What types of airline seats are there?

airplane taking off

What does this mean for your trip and wallet?

It sounds so easy, jump on the internet and book an airline ticket. After all, when you call the airlines that’s what the automated recording tells you to do. So what kind of airline seats are there when you are just looking around?

Being a trained travel professional (aka- travel agent) means we understand the difference. If you’re going to book your own air make sure to understand all these different terms. Typically the online booking engines will show you the lowest fare and not explain the difference until after you put in your credit card. Then once you buy your ticket, you need to make a change you’ll find out, and it’s usually not pleasant.

Basic economy –

Usually will show up first as it’ll be the lowest fare from the airline. A basic economy fare simply means no perks, absolutely no changes of any kind, and absolutely no refunds. Your seats will be assigned automatically by the airlines 24 hours prior. The airline does not guarantee your seats will be next to each other in your traveling party or where you will be on the aircraft. You might end up in the last row next to the restroom or in those god-awful seats with solid armrest. You will be one of the last persons to board; it’s possible that all the overhead space will be gone by the time you board. These are the most restrictive; you don’t want to make any mistakes when booking a basic economy fare.

Standard coach-

depending upon how far in advance you make your reservations will be able to pick your seats. You’ll be able to change your ticket to different dates should something arise. Keep in mind this change fee is now $200 per ticket per person or higher on international trips. There isn’t a whole lot of legroom, but usually enough for the average person. If you’re extra tall 6 feet or more you might want the extended legroom type of ticket.

 Extended coach-

Each airline has a different name for this extra legroom. The actual seat your butt goes in is the same size; your legs will have an extra 3 to 6 inches. Delta Airlines calls there’s “comfort plus”, American Airlines calls their extended legroom “economy plus”. These are still coach seats with wise but you have the benefit of boarding first with extra legroom to stretch out some. There are definitely not as many seats usually the first 3 to 5 rows after the first-class section.

Business or First class-

if you’re on a long haul flight, something over 8 to 9 hours, your aircraft may have business and first-class. If at the shorter flight say something from a US city to Montego Bay, Jamaica, you usually only have the business-class. Wide comfortable seats two seats on each side with an aisle in the middle. The recline is much further on the seats as well.

Lie flat seats-

The comfortable lie flat seats

Dallas to Hawaii may have these lie-flat seats.

Usually, the lie flat seats will be the most expensive and most comfortable on that flight. There are not very many of them so if this is something you require you’ll want to make your reservations further in advance.  Typically these will be only available on larger aircraft that have much longer flight time; Example would be between Honolulu to Dallas, or Atlanta to Amsterdam. If you going to be in a tiny little flying tube for 9 hours or more you’ll have plenty of space of course with private entertainment systems to make your time fly by. (Pun on words intended.)

To read more about airline tickets and pricing read this blog.