When you book a flight, it is a good thing to check the seat map during the booking flow. Not only do you get a feel for where you might want to sit, but it also gives you an indication of how busy the flight might be.

Of course, many people wait until check-in to get seating for free, so the amount of seats taken usually does not reflect the reality on the day. Once you select your seat, it might be worth checking as time passes to see if something better becomes available.

Yes, I Check The Seat Map… Often!

I have to confess, I check the seat map many times before a flight. The reason for this is that the airlines will usually block some seats and only release them shortly before departure.


For example, Australia’s Qantas keeps some seats reserved for top level flyers. These all become available 80 hours prior to departure, which is referred to as the T-80 rule among their frequent flyers.


It is similar over at British Airways, with the seats they have blocked for Gold Frequent Flyers becoming available 72 hours prior to departure. Regardless of that, another reason to check the seat map for your flight is in case people have cancelled and better seats have opened up.


Where I have not reserved the exact seat I want, I will drop in and have a look every so often, just in case it becomes available. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

How Do I Work Out Which Seats Are Best?

The airlines often provide very rudimentary seating diagrams when you go to manage your booking online. They are usually not to scale and give little indication of which seat might have more space than other.


Those in the know head on over to aeroLOPA, which provides up to date seating plans for a large number of airlines. The reason these are so good is because they are to scale and even show the position of the windows. That is a godsend for window seat lovers like me!

Overall Thoughts

Checking and re-checking your seat assignment may seem outrageous to some people. However, I find I have a happier flight if I am sat in the seat I want to sit in. Of course, if I am not, I don’t throw my toys out of the pram, but even so, I like to sit where I want.

Perhaps it’s not such a big deal on shorter flights, but on the globe straddling flights from Europe to Australia, it becomes a little more important. Being consigned to the seat beside the toilets for 24 hours would not be the greatest.

What about you? Do you check the seat map regularly before flying, or do you select a seat and forget about it? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image via Qantas.