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FlyerTalk 101

Flight Attendant: Sit Here to Get the Best Service in Economy

Flight Attendant: Sit Here to Get the Best Service in Economy
Jackie Reddy

Not everyone can afford to fly first class, but one member of the cabin crew has offered her tips to help making traveling in economy just a little bit more bearable. Annie Kingston gives her tips on how to avoid babies, cabin chill, thoughtfully pack a carry-on, get better service and even an upgrade.

Not everyone has the cash or the points to plump for first class, but according to one member of cabin crew, there are a host of tricks and tips to deploy to make the journey in economy just a bit more comfortable.

Writing for Oyster, Annie Kingston’s first tip is aimed at those hoping to grab a spot next to an empty seat. The trick, she explains, is to try and be one of the last passengers to enter the cabin, thus ensuring that any free seats are up for grabs. However, she cautions that there’s a fine line between bagging a seat with spare space and missing a flight.

“The point is to be at the gate ready to go, but position yourself near the end of the queue [line],” she advises.

Kingston’s next tip is directed at travelers who want to steer clear of infants and babies. For the best odds on this, she advises that passengers avoid sitting in the bulkhead area, a space that is given over to parents who need to use an in-flight bassinet for their child.

Her third pointer revolves around service. Whether passengers are after an extra bottle of wine or another pillow, Kingston advises that they sit closer to the back of the aircraft.

“The reason is simple: We like to avoid responding to call bells from the front of the plane because answering one means potentially flaunting whatever item the passenger has requested to everyone else along the way,” she explains.

In an environment that’s already likely a little less than comfortable, Kingston’s next pointer is a reminder to those who get chilly in the cabin to pick a seat that’s away from the window and therefore the fuselage.

Her fifth tip is a gentle reminder to passengers to think carefully about what they bring on-board in their carry on luggage. With a little bit of foresight, travelers save a reasonable amount of cash by picking up travel staples like eye masks and earplugs away from the airport.

Kingston’s last pointer is directed at those economy passengers who hope to obtain the holy grail of economy travel: an upgrade. She advises that lone travelers join a carrier’s frequent flyer program in order to at least stand a chance of getting into a premium cabin.

“When a flight is booked in economy, but still has seats available in business class, most major airlines will scan their passenger information list for solo travelers and offer upgrades to those who are enrolled in their frequent flyer program,” she explains.

“This means that even passengers who don’t have many points can still be eligible, as long as they’ve put their name in the hat. So, it doesn’t hurt to go online and join frequent flyer programs for free,” Kingston adds.

[Image Source: iStock]

View Comments (3)


  1. MCB

    May 3, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    I’m sorry, but this is terrible advice, and seems to reflect only the practices of the carrier the FA who was interviewed.

    1. On almost all airlines seats are assigned in advance of boarding the aircraft, whether that’s at time of purchase or at check-in. Only one major U.S. airline offers “open seating”, and that’s Southwest. So hanging back at boarding time does not mean you are more likely to get an open seat next to you — only that there will be no space for your carryon in the overhead compartment.

    2. Sitting near the rear of the plane does not mean you are more likely to get better service. Some airlines have the galley at the front of the plane; others have it in the rear. It depends on the aircraft model and airline-specified layout. Most airlines start service at the front of the cabin and work backwards. (On larger single-aisle aircraft there will usually be a second pair of flight attendants starting in the middle.) In either case, sitting in the rear only means that they are more likely to run out of what you want before the service cart gets to you.

  2. bmholmes

    May 3, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    Insane to wait until last, unless you are a single traveler. No overhead bin space, and likely to end up next to the lavs. Have you ever seen 2 seats together at the end of a boarding line?! Maybe you could check seat availability before you leave the airport, though, to see what the odds are..

    As for sitting in the back for complimentary anything, that’s also a joke. I think Kingston must have been paid by the airllines to get people to think ending up in the back, where the plane noise and discomfort is the greatest because of people standing in line, is a “benefit.”.

  3. SportDiver

    May 7, 2019 at 11:07 am

    This is handily the most worthless “advice” ever provided to the frequent flyer community. Be among the last to board the plane? Wow! Those in the last boarding group should think about selling their seats/tickets to those unlucky few who first board the plane! Which frequent flyer program is handing out all those upgrades? A few of us want to join that program!

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