How to Get an Entire Row on an Airplane All to Yourself

Isn’t it everyone’s dream when traveling to have an entire airplane row all to yourself? It happens sometimes by luck, but unfortunately, not too often.

But what if we told you it wasn’t that hard to increase the chance that you’ll get to sit in an empty row all by yourself?

Check out these tips below if you want the extra space— without having to upgrade to first class!

  1. Book at an off-peak time.

    If you’re traveling somewhere tropical, everyone is going to want to go in the wintertime. So chances are, the flight will be full and the seats next to you – and behind you and in front of you – will be taken. Additionally, red-eye flights are a great option that’s less likely to be full of passengers. Plus, you’ll likely sleep on that type of flight anyway, so go for it!

  2. Check the seat map.

    You can see how many open seats are near you when you book your seat on a flight, but that’s only guaranteed on that day. Chances are, more seats have filled up since you last looked. So experts recommend taking a glance at the seat map 1-3 hours before your flight takes off, and then if there’s something open, check with your flight attendant about changing seats. You can likely change your seat to one that has no one next to them if the plane isn’t full.

  3. Choose your seat wisely.

    Speaking of booking your seat, make sure you’re strategically booking where you’re going to sit. If having a row to yourself is a priority, steer clear of exit and bulkhead rows, which are some of the most popular seats and are much more likely to fill up than others.

  4. Pick a middle seat.

    More seat strategy: Go for the middle seat. Unless someone else is traveling alone, they’ll likely want to sit next to whoever they are traveling with, and your row won’t be the first they choose. “Most passengers prefer to have a little bit of space and don’t mind occupying the window or aisle if no other guests are in the middle. Go ahead and snag that middle seat in an empty row.

  5. Simply ask.

    Sometimes to move your seat to an empty row, all you need to do is ask the flight attendant and they’ll be happy to accommodate you. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been upgraded by simply asking. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to ask an agent to check and see which row is least likely to have another passenger and inquire about switching,” says Dr. Edward Dramberger, author of The Destination Diaries: How to Travel For Life.

  6. Board last.

    Honestly, why do people want to board first anyway? You just wind up sitting there waiting for everyone else to get on. Plus, when you board last, you can see what seats are still available and will likely be able to get dibs on the seat you actually want, even if it isn’t your assigned one.

  7. Download an app.

    Of course, there’s an app for everything these days. Use SeatGuru to help you determine the plane’s layout and which seats are in the best cabin. Additionally, ExpertFlyer is great for alerting you to the seats you want.

Have you ever been on a flight where you had the whole row to yourself? Was it luck or did you use one of these tips to make sure you were comfortable?