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How To Get The Best Seats On The Plane As A Couple

by Meg · 8 comments

I drove Tony to the airport yesterday for a weekend Bachelor Party in Charleston, SC. As I was shipping him off, I realized that we haven’t traveled separately in over a year… I know, pathetic.

But what can I say? We love traveling together!

Air Travel Done Right - How To Book A Flight

Gettin’ the party started at 30,ooo feet!

After a year traveling the world together in 2012, we got A LOT of practice, and now make an excellent travel duo. Now I’m here to share with you our best travel hack for how to book a flight as a couple that will almost always guarantee you an awesome seating arrangement on an airplane.

Here goes:

If you are traveling as a couple, leverage the middle seats when you book your flight.

What do I mean by this?

When you book a flight as a solo traveler, you have the luxury of choosing your favorite seat on the plane. But as a traveling couple, if you want to sit together, usually one person is always stuck in the middle seat or the cramped window seat… I’m usually that person, as I like to give my tall husband the extra leg room of the aisle seat. :-)

Depending on the layout of your airplane, there are a few scenarios as a traveling couple that you can leverage to get the best seats on the plane. Here are some standard seating situations:

  • Seating arrangement #1: Aisle / Middle/ Aisle
  • Seating arrangement #2: Aisle / Middle/ Window
  • Seating arrangement #3 (mainly on international flights): Aisle / Middle / Middle / Aisle

Listen closely: If you are a traveling couple, book the Aisle / Aisle seats or the Aisle / Window seats and leave the middle seats open.

You may be asking, “but wont that mean I don’t get to sit with my partner?”

The short answer: No

Let’s face it, NO ONE LIKES THE MIDDLE SEATS. Fact. Unless you are booking tickets on a sold-out flight, no one is going to want to book the middle seat(s) in between you and your partner…

… So what happens when you board the plane?

No one will be sitting in the middle seat(s), and now you and your partner (with the two outside seats) have the ENTIRE row to yourself.


Instant best seats in the house…. Feel free to stretch out, create a workstation, cuddle, whatever!

Well, what if people DO end up booking the middle seat(s)?

No big deal. Ask him/her if they would like to change seats with you, so you can sit next to your partner… Trust us, no one is going to pass up an aisle or window seat to be “Airplane Bitch” in the middle.

Tony and I have practiced this technique on all of our long flights and international flights and we have NEVER had people sit in between us (*knock on wood*).

You’re welcome.

Your turn: What is YOUR best hack for awesome airline travel? Share with us in the Comments below!

About Meg
Exhausted from traveling every week as a Business Management Consultant early in my career, I took a year off in 2012 to travel at my own pace. I am a high-energy girl that loves being active, eating food, drinking wine, and exploring the world with my partner-in-crime (and husband), Tony! I now reside in Portland, Oregon and continue to write about travel, food, wine, and the awesome adventures we have in the Pacific NW!

Lindsay May 31, 2014 at 2:20 am

That is genius!

Meg May 31, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Thanks Lindsday!

Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) May 31, 2014 at 2:46 pm

We use this technique all the time too, although we have not had a 100% success rate with it as you have. But, as you say, literally no one has ever told us that they would prefer to keep the lame-o middle seat so we always wind up sitting next to each other even if we’re not in a romantic aisle-for-two.

One other thing I’d suggest considering is that if you’re flying on an airline that charges you to check luggage, it may be cheaper to pack one heavier bag rather than 2 less heavy bags. For instance, on Air Asia, we always had to pay for 2 15kg bags, even though technically our luggage combined comes in under 25kg. If we just had one big bag, we could check that at 25kg and it would save us anywhere from $10-20US per flight. That can add up if you’re traveling for a while!

Meg June 1, 2014 at 12:58 pm

That is great advice Steph – Thanks for sharing! When we started our RTW trip, we figured all airlines operated like they did in the States and just required us to check luggage if bags were too big… but in almost every other country they go by weight, which we weren’t anticipating – and often had to check our two bags overseas.

I think this tip could make for an article all by itself!

Sean June 14, 2014 at 11:32 am

We do this all the time! We’ve never had an issue when someone asks for the seat and one of us moves over, giving them an aisle seat. They’re usually pretty happy about it (a little good karma in our bucket?)

Another trick is to always look at available seats at the 24 hour online check-in, even if you already have seats assigned. Some airlines wait to open up certain seats (such as exit row), and you can snag these at this point.

Happy travels from another wandering couple….


Meg June 16, 2014 at 11:40 pm

haha it’s planned karma!

GREAT tip on the 24 hour online check-in – We will have to give it a try on the next flight.

Thanks for commenting Sean and happy travels!

Catherine August 12, 2014 at 6:28 pm

My husband and I have had to sit in different parts of the plane on so many flights. We’ll try this trick next time we fly! (And yeah, I always get stuck in the middle b/c he’s mildly claustrophobic. Not fun!)

Meg August 12, 2014 at 8:57 pm

It’s a great trick! Let me know if you have any luck with it Catherine… I also get stuck in the middle! But my husband is 7 inches taller than me, so I guess he needs the extra aisle legroom more than me!

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