Air travel since September 11 is a time consuming ordeal
that most of us would like to avoid if possible. Unfortunately
it is still the quickest way to get from point A to point
B making it a necessary evil. Unless youre the top anchor
at your station or the managing editor of your newspaper,
most of you dont have the luxury of flying first or
But all is not lost if youre still looking for a comfortable
seat. I recently took an American Airlines flight from Los
Angeles to New Yorks JFK airport. For this six hour
flight American used a 767-200 series aircraft. I was flying
coach, which causes a lot of problems for me since Im
65. Legroom is extremely important. As a member
of Americans frequent flyer program I was hoping to
use my accumulated miles for an upgrade to first or business
class. When I arrived at the airport both first and business
class were sold out.
I very politely asked the desk agent to give me a bulkhead
seat. Since I arrived so early they were able to handle my
request with ease and without using any of my frequent flyer
miles. I was assigned to seat 17H. When I boarded the aircraft
and found my seat you couldnt possibly imagine my surprise.
Seat 17H was the first row behind business class. There were
only two seats in my section. I had my own private TV and
a foot-rest on my chair. And oh did I mention, more legroom
than I new what to do with. My proximity to the flight attendants
work area made it easy for me to get served and basically
spoiled as if I were flying first class.
These secret seats as most travel experts call
them are available on most long-haul flights. Bulkhead seats
and other secret seats like the exit rows arent
handed out until the day of departure. So arrive early. Be
forewarned, some exit row and bulkhead seats dont recline
so make sure you ask.
If youre flying on flights less than two hours chances
are you wont find such good seating especially if youre
on discount carriers like Southwest Airlines.
Finding these seats can be a little difficult. Most major
domestic carriers fly the Boeing 767 series, but each is configured
differently. For example Delta, Continental and United fly
a 767-200 series aircraft similar to the one I flew on American.
Because the interiors are configured differently the best
seats wont be the same as 17H on American.
Heres a short list of good seats for the 767-200 series
on American, Delta, Continental and United.
American Row 17 A, B, H, J and 25 C-G
Delta Row 10 and 26 C-E
Continental Row 16 and 20 D-F
United Row 15 C-E
To find out what type of aircraft youll be flying ask
the reservations agent or your travel agent at the time of
booking. If you book using the Internet go to that carriers
website and punch in your flight number. Since navigating
websites can be difficult you can also call the airlines 800
number and get the information from the reservations agent.
All major carriers have their aircraft configuration on their
websites. So youll be able to print the diagram and
take it to the airport with you to make specific seat requests.
It also helps if youre a member of that carriers frequent
flyer program and if you paid full fare for the seat. Most
business travelers always pay full fare even for a coach seat.
If you were assigned a seat at booking dont be afraid
to ask the gate agent for a bulkhead seat once you arrive
at the airport.