One of the more popular topics discussed on our forums relates to getting the best seat on a flight. As seat selection is often an additional cost, some prefer to go without preselecting a seat. While it may be a good saving, running the risk of that dreaded middle seat near a noisy galley may see you wish you had spent the money in the first place. While short flights help to minimise the differences, on longer flights it can make all the difference. And it’s on one of these long flights that this question is asked

I am looking at booking flights for an upcoming trip in September between Australia and the US flying with Qantas. I will be travelling in Economy and if flying on the A380 would like to book a seat in rows 32/33/36 (do these rows have windows?), or specific seats 70E/71D/80AK of the lower deck.

If you’re a relatively infrequent flyer, you may not be aware that paying for a seat does not mean you have the entire cabin to pick from. For some time now, many airlines are aware of the differences in seat positions and reserve the more favoured ones for their best customers. In the case of the Qantas A380, the bulkhead upstairs at row 32 is reserved. But there are other options just as good that might be available, and sometimes timing makes all the difference.

3 months away so it’s likely those plum seats had been taken. … 71D / 80 A/K are not status dependent but bulk head (32) is. Your best chance would be at T + 80 when they might become available

As our members have discovered, three days before the flight departs all holds on seating not already preselected are removed on most Qantas flights. This means those Platinum-only areas often open up if they have not been taken already. That’s just one of the tricks our regulars suggest.

Another trick is to use a tool like Expert Flyer to have a look at the seat map for a flight. Unlike the seat map you see at the airline, on Expert Flyer you can see not only what seats are taken, but also what seats are being held. With some travellers having to change plans, things will change over time. Getting an idea of whether all the “good seats” have been preselected will give you a clue as to what risk your taking waiting by waiting for the last minute to select your seat. If all the “good seats”, bar the higher cost exit row seats, have been allocated, then at least you will know it was money well spent to guarantee that room should you decide to grab one.

Have you got a long trip to the USA coming and want to know more about finding the best seat, why not join the conversation HERE.

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