Is It Worth Paying For Seat Selection In Flights?

If you’ve ever flown, you already know that some seats provide extra legroom, some have better storage space for your luggage, and window seats are better than the middle seats because you can enjoy the view or rest your head against the wall.

But if you are confused whether to pay extra to get one of these seats, because some airlines charge an arm and a leg for them?.

here is the short answer.

It is not necessary to pay for a seat selection on airplanes because they will assign one to your ticket automatically, but most of the airline block the best ones and make them available for additional fees, around $10-$40, however if you want to get a good seat and to avoid random selection, it is better to pay for a seat selection the moment you are booking.

Today i will answer all your questions about paying for seats selection on airlines, and how to snag a nice and comfortable seat without paying a dime.

Let’s dive right in.

Delta Airlines Seats / Credit: Delta Airlines

Is It Worth Paying For Seat Selection?

Paying for a seat selection is worth it only if you always have a preferred seat or you are traveling with a baby and need more legroom.

But in fact you don’t have to pay for a seat selection, especially if you are traveling on a budget , or you have a short flight.

The option to select your own seat may seem appealing at first, because you want more space or to sit close to the window; but there are a lot of questions that should be answered before you choose to pay for a seat selection.

Here is how seat selection fees works:

Most airlines know that some seats are comfortable and roomy, and they call them premium seats and they block them; sometimes even if the airplane is empty.

So they notify passengers that they have to buy a seat at the beginning of the booking, but obviously you don’t have to select a seat, even until you get to the airport.

What Happens If You Don’t Select a Seat On a Flight?

Credit: Twitter

Some airlines may not have the option to select a seat.

But If you don’t select a seat on your flight, You will automatically be assigned a seat when you check in or at the gate, and as long as you have a ticket your seat is guaranteed, the only reason why airlines want passengers to select a seat during the booking process is to make passengers pay for them.

In fact if nobody paid for those seats, they would be assigned for passengers without paying anything.

How To Avoid Paying For Seat Selection? And Get a Better Seat On a Plane?

airplane window seat view
Photo by Tove Liu on

Most airlines nowadays charge for seat selection, and mostly around $10 to $40 per seat and if you decide to pay for a seat it will add up some charges to your flight.

But i think you don’t have to pay for a seat selection when on a short flight, or you see that there is no issue to get assigned any seat in the airplane.

The good news is if the airplane is empty and you spot an empty seat that you like, you can just ask the flight attendant and they will happily help you change your seat and you end up enjoying a good night sleep in an entire row.

Check In Online

You can’t select your favorite seat when checking in online unless you pay for it during the booking, but obviously it will give you a chance to get a better seat before all the airplane is reserved.

Check in online always has its benefits, and the major benefit is to get your boarding pass in a matter of minutes and assign a seat early in the first hours of check in time (Before 24 hours).

Almost any airline will allow you to check in on its website or app prior 24 hours, so it is always better to check in early before everyone else does.

Most of the time when you are booking you will see only the premium and good seats, but eventually sometimes you can get one of those seats without paying for them.

Some passengers recommend checking in in the first two or three hours when traveling with a partner, however it may work if the airplane is empty but most airlines stated that they won’t guarantee that you will be seated with your travel companion when seats are assigned automatically during check in.

Credit: AA website

Waiting Until The Airport

If you wait until the airport, there are two things that may happen , you either get assigned a random seat which most of the time will be a standard seat, or you get an upgrade ( which happens rarely).

One of the most effective ways to use at the airport is to ask the agent at the check in counter, for a good seat, most of the time they will be happy to help if there is an empty seat available.

Sometimes it is not recommended to wait until the airport, especially on busy flights, for either check in or seat selection, because most of the passengers nowadays check in online.

In addition, if you leave check-in till the last minute, some low cost airlines will charge for airport check in.

Pay For a Seat

Credit: Twitter

If comfort is important to you, and you don’t want to get stuck in a seat you don’t like, choosing your favorite seat is worth it.

Especially if you have a long flight, and you don’t want to leave anything for chance.

But it is always best to buy your ticket early if you are planning to buy a seat, that way you still get the best seat, before other passengers reserve them.

Before you book your flight make sure to investigate some of the airlines flying to your destination, you can check and see the aircraft map, they have almost any aircraft information and seat maps.

SeatGuru is a TripAdvisor website provides different info and details on aircraft seats, you can find almost any airline seat map details, you can compare your favorite seats, and know the pros and cons of each one of them

Join a Frequent Flier Program

This may not work if you are flying for the first time, but if you start traveling frequently you will need to join a frequent flier program.

There are so many advantages from being a frequent-flier member, in addition to saving money you can also benefit from inflight amenities and seat upgrades.

Final Thoughts

Airline seats are often cramped and uncomfortable, but paying to secure a seat selection upgrade is sometimes worth it.

We compared the value of paying for seat selection on a variety of major airlines to see if the extra legroom and comfort are worth the extra cost.

We found that while most seat selections on major airlines are not worth the additional cost, a select few offer such good value that it’s worth paying for them.

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