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Thursday, July 1, 2010


Today travel editor Serena Brower explains why it's best to sit toward the back of the plane. -- AP

Most people like to fly as close to the front of the plane as possible. That way, they’re the first ones off once the plane lands. I used to be one of those people. Not any more. Here’s why:

Ever notice how many people now have “elite” boarding status on any given flight? After the first class and business class passengers are boarded, they’re the next group to be allowed to board. It’s not unusual to find half the passengers in the waiting area queuing up for the “elite” status boarding. By the time your row is called, guess what? There’s no room left in any of the overhead compartments for your carry-on luggage.

If that carry-on happens to be hard-sided with wheels and a handle, no way is it going to fit under the seat in front of you. Now you’ve got to hand it over to the flight attendant to be added to all the checked baggage. And that means a long wait at the other end at the baggage carousel.

The easiest way to avoid getting caught holding your bag is to book a seat toward the back of the plane. Since planes board from back to front, once all the privileged people are boarded, you’ll be one of the first to board when they finally get around to letting the lowly masses down the jetway. This will guarantee you an overhead spot for your carry-on.

However, as in all things in life, there’s give and take, and sitting toward the back of the plane does mean you’ll be one of the last off the plane. So you might not want to choose a seat toward the rear if you have a connection to make. However, if you’re not switching planes, just remain seated when the plane lands and finish the chapter you were reading or the crossword puzzle. Better to wait an extra 10 minutes to leave the plane than a half hour at the baggage carousel, right?

Thanks, Serena, another great travel tip! Got some travel tips or horror tales you'd like to share? Let's hear from you. Everyone who posts a comment this week is entered in the drawing for a book from our Book Club Friday author. -- AP


Kathye Quick said...

Okay, I'm back. I couldn't get here for a while and I missed the blog.

I usually take a seat at the front of the plane. I don't like sitting in the back at all and I hate to get my luggage. If I'm visiting friends, sometimes I send my stuff ahead of time and take a small carry on.

If it's a long flight, and I know I'm in Diva-land here - I fly first class. I have passed the 20's, 30', 40' and 50's so I feel I can be comfortable now and fork out the extra cash (sometimes via a carefully planned credit card payment or plan ahead saving for it).

Kttycat said...

I almost always sit toward the back. I like flying by the wings. Not too sure why but i'm comfortable there. I'm pretty lucky and don't have too many "horror" stories about flying. I do remember one of the times I was going to visit my bf in New York a lady in front of me had a cat. She was telling me she had given the cat two vicodin so the cat would be calm and telling me that she should of taken them instead because of how nervous she was to have the cat flying with her. And still after two vicodin the cat meow the entire flight! I'm so glad I go half deaf with my ears during a flight!

Carol-Lynn Rossel said...

OR: if you're of a certain age, you can board with others who need a bit of extra time to get onto the plane. I sprained my ankle in April and when I boarded two planes each way on my trip down to NC, I could hobble down the entry thing almost alone. Wow. I always have trouble keeping up with the boarding masses, but never did this before. It will be in my repertoire from now on.