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How to get an entire row of seats on a plane to yourself - for no extra cost

Yes, it really is possible

How to get an entire row of seats on a plane to yourself - for no extra cost
Tom Victor
03 November 2017

Flying can be a bit of a ball-ache, can’t it?

Getting to the airport early; spending hours with strangers, sometimes with no internet to distract you or them; *Jerry Seinfeld voice* airline food.

Yes, yes, we shouldn’t complain about being able to travel across the world relatively cheaply, safely and quickly, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting a more pleasant experience.

While we might sometimes be able to treat ourselves to upgrades (sometimes for cheaper than you’d expect), it’s always worth knowing how to make the best of an economy trip – especially when there are one or two tricks not everyone is aware of.

Want a whole row to yourself?

Blogger and frequent flier Gilbert Ott, who has provided plenty of handy tips to Business Insider, recently shared some secrets to getting the best seat on an economy flight.

Surprisingly, the trick isn’t ‘pay for an upgrade to first class’ – while that may be one efficient way to give yourself a good chance of a pleasant trip, you don’t always have to spend extra.

Writing on his God Save the Points blog last month, Ott explained there’s an easy way to turn a standard economy seat into a good one, or even into a whole row, without it costing you any more money.

And the key is a free app.

Gilbert Ott with a row of empty seats

Ott recommends using the ExpertFlyer app, which provides accurate up-to-the-minute charts of free seats and allows you to – in his words – ‘play musical chairs’.

You can even use the app to get alerts for when your preferred seat becomes available, allowing you to make the move immediately.

‘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,’ he explains.

‘By doing so, you can keep improving up until final boarding.’

The look of a man who’s about to stroll into the best seat in the house

That’s not where it ends, though. Sometimes you’ll be able to get an entire row to yourself – you just need to be creative.

You can keep checking the seat map after the check-in deadline ends, and by asking for a seat change at the gate you can secure yourself a full row, providing the airline staff agree to your request.

The worst case scenario is they say no, so surely it’s worth a shot.

(Images: Twitter/Gilbert Ott/iStock)