a seat in a row where either the aisle or window seat is already taken, but the middle is not. Don’t choose one in an empty row, or the other two seats might be booked by a couple travelling together. Again, it doesn’t work every time, but on the rare occasion that flight doesn’t fill up, you can relax in a bit of extra space.

LTP: If You Can Book Seats on a Plane, and You are a Couple, Book the Aisle and the Window [Reddit]


  • This is very unlikely to work in Australia because load factors on domestic flights are incredibly high, especially on the trunk routes. If you want to sit next to someone then book seats next to each other.

    Posting articles from America without checking whether they even apply to Australia is lame.

    • I found it useful – a friend and I did that for international flights from Australia and we got an empty seat between us each time. This doesn’t only apply to domestic flights.

    • Living in Canberra with family in BRisbane, I’d say about half my flights see me sitting with a spare seat next to me. Not that I intentionally aim to use this method, but the planes very frequently have quite a few seats free.

      In fact the other day I missed a flight so I rebooked for a later one that supposedly had only 3 seats free. Once I got on there there was a heck of a lot more actually free. Perhaps politicians and public servants having seats book in case and not using them, I don’t know. None the less, on the Canberra routes the planes often aren’t packed.

  • ButFli, you cannot completely rule out this method. I have been on a few domestic flights between Sydney and Melbourne/Adelaide/Brisbane and have always consecutive found empty seats. I could only imagine that domestic flights in America would be far more crowded than our own.

    Whitson even states that this is a rare occasion on the last line of the article.

  • “they will be more than happy to trade with you” that is quite an expectation. if any of the cabin crew see you swapping seats you will be moved back again.

    • Havers! They won’t do that unless you try during taxiing or take off. If they do try this at any other time then they must be in one hell of a bad mood, you’ve done something to piss them off or they just don’t like the look of you.

      • They might not make you change back, but they’ll tell you off. You’re meant to let staff know before you change seats, so that when the plane goes down in a firey crash landing they can identify your charred remains based on the seat you were sitting in.

  • I was on a Virgin flight, and had a whole row free – So in 6 seats, I was the only one.
    The plane was ready to leave, but waiting on two people, yep, right next to me.

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