Triangle Trip

Tag: middle seat

How can you benefit from a middle seat on United Airlines?

by on Mar.21, 2009, under Airlines, Business Travel

If you’ve ever flown United’s Premium Service flights from New York’s JFK to LAX or SFO and had the misfortune of getting a middle seat you might’ve missed one of the key features of that aircraft’s configuration: power outlets.

Power outlets on United? Yeah right, you may think. But it’s true. Underneath the middle seats there is actually a power outlet. So next time you are stuck in a middle seat on a United P.S. flight, don’t be so glum, at least you’ll have power.

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How to get priority boarding without status

by on Mar.11, 2009, under Airlines, Business Travel, Vacation

I travel through a lot of different airlines, and each airline has their own boarding strategy. I have a rough estimate of what boarding group I will get with the seat I pick.

It would be nice to have the boarding group # displayed when selecting your seat # on the different airline sites.  Also, it would be nice to display the number of tickets seats purchased with priority boarding.  This way I would know when to pack lighter for a smaller carry on, or at least expect to check my luggage in to pick a seat with an earlier boarding assignment.

Different carriers have different number of boarding groups and strategies. United has 4 groups and board by outside-in, 1 status, 2 window, 3 middle, 4 aisle seats. Other carriers do back-to-front (4 groups), while others even do a reverse pyramid strategy (usually more than 4 groups).

Back window seat will guarantee you at least a boarding group 2, B, if you are status-less on most airlines and have no clue of the airline boarding strategy.  Guaranteed luggage in overhead, except maybe United since the majority is group 1, which is a different story.

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How to avoid the middle seat on Southwest

by on Jan.21, 2009, under Airlines, Business Travel

We all know that Southwest does not have assigned seats and everyone is aware of the standard practices to get in Zone A to avoid having to sit in the middle seat. The standard practices  to get away from sitting in the middle are:

  1. Print your boarding pass at right after midnight before your departure date so you board during Zones A or B. This may mean staying up all night just to avoid getting a bad seat – which is not so attractive.
  2. Paying for Southwest Business Select. This approach does not really make sense as you’re flying SWA because you’re trying to save money. Why should you pay to board first especially if you fly SWA all the time?

The standard practices also does not cover you for flight cancellations or changes. Here is the secret to avoid the middle seat or at least mitigate the risk of having to sit in the middle.

Kids generally prefer to sit by the windows because they want to look out the window during takeoff and landing. Since kids rarely travel by themselves which means a parent will be next to them. Like everyone else, parents also don’t like to be stuck in the middle seat. The usual scenario is a kid seated by the window and the parent sits at the aisle hoping no one will take the middle seat. This scenario occurs toward the back of the plane.

Regardless of when you board the plane, you need to look for a kid seated by the window and a parent occupying the aisle seat. What you must do is ask the adult to allow you to sit in the middle. The result is the parent will move to the middle because the kid will not want to give up the window seat nor does he or she want to sit next to a stranger. I have used this trick on every flight that is crowded and have an 80% success rate. Go try it!

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