Crew members get a pre-flight briefing and so should you. Before you check in online, check out your aircraft. SeatGuru.com posts informative seating charts for more than 60 carriers. You can locate the most coveted spots (extra legroom over-wing) and avoid the worst (near galleys and washrooms). Flight attendants know some seats that may seem wonderful – like bulkheads – come with their drawbacks, like no underseat storage and the chance of being seated next to cranky infants.
Even perennial favourites, like overwing exit seats, may have limited recline and are chilly in flight, as you are sitting next to an operational door or window. Depending on the aircraft configuration, these seats can also be next to lavs (washrooms.)
To change seats easily after boarding, know airline protocol. The final count of passengers and their location gives pilots critical knowledge on the weight and balance of the aircraft. You might disrupt their calculations by switching seats before take-off. If you want to move, do so before the count or in the air.
For both passengers and crew, the smartest attitude is “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” not “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
© 2011 – 2013, Heather Zorzini. All rights reserved.