When life hands you an economy seat, grab your phone. There’s an app which can turn the economy cabin into a fully flat bed- or at the very least, a nicer window seat. Offering up to the minute seat maps and free notifications, you can maneuver your way to a delightful economy experience, all the way up to final boarding. Here’s how…

App Your Way To Flying Expert

As you might have guessed, ExpertFlyer is your go to- handy app in this situation. The free tool allows users to view up to the moment seating charts and better yet, allows users to set alerts for when and if their ideal seat pops up. But it gets better…

Play Musical Chairs

A smart flyer (which you clearly are) sees the cabin as a game of musical chairs. If the best seat in the house is available immediately- book it. If not, get the next best available seat- and set free alerts on ExpertFlyer for any and all the seats you’d prefer. By doing so, you can keep improving up until final boarding.

Score A Whole Entire Row

Once everyone else has settled their fate, you can often stand in the boarding line with your app open seeing if final seating assignments have created any opportunities- like an entire row to yourself. It really does happen. In fact last night, in the Catch Me If You Can challenge, someone found me and I gave up my seat in business class. BUT- I found an entire row to myself and still had a “flat bed”.

Hot Tips

Ok- ExpertFlyer app, check. But it’s all about execution. Figuring out the best seats on your flight is an early key. Use SeatGuru to get feedback on each plane. Next, make sure to set alerts. You can select things like “any seat”, “any free (not paid) seat”, “any free window seat”. By doing this you’ll at the very least have a pleasant flight. But take it that step further by watching the seat map after check in is completed. There’s nothing wrong with asking the gate agent if it’s possible to move to (insert seat number) just before boarding, or even perhaps during. And don’t forget, some airlines will even sell you a row

Have you used this trick?

Featured image courtesy of Air New Zealand

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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41 Comments

  1. Great tip that sounds sensible however I’ve found that the seat maps become inaccessible around t-24 when the flight gets handed over to airport control. I’m sure this has been the case with BA for me in the past so surprised that you were able to access it right up until boarding. Is there something I’m missing? Thanks

  2. When searching for the best seats on a plane Seat Guru is awesome but don’t simply look at the color-coded ratings. Read the passenger comments. The information contained in them is often far more helpful than the color-coded ratings alone.

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