How to Get a Seat Aligned With a Window on Your Flight

by SharonKurheg

When we plan air travel, I usually let Joe take the reins. I’m perfectly capable of doing it, but he’s the points and miles geek and just enjoys the planning more than I do. He reaches out for my input on price (or amount of points) vs. time of day, and if I’d rather have the window or aisle seat (can you believe there are people who prefer the middle seat?!?!). But all the rest of the planning is on his watch, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s fine.

Well, except when I wind up with a seat like this:

a woman sitting in an airplaneOr…this:

a woman wearing a mask and giving thumbs up

And I’m just like, really? REALLY? All that planning and you couldn’t get me a window seat that has, you know, a WINDOW?

Of course, we know why the seats and windows on planes are usually not aligned. And there are even some legit reasons why some seats don’t have a window at all. Alaska Airlines even explained why some of their planes, particularly 737-700s, 737-800s, 737-900/900ERs and Q400s, don’t have windows at particular seats (they even told people which seats to avoid, then if they wanted a window seat).

Alaska Air’s reasoning is pretty much the main answer to “Why does my seat have no window?” And if it’s not air conditioning ducts, it’s electrical equipment or similar components.

But let’s face it – even if you know WHY your seat doesn’t have a window, if you want a seat with a window, you need to ensure that’s what you’ll get.

Years ago, you could go to SeatGuru, and if a seat was red, it was considered to be a “poor” seat – oftentimes because it had no window.

a chart of a flightExcept SeatGuru closed down a couple of years ago (well, it’s still up, but its owner, TripAdvisor, no longer updates or supports the site).

Since 2001, flyers who were “in the know” used SeatGuru to figure out everything from windowless seats to which seats didn’t recline to which seats were closest to the lavatory (I don’t think they ever went over which seats got you served first on Southwest, though), and more. Nowadays, they use AeroLopa as a way to figure out which will be the best seat for them.

How to learn “the window situation”

When you make your plane reservations, the airline should tell you somewhere what type of plane you’re scheduled to be on. All you need to do on AeroLopa is look up your airline and “that” plane, and you can see where the windows are. Or aren’t.

Case in point: remember those Boeing 737-700s Alaska Airlines mentioned?:

a diagram of a plane
Or maybe you’re on a United Airlines Boeing 767-400ER? Best to avoid these window seats if you want an actual window:

a diagram of an airplane seat
Keep in mind that there’s never a guarantee; planes can get switched out last second, and what you thought was your “guaranteed window seat” could turn into “not so much.” Things happen and it is what it is.

Of course, if you’re a frequent flyer who’s “in the know,” you already know this trick. But if you’re one of the scores of average people who only fly once or twice a year (if that much), it can give you a leg up on everybody else. 😉

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

Tad Bougie February 6, 2024 - 3:54 pm

They could at least put some fake-window art on those windowless panels!


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