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#422: Make the Best of Each Airplane Trip

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I travel a lot by air and although I can usually select my seat, the airlines don't give any information on what seats are good or bad. Is there any way to know how to pick the best seats?

Getting a comfortable and functional seat on a flight can mean the difference between a great experience and hours of wasted time. If you want to work on a cross country flight, having leg room, a power outlet and good lighting makes all the difference.

Leg room is usually the first thing to consider. As airlines try to get more revenue from each seat, they sometimes reconfigure more seats into the airframe. Standard seat pitch (distance from any point on a seat to the equivalent point on the seat in front or behind) is now about 32 inches. Some airlines like JetBlue offer higher pitch of 34 inches and, for a price of $10-$20 per seat, 38 inch pitch.

Reclining seats, especially if you plan to nap, is important. We have been in seats right in front of a bulkhead or exit row that reclines little if at all.

Lighting is important if you want to write. Common sense and experience suggest that right handers might prefer the right most seat in a cluster so the light is as far left as possible and won't cast shadows.

What other items might detract from your flight experience? A seat right next to an engine? One with a misaligned window where you can't see out? One without a power port? Right next to the lavatory?

Tip: Check out Seat Guru, which shows you, for each airline and plane it flies (available from your travel agent or online booking site), the amenities and cautions for each seat. The one resource to have before you book a seat.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  travel  work-life balance 

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