Written by Michael

4min read


One of the many sayings I like to live life by is: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”

This is especially true when flying.

Everyone loves a little bit of extra legroom on flights, I especially love it as I’m 6ft 4 and often fly 10 hour flights. Very rarely however, do I see people asking if they can sit in these godly exit seats; the seats where your legs can stretch out forever, and the whole plane puts their lives in your hands if there’s an emergency.

Well, start asking people, because its more than possible to get that couple of extra inches (get your mind out the gutter). Here’s how to go about it.

Ways to bag an exit seat

Flights often aren’t completely booked (Or overbooked, *cough cough* United). There are pretty much always spare exit sets because most people wont pay the extra $70 or so airlines ask for the privilege.

There’s ways of getting these exit seats without paying the extra money. If only you ask.

I’d say that on around 80% of my flights I either bag an exit seat or a seat with a little extra legroom. This high number may be staff being sympathetic to my height, but It’s also because I simply ask in the first place.

There are 3 places that you can ask. You have to ask at each one until you either get a yes, or all 3 say no. If it’s the latter then I’m afraid you’re all out of luck my friend. Here they are in order;

He’s getting an upgrade….

The Check in Desk.

Here I’ve had mostly positive experiences.

Theoretically this is the earliest point you can ask so it’s more likely an exit seat is available.

Approach with a smile, ask them how their day is, and politely ask if there are any spare exit seats.

They’ll likely have a little look for you and if one is available they will likely offer it to you.

However, here they will sometimes cite the additional payment you need to make, which no one should pay. If this happens move onto stop number 2.

The Departure Gate.

Here is the place I try the least. Mainly because the staff are super busy trying to bored the flight and load of people are asking them stupid questions like “Does the plane have a left Felanji?”.

However, most of the time they’re still very helpful here and I’ve had successes ranging from moving to an aisle with 3 seats to myself, to an exit seat.

I’m pretty sure they cant take payments here, so if they give you an exit seat its for free!

On the plane.

The last chance. Once you’re on the plane, have a look at the exit rows to see if there are any seats free.

Politely speak to a cabin crew member (smile and wave to get their attention) and ask if there’s any chance there are exit seats free and if you could move to one.

Here if they say yes they’re not going to charge you the extra fee, but it can all depend on how the steward/ess is feeling on that particular flight.

Most of the time if there’s one free at this stage they’ll let you move there!

The result if you did well 😉

Tips if you’re successful


If it’s your golden ticket day and you’ve ended up in an exit seat without paying the extra fee, whatever you do don’t tell the other people sitting in your row.

It’s likely these suckers have paid for the privilege and if they find out you haven’t they’ll be pissed, and that might make your journey a tad awkward.


If they offer you a bulk head, my advice would be to say no.

You’re going to have a wall in front of you preventing you from stretching out like you could under a seat, and most likely a baby screaming and puking in your face.

So there you go. If you follow this plan, you will raise your chances of bagging an exit seat to their highest level. Don’t offer bribes, but do offer smiles.

Michael x

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23 thoughts on “How to Bag an Exit Seat For Free.

  1. This was an awesome read! Your’e right the entire plane crew will depend on you if you sit there, but the leg room is nice and I’m only 5’3…LOL

  2. So true.I can relate! Both from a crew and passenger perspective. As a former flight attendant I encountered this dilemma often. Also being 6ft myself I totally get the avatar in hobbit town complex. The key word we use in aviation is ABP. Able bodied passenger. Certain criteria apply and if you meet it and the seats free it’s yours! That’s for Emirates at least.

  3. Great post! The downside to the exit row seats is they don’t recline. My husband is 6’2″, and he use to always try to get these seats for us. I had to put a stop to it. He just sits in the aisle seat. I have a bad back and need to recline.

  4. Interesting tips! But I am too shy to even ask things like this so I will keep sitting on normal seats 😀 but as tall person (but not even closely as tall as you) I can understand why you would like some extra space… 🙂

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