Another flight with an empty seat next to me.

Another flight with an empty seat next to me.

I just stepped off another plane trip where I had the seat next to me empty. This happens roughly three out of four times when I fly. But this is not just cause I am lucky. I fly close to 100 times per year and I have learned a few things from that. Here are a few tips on how to get an empty seat next to you when you fly economy class.

Check in late.

If you check in late, then you can go online and see what seats on the plane are already booked. On most planes you are sitting with 3 seats and one row on the plane. Pick a seat where there is already one seat taken. Either the window seat or the aisle seat. Very very few people will pick a seat here they know that the two seats next to them are taken. So you will only get a person next to you then if the flight is completely or almost full.

That is if you check in late though. As someone will have to take a middle seats. But by checking in late, you have a better chance that you do not get a middle seat passenger.

Sit in the back of the plane.

For some reason, almost everyone who flies tries to sit in the front of the plane. I like that too. If I can get upgraded to business class. But I see no reason to sit up front when flying economy. It’s not that much fun looking at a curtain. The good thing about everyone trying to get a seat up front though, is that you can be pretty sure that any empty seats on the plane will be in the back of the plane. Some people say that there is more noise in the back, but there is not much difference if you ask me and I would rather have a tiny bit more noise than not having an empty seat next to me.

But don’t take the last row.

Don’t take the very last row though. On mane planes you can not recline the seats on the last row and the last row is also often occupied by people who are scared of flying. As this is in theory the safest seats in case of an accident. You are also right next to the toilets. Which is not always the best either.

Check out for empty seats when they say “boarding completed”.

Now maybe you are unlucky and still has someone in the middle seat. Then take a quick look around after they announce that boarding is completed. Fairly often I find that a whole seat row that is empty somewhere near me. Then as soon as the fasten your seatbelt sign if off, then I quickly but quietly pop over to that seat row. Be ware that some budget airlines might not let you do this without paying extra for it, but on so called normal airlines, this is hardly ever a problem.

And it never hurts to ask for a good seat.

If you are checking in manually, then it never hurts to ask the person checking you in if you can have a good seat where you might get an empty middle seat. On the plane I just took I did just that. I flew from a small airport called Horta on the Azores and the check in there is manual and very relaxed. So there was space for a friendly chat with the girl who checked me in. If you behave friendly and look and act like someone who is a frequent flier, then check in staff is very often happy to see if they can help you to a nice seat.

Now this was a little tips and advice on how I, on most flights, manage to get an empty seat next to me. I hope you will find some of it useful.

Have a nice flight. (with an empty seat next to you) 🙂


For more blogposts about aviation, click here.


Life is better on a plane when you have a couple of empty seats next to you.

Fly, drink beer and have an empty seat next to you.

Fly, drink free beer and have an empty seat next to you.



  1. Love your strategy Claus and your choice of beer.

  2. Wow guys incredibly beautiful, I love it. thanks for sharing.

  3. Claus, awesome tactics, man. I will definitely consider and try them soon! :)) Cheers to Efes!

  4. Love these tips and it’s also a good reminder that being nice does pay off.

  5. I always ask for an empty seat, if the plane isn’t full. It’s much more comfortable when I’m not stuffed next to someone.

  6. For noise, it’s now possible to get ear plugs with a 36db rating vs. the more typical 32db. Highest NRR for earplugs I’ve found. Don’t leave home without your SleepAngels.

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