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Air travel
Old 04-06-2010, 08:27 PM   #1
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Air travel

I haven't been on a plane since I was a kid. My family is planning a trip to Florida in the late summer/early fall time period. I'm wondering if I need to be concerned about leg room for a 3 hour flight. I'm 6'6" and have longer than average legs for my height. I also have chronic knee pain. If planning a trip online, is there a way to request a certain seat like an isle seat? Also, do I have the right to insist that the person in front of me not recline their seat? I would think that them doing so would infringe on the space I paid for and would have the right to stop them from doing so. Is that correct? What's the proper etiquette? Anything else I should be thinking about?
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:57 PM   #2
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Yes, you can request an aisle seat, and what would be better for leg room is a bulk head row where there are no seats in front. A fire exit row also has much more leg room but I'm not sure you can book a seat there ahead of time, but you can always ask.

As to insisting the person in front does not recline, you can certainly explain the situation and appeal to their better nature. I am 6'1" myself so can appreciate your situation.

I always have an aisle seat so it is easy to got to the restroom a couple of times as an excuse to get up and stretch your legs.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:58 PM   #3
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Most online booking agents let you pick your seat. You can certainly do it when you check in online, but by that time good seats may be taken.

seatguru.com helps you find the best seats on each type of aircraft as each airline configures it.

Some airlines have upgrades like EconomyPlus or something like that, which have more leg room. You'll pay extra, but if you need it, it's the best choice. Of course you could pay a lot more for 1st class, or a bit more for business class if they offer it.

The person in front of you has the right to recline their seat. None of us like the person in front to do it, but neither you nor I have the right to that space. What you can do is ask nicely at the beginning of the flight. Most reasonable people will keep their seat up.

Maybe not all answers you want to hear, but that's the options as I understand them. But maybe you can call the airline and ask. I don't know if they'd do something special for you. I know they don't for overweight people, in fact if you're too big for one seat they can make you buy a second, but you truly have no control over your height.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:59 PM   #4
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Ooh, bulkhead is a great suggestion.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:04 PM   #5
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Ooh, bulkhead is a great suggestion.
Particularly on transatlantic flights - been there and done that several times
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:14 PM   #6
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I second the frequent trips to the bathroom to stretch your legs. I have even seen people congregate near the rear lavatories for hours to stretch their legs (international 9 hr flight from South America). Could be perceived as a security concern, and it stinks.

Alternatively you could try standing in the aisle near your seat for a few minutes every so often. May look weird, but it might be more comfortable than sitting crunched up in a plane seat.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:27 PM   #7
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I second the frequent trips to the bathroom to stretch your legs. I have even seen people congregate near the rear lavatories for hours to stretch their legs (international 9 hr flight from South America). Could be perceived as a security concern, and it stinks.

Alternatively you could try standing in the aisle near your seat for a few minutes every so often. May look weird, but it might be more comfortable than sitting crunched up in a plane seat.
On long flights I spend a lot of time standing near the lavatories, and engage in leg stretches to keep the blood flowing. Slowly up on tip-toes, hold, slowly down, repeat. Lift knee up to chest, hold, release slowly down, repeat. Plus a few other simple stretches. These days with DVT on long haul flights a well publicized problem, no-one gives you a second glance while "exercising".
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Old 04-06-2010, 10:48 PM   #8
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Aaron, I don't know how people as tall as you are (and really, a lot of people are 6 ft. plus these days, so your height isn't even that unusual) can contort yourselves into airline seats these days. Book your flight as early as possible so you can get one of those bulkhead seats or one of the aisle seats. Also, the seats in front of the emergency exit rows do not recline so those seats are primo--more space in front of them plus no reclining into your legs. I think those emergency exit row seats might not recline either (so the seats behind them would be more comfortable), but not sure.

I had heard about some little clip you could put on the seat in front of you to prevent it reclining, but I wouldn't have the nerve to do it

Recently I had to check a bag and the automated check-in kiosk offered me a first-class seat for $75 (I think the baqggage check triggered that offer since checked bags are free in first class). Maybe you'll luck out that way.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:05 AM   #9
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snip... What's the proper etiquette?
I'm tall. I just brace my knees against the seat back towards the outer edges. If the person in the seat starts to recline it, I will let it give a little bit. Then I stop it dead. They may try one more time, they may sort of look back between the seatbacks (which only looks into the person sitting next to me). Then that's it. Never had anyone investigate further. If they would get out and look down, they would see that there is no room.

The only ones who have needed more training have been little bratty b*stard type travelling with his permissive mom. Business fliers know the type, obnoxious from the moment he got on the plane. A poster child for why the Supreme Court's 1973 decision should stand (oh oh Telly, you mean man, you ). That type don't give up right away. They take their body and try to body-slam the seatback backwards. I just "ignore" them, I'm busy "reading" or whatever, and don't look up. They start complaining to their mom, who's clueless. The most persistant have turned around and got up on the seat cushion to look over and down behind the seat. And they see a tall person jammed into a little space. And they look at me, and see an unfriendly man giving them the evil eye. Then they sit back down, complain to mom, whine, or find some new devilment like kicking the seat in front of them.
One guy sitting next to me once saw all this, and leaned over and said quietly to me, "I'd like to see him DB Coopered, but without the money or the parachute". I nodded most favorably, and we both smiled...
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:40 AM   #10
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Aaron879, you might look into the cost to upgrade to first class. I think the difference in price is obscene, but it sounds like you fly so infrequently and your health could be impacted, so the extra money just might be worth it. The couple of times I've been bumped to first class, I was astonished at the difference in room, comfort and service. Don't know if that's all still true with the airlines essentially becoming a "bus" these days. But, it might be worth a look. Best of luck!!
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:05 AM   #11
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I almost always fly Southwest. Their system has passengers login to reserve a spot in line at the gate, and then pick their seat as they enter the plane. If I login right at 24 hours prior to takeoff, I generally can pick a great aisle or window seat. I know a 6'6" guy that always picks a back row aisle seat
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:10 AM   #12
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On long flights I spend a lot of time standing near the lavatories.
Hi girls - Mile High Club anyone ?

tell em' how stress releasing it is.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:12 AM   #13
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And then there is the OTHER SIDE of the story from Telly.....

I have a slipped disk at the bottom of my back... if I sit 'up' on a long flight the whole flight, I will not be able to stand up straight the next day. I HAVE to recline.. (I have done it on some shorter flights with no problem)

I have had someone like Telly try and keep the chair from reclining... since it was a LONG flight, I could not sit up.... so a call to the stewardess fixed the problem for me... later they found someone who was willing to move for the guy...

I am sorry for anyone who does not like it... but it is what I paid to get. If they did NOT intend for you to recline, they can put non-reclining seats in the plane...
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:17 AM   #14
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Only United Airlines offers Economy Plus seating. It offers 3 to 5" of extra legroom than standard economy. I am 6'4" and I do very well in E+ even on trips to Europe.

Exit rows are usually reserved for fliers with status and bulkhead for families with small children or people who need it for medical reasons (foot in cast etc).

Be sure to book a mainline jet. Regional jets offer very cramped seating and the exit row has no extra space either.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:23 AM   #15
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Sorry Aaron, but you have absolutely no right to ask the person in front of you not to recline their seat. It is what it is, and I must admit that it peeves me when I sit behind someone in the emergency exit row who automatically reclines their seat on a 3 hour flight, effectively boxing me into my seat.

You get what you pay for, if you want the additional legroom I would suggest you see if the airline you are flying on offers the ability to purchase extra legroom seat at the time you buy your ticket.

That said, when we fly long haul these days we always purchase tickets in premium economy or try and use points to upgrade to long haul. A lot of people say it is not worth it, but to us it is worth every cent.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:41 AM   #16
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Be sure to book a mainline jet. Regional jets offer very cramped seating and the exit row has no extra space either.
Mostly true, but not always. The exit row in a CRJ-700 (usually row 13, sometimes row 14 on some carriers) has a lot of legroom--as much as in first class. Unfortunately, the actual exit row seat cushion is about an inch lower than all the other seats in the CRJ's, and it feels a little less comfortable.

I'm surprised that a lot of folks like the bulkhead seats, to me they seem to have less legroom.
If you want to maximize legroom, don't bring anything that can't be stowed in the overhead bins. On a regional jet, that's a fairly small item. Otherwise, you'll be cramming the carry on bag beneath the seat in front of you and your legroom will suffer.

Limiting the reclining ability of the seat in front of you is a no-no. Sorry--the seats recline. But, if you do sit in an exit row (even one that has no extra leg room), you can be sure that the seats in front of you will physically not be capable of reclining (this assures the area in front of the emergency exit has maximum clear width).

All the aisle seats will allow you to periodically stretch at least one leg into the aisle. If you do this, watch out for the service carts or you'll experience pain that will make you forget all about your knee.
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