Top 6 Reasons to Pre-Book Seats

John Tang, 12.02.2020
Alternative Travel Tips

We’ve all been there: you have found the flight that you want on a website and then you’re offered the option to select your seat. You may ask yourself “Hmm….should I? Is it worth it?”

Is it worth paying to reserve aircraft seats?

We see seat selection as like an insurance for your flight, you don’t have to pay extra to pre-book your seat but why wouldn’t you want a reassurance? If you can afford the minimal extra cost as it saves you from the hassles at the airport or your online check-in, then why not? Air travel should never be the most stressful or toughest part of your trip!

Here are some reasons as to why you might want to pay a little extra to pre-book your seat:

Aircraft seat

1) Airlines have no obligations to sit families / groups together

Believe it or not, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority says airlines are not obliged to sit parents and children together. Therefore, there’s no guarantee that you and your child would sit next to each other when you don’t pre-book your seats.

Top tip: Our guide to flying with children is full of expert advice to ensure flying with your children is as stress-free as possible!

If you’re travelling with your mates and would rather not beg for seats together, then book your seat in advance and save yourself from worrying at the airport. If the airline you’re travelling on disappoints, then at least your buddy is next to you!

2) Airlines hold up seats at check-in

If you think that you can choose whichever seats that are not chosen prior to airport check-in, then you’re wrong! This is simply because airlines reserve some seats for emergency or operational purposes. It’s true that sometimes airlines will have already reserved some seats prior to online check-in. However, if you had selected your seats when you purchased your ticket, then it’s unlikely that airlines would want to upset their passengers after seat selection and you’ve got a much better chance of getting the seat that you want.

3) Choose your preferred seat

What do you prefer? Window or aisle or even middle seats? Front or middle or rear of the cabin? Want to avoid the galley or toilets? Which seats are the best on the plane?

You’ll get more options if you pre-book your seat! You’ll beat everyone who only selects their seats in the phase of online check-in and airport check-in. Chances are that your prefered seat might be gone if you don’t pre-book your seat. Some airlines won’t even let you select your seat for free when you check-in online.

Thomas Cook Airlines did a survey in 2019 on passengers’ seat preference. The poll of 2000 British travellers found that 61% prioritise window seats over aisle seats, with 83% stating this is to enjoy the incredible views. Only 2% of their passengers want the ‘prestigious’ middle seat. Therefore, if you ever wanted the window or aisle seat, you know what to do or you could be stuck in the middle!

Top tip: Choosing where to sit will make a massive difference to your inflight experience! For more information, check out our guide on the best and worst places to sit on a plane.

Aircraft seats

4) Have a perfect trip

There’s nothing worse than sitting next to an annoying stranger on a flight. While they can often be nice, you might be sat next to someone who is impolite or tries to chat with you when you’re not in the mood for talking. The best way to hack this would be to sit next to someone you know, this avoids all small talk and you won’t have to pretend to be fascinated by their stories.

For nervous flyers and people who don’t like flying, the least you can do is to make yourself comfortable by choosing your seat. If you’re not sitting comfortably or keep being disturbed as you’re sat on the aisle seat, then the whole flying experience would worsen your journey before you arrive at your destination.

5) Reduces stress at check-in

If you didn’t check-in online or pre-book your seats, it could be a nervous moment at the airport when you’re handed your boarding pass and the seat that you’re sitting in is finally revealed. Pre-booking your seat will also save you from having to arrive at the airport earlier, as you won’t have to worry about being allocated an unfavourable seat because you’re one of the last people to check-in.

Hate queuing at the airport? You can go straight to airport security if you have pre-booked your flight, got your boarding pass and don’t have any luggage to check-in!

6) The chances of being split-up vary between airlines

According to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the chances of being split up depends on the airline you’re flying on. Some airlines are heavily criticised on their seating policy, while others try their best to accommodate groups and families. However, it will always still depend on availability.

Pre-booking your seat means that regardless of the airline that you’re travelling on, you’re guaranteed to get the seat that you want. This is, of course, unless the airline has to rearrange the seat allocation due to safety and operational reasons.

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