Empty Middle Seat?

Some travel books advise you to reserve in a row of three seats one window and one aisle, leaving the “middle” seat open in hopes that no one will want the less-desirable single middle seat, giving you and your child extra room for free. This is a high-risk, high-return kind of strategy. The problem is that planes run so full these days that it's increasingly unlikely that that “empty” seat will stay empty.

The “leave the middle open” school of thought can turn a long ugly flight into a longer and uglier flight when some tired businessperson with a head cold squishes in between you and your child and voices his displeasure about being woken up"€again"€because your child seemingly is required to go pee pee in each time zone crossed.

If it does work, however, it can make a big difference. If you want to try this strategy, consider sitting at the back of the plane. Most people still want to sit at the front so they can get off earlier. Middle seats tend to fill up at the front first. You can pretty much guarantee that the middle seat in the last row will be the last one to go.

Now, you might not want to be sitting next to the bathrooms in the back, but consider grabbing a seat four or five rows from the back if you hope to have an extra one available. Since you've got kids with you and you're almost certainly checking bags so you're going to have to wait anyway. Most airlines still board from the back as well so it might give you a little extra time to get settled.

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