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Monday 23 October 2017

The secrets of airline seat whisperers

A friend wrote on Twitter the other day how she saw a fellow passenger boarding with a box of tissues in her hand and silently prayed she did not find herself sitting next to the woman, whether she was grieving or suffering from a severe cold.

I say the same silent prayer every time I am on board, comfortably seated with an empty space next to me. 

Other than praying for a seat with extra legroom, perhaps a bulkhead seat, exit row or row three on Virgin Australia domestic, seat whisperers also look for the best result - an empty seat next door, or, even better, an empty row. A look at the Seat Guru website can be a big help. 

The most successful seat whisperers are nearly always frequent flyers. Airlines look after their regular customers and give them the aisle seats they want (or sometimes window seats) but never the dreaded middle seats. 

Regular flyers are often given an empty seat next door if the flight is not a full one. 

That doesn't mean, however, that even seat whisperers don't have five or 10 minutes of anguish before the last doors are closed. 

That grossly obese person. Are they headed for seat 3B or E? That mother with the screaming banshee over her shoulder? The massive guy with biker gang colours? 

You never know until boarding is complete; there can always be last-minute changes, but every successful seat whisperer knows to choose their favoured seat at the time of booking, to be nice to the agent when checking in, and be polite to the airline crew when boarding. 

The days of free upgrades may have almost faded into the mists of time, but finding yourself in an empty row on a long haul flight is almost as good. 

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