Plan Ahead If You Want To Snag Seats Together On The Plane For Holiday Flights

Times used to be, you’d show up at the check-in desk with carry-on bags full of liquids,  check your heavy suitcases for free and politely ask if you could sit next to your husband/girlfriend/son/best pal Liz. But with window and aisle seats now selling for an extra fee, how’s a family supposed to make sure they can stick together up in the air this Thanksgiving? There are a few things you can do to tip the seating odds in your favor.

So there will be probably about 24 million people flying in the days around Thanksgiving, which means things will be a bit crowded. And since last year, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier and United have all changed up their seating maps to have more coach seats that cost extra. While you might not all get to sit together if you’ve got a large family group, you should be able to score at least one seat for a travel buddy.

The Associated Press has a few tips for travelers weary of being split up on flights — most of which involve planning ahead so start formulating your plan now:

• Check online with your airline now to look for for seat assignments. The plane may have changed between when you booked your ticket and when you actually fly, so if you reserved particular free seats earlier, make sure the layout of the plane hasn’t changed where you’re sitting.

• Sign up for seat alerts with sites like ExpertFlyer.com, which will send a free notification if a window or aisle seat frees up. An extra fee of $0.99 will get you an email when adjacent seats show up.

• Check in 24 hours ahead of time, as that’s when airlines begin releasing more free seats. Keep checking if you’re not successful at first, right up until you leave for the airport.

• Ask very nicely and politely at check-in, as gate agents can often work some magic and get families seated near each other.

• If nothing else so far has worked, try appealing to your fellow travelers, or even offering to buy them a drink during the flight to sweeten the deal. Unfortunately, if they’ve already paid $25 to secure that seat, a $9 cocktail probably won’t do the trick.

Good luck, and may the seating odds be ever in your favor.

Tips to snag seats together on holiday flights [Associated Press]