The guru's guide to comfort

Empty seats on a plane

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Tess Vigeland: All this travel talk giving you the itch to roam? Get thee to a travel agent and book a flight.

Or I guess these days, it's more likely you'll use the internet to get a seat. I mean that literally -- you can often pick your exact seat on the plane.

But which to choose? We spoke with Matt Daimler, the founder and CEO of SeatGuru.com. It's one of several sites that provide the pros and cons of every seat on just about any jet. Matt says first, know what makes you comfortable:


Matt Daimler: You know, one of the funny things about running this Web site is that someone else would say about that back of the plane next to the bathrooms they'd say, "it's great, I know exactly when the line is small. That's when I'm able to get right out of my seat and get right in line."

But for him, it's all about the legroom.

Daimler: It's literally the difference between being able to open your laptop screen only three-quarters of the way versus having it at a comfortable viewing angle. That one to two inches also means maybe I can cross my legs a little bit better under the seat in front of me and I'll look for the carriers that have 33 or 34 inches of legroom and things like that.

But how to snag that real estate? Booking early helps, but Matt says you'll have another shot at good seats if you check-in online 24 hours before the flight. If that fails, there's always the last minute, when frequent fliers upgrade out of economy into First Class.

Daimler: Often they're leaving behind good seats and that's a time you can get a better seat or be upgraded to something a little more comfortable.

Then sit back and relax -- assuming you don't get stuck with a seat that doesn't recline.

About the author

Tess Vigeland is the host of Marketplace Money, where she takes a deep dive into why we do what we do with our money.

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