1) Do your research
Before you select your seat, punch your flight info into seatguru.com. For no fee, you’ll find out which seats have the most leg room and recline, will squish you with a reduced width and are closest to the washrooms. Not all premium seats are created equal even on the same flight; if you’re going to pay an extra fee, make sure you get your money’s worth.
2) Party in the back
It’s still a contentious issue, but the majority of flyers seem to be in agreement that reclining your seat on most flights is not cool. (An exception is overnight flights when everyone is doing it and trying to sleep.) If you must do it, try booking a seat in the last row: With no one behind you, you can lean back guilt-free. Just use SeatGuru first; some back rows have limited, if any, recline.
3) Stick to the outside
Some people swear by window seats, but there is a strong case to be made for taking the aisle spot. You lose the view, yes. What you gain is the ability to easily get up whenever you want to take a walk, stretch, visit the washroom or wander to the galley to discreetly ask for extra pretzels. All of which make for a more comfortable experience.
4) Know the equipment
On some planes there is a little lever at the back of the aisle armrest that lets you raise it for some extra wiggle room. (Just mind your elbows during the food and beverage service.) And in case you never noticed, those headsets are typically adjustable: Bend the sides to wrap around your head so you don’t fall asleep on your neighbour’s shoulder. Leave the bulky neck pillow at home.
5) Ditch your shoes
Sitting with shoes on as your feet swell in the air isn’t fun. Nor is wearing heavy boots on a warm flight in winter. So go ahead and take them off – with one major caveat: You must have a pair of clean airplane socks to put your feet in. If you want to go the compression route, Soxxy makes cute ones. And, please, put your shoes back on before heading to the toilet.