How to get a seat you actually want to sit in on your next flight...

Ever book a flight too late and get stuck with a less than stellar seat assignment? Maybe you're stuck in the middle seat on a long haul and have a fear of being stuck between two armrest hogs. Or maybe, you wanted to book a seat in the first class cabin, but it was sold out. Maybe you are 6'7 and just wanted an exit row for extra leg room to stretch out. Being stuck in a bad seat assignment on a full flight is never a good way to start off a trip. 
In fact, being stuck in the middle seat is so bad that a study commissioned by 3M and the Global Strategy Group found that 56% of Americans would rather be stuck in traffic, 56% would rather go on a blind date, and 54% would rather go to the dentist. People dislike the middle seat so much that they prefer to avoid it altogether. 50% of people said they would rather take the next available flight with an aisle seat than sit in a middle seat. While 20% said they would actually wait overnight at an airport hotel in order get an aisle seat. Thats a whole lot of headache to get out of that lousy middle seat.

Well there is good news for all of us who suffer from a fear of crappy seat assignments. Expertflyer.com has invented a great way to combat this problem with their new Seat Alerts app.
According to ExpertFlyer:
"The Free version of ExpertFlyer allows you to create one free Seat Alert at a time. While a Premium ExpertFlyer membership keeps you abreast of flight availability with Flight Alerts and free seat availability with Seat Alerts® for up to 30 different flight segments in the class or cabin you specify. Put in the parameters for the flight alerts you want us to track and we'll periodically check for availability using our airline flight alerting system."

Seat Alerts is an incredible tool. Recently when one of my friends flew out to Los Angeles, I checked the seat assignments and realized he had a middle seat for his flight home all the way back to Charlotte. Being that I am a little more travel savvy than him, I was nominated to fix the seating problem. Normally I would have moved his seat to an aisle, however the flight was basically full and that wasn't an available option without paying an additional $50 for a "premium economy" seat. I immediately decided this was a great opportunity to check out the new Seat Alerts app. It was very simple to use. I quickly logged in, selected the flight and then chose the "any window" and "any aisle" options in the specified (economy) cabin. Finally, the day before his scheduled flight back to Charlotte, it sent an alert to my email saying that it had found a seat match. The alert even provided me with the exact available seat number, 29F. Most likely someone was upgraded to first class or changed their flight and this seat was now mine for the taking. In fear it might disappear, I quickly logged into American Airlines and switched his seat. Success! It would be a nice addition to the app if you could pay a small fee to have them do it automatically by giving them the passengers name and confirmation #. I definitely recommend downloading this free app to your phone, you never know when you might need it. 

And since there is a free version of Seat Alerts… this one is going to be classified as a bargain, for even the smallest traveler budget.

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