By Guest Blogger Austin Grandt
As airline seats continue to shrink in both pitch and width, maximizing legroom is priority number one for many travelers. All of us have been in that uncomfortable situation where the person in front reclines a little too much or when your bag is too big to allow space for your feet. Having too little legroom makes for an uncomfortable flight and isn’t the optimal way to start a trip.
Most airlines now offer a new seat to travelers who are a bit more comfort conscious called premium economy. According to SeatGuru, these seats offer about 1-2 inchesof extra width and 2-3 extra inches of recline. While the numbers seem small, these increases can be the difference between flying in comfort or feeling like someone is living in your lap for 3 three hours. Here are the ways you can score a premium economy seat.
You can purchase a premium economy right at the time of booking. The seat will most likely be pricier than a standard economy ticket. Premium economy seats often need to be purchased via the carrier’s own website because sites like Expedia sometimes don’t have the ability to book into the premium economy fare class. If you are interested in potentially booking a premium seat use your favorite online travel agent to find the lowest prices for your destination, then go to the airline’s own website to price compare. It should only take a few minutes and give you an idea of the price difference between regular and premium economy.
If there are many of these seats available, airlines will often email you a couple days before your flight with an upgrade offer. Quite often these upgrades are at a much lower rate than if you would have booked the premium economy seat at the beginning. I personally have seen offers for as lowas $25 per flight segment. Check your email in case any of these deals come up.
2. Switch Seats at the Gate
If a flight is booked to capacity or oversold airlines will often place economy passengers in the premium economy seats so all passengers can fit. It is worth asking the gate agent if it is possible to switch into one of the premium economy seats. Depending on the flight, they may be able to accommodate your request. Don’t expect it to work every time, but it never hurts to ask. It should also be noted that this technique is easier when you are by yourself or with one other person simply because it is normally harder to place multiple people.
3. Get Status
This one is both the most expensive and long-term way to get a premium economy seat. Almost every airline gives their elites a free upgrade to premium economy. If you have a status with an airline make sure to take advantage of this perk. If you are interested in earning status with an airline the best rule of thumb is to stick with one airline and fly them often. The requirements seem to be always changing, but the minimum is normally 25,000miles a year for the minimum status.
Do you have any other tactics you’ve used to increase your legroom? We would love to hear it in the comments below!
Austin Grandt is an avid traveler, miles hound, and adventurer. He is a founder at “Trip Dojo,” a site that helps people find travel deals, gear, and inspiration for their next trip.
Vinnie VanGo welcomes Austin Grandt and other travel experts to contribute articles of interest to airline travelers in GO Cities for publication in “GOing Places.”