Snagging the Best Seats on any Airline Flight -
it's a Devious Science, you Know
It used to be that all you needed to do to get a good seat on an airplane would be to show up at the airport an extra 15 minutes in advance; now in an age of absolute air travel commodification, scoring a great seat is becoming quite a feat - complete with requirements in deviousness and talent if you need to get anywhere.
Airlines are running their flights packed closer to full capacity more often than ever before and every one of those people on those flights would rather have had an emergency exit seat for better legroom or an aisle seat for more freedom. However there are possible seats to covet too if you know where to look.
A 737 airliner for example, is somewhat ovoid in shape - it bulges out in the center along its length; and the window seats on the rows that famm at the center, lengthwise, of the plane, have the most shoulder room. More and more, people buying seats on an airline flight appear to prefer the airlines' own booking sites, or booking websites that will offer them the facility of putting down dibs on a seat in advance.
And ever since the airlines began to notice that there was real value that passengers attached to certain kinds of seats, they've begun to charge for them; and not a day too soon to some passengers, who really would like those special seats, no matter what.
To most people taking an airline flight is hard enough on their poor nerves without having to be jammed into a middle seat or one that won't recline. If there's a way, they'll pay.
The trouble is, there are dozens of different kinds of airliner out there, and each airline company will configure each model of plane differently. And there are different policies they use to number seats and assign them.
With the exception of a few holdouts, most airlines will absolutely allow you to select a seat when you buy a ticket. They give you a diagram of the whole plane with pictures of seats that are empty at the moment; you can look up seat information online, find out which the best seats are for the most leg room and reclining pitch, and put your name down when you buy.
Major travel booking websites allow you to pick your seat as soon as you get started with the purchase process; but it will only work if you buy a ticket before the airline flight in question is somewhat full. Airlines will only allow advance seat reservations until the plane is half-full to maintain a bit of seating flexibility when they need it. But all the foresight in the world won't really help in certain cases; sometimes, an airline will switch airplane models for a specific flight, for reasons like delays and interruptions from maintenance schedules.
You may have to actually check back even after you make your seat selection, to make sure that they haven't decided to sign you up to a game of musical chairs. That's not your only reason to keep looking in either. Seats can open up all of a sudden after you make your booking. This can happen when a frequent flyer in coach gets a free upgrade,and frees up his original assigned seat.