How to get the best seat in economy



David Whitley looks at how you can fly in relative comfort in the cheap seats.

If you’re flying economy, then you really don’t want to be stuck in the middle seat for hours. Here’s how best to avoid it and get the best seat possible

Pick your airline wisely: The variation in space between airlines is perhaps bigger than you might think, although in long-haul economy most airlines offer between 31 and 34 inches of pitch (ie. distance between seat backs), and between 16.5 and 19 inches of seat width. Obviously, you want the bigger number on both scores. Seatguru has a handy comparison table, comparing pretty much every airline and the planes they use. If there’s little difference in price between two airlines, the amount of space offered might be a crucial deciding factor.

Work out what the best seats are: Seatguru is also very useful for finding out the best and worst seats on a plane. It colour codes in green, amber and red for distinguishing features such as having extra legroom, being near the toilets, not having overhead locker space and not having a window. This, again, is broken down by airline, plane and even flight number if you want it to. 



Pick your seat as soon as possible: Airlines are increasingly stingy about letting people pick their seats in advance – many only allow it only 24 hours beforehand now – but doing it in advance can be the difference between getting an aisle seat and a middle seat. And no-one wants the middle seat.

Or… as late as possible: The other, extremely risky tactic is to leave it until you get to the airport and check in at the desk. That’s where you can ask how full the flight is, and work the charm to request a seat that currently has an empty seat next to it. This approach has significant drawbacks if it’s a full flight and the only seats left are middle seats. Or, for that matter, if you’ve got all the charm of a fungal infection. 

Use reverse psychology: The best way of getting a free seat next to you is choosing to sit next to the seat you’d least want. And the last seats most people want are middle near the back of the plane, in the middle of the plane. Therefore, if you pick an aisle seat near the back, in the middle section, you’ve got a much stronger chance of not having a neighbour and being able to spread out. Simply put, that neighbouring seat will be one of the last to go.

Or get sneaky: If you’re travelling as a couple, then it’s possible to make one seat on the plane significantly less appealing. If one of you picks the aisle seat in a bank of three, and another picks the window seat, then no-one’s really going to want to sit between you. If some unfortunate soul does end up there, then you can always ask if they want to swap rather than be between you. The other couple’s tactic is to pick two aisle seats opposite each other – ideally ones that haven’t got occupants for the neighbouring middle seats yet.




My Trip


My RTW itinerary

The moment you book any RTW flight with you can take advantage of a specially designed system to look at your itinerary online - it's through our reservation system and it's called View Trip - and it's a very convenient way for you to check your RTW flight itinerary online. To see your RTW itinerary online just click here


Group Discount


We've got a seriously amazing offer for RTW travellers travelling in a group. will discount your RTW (No forms to fill out, no waiting, just a cool £40-£60 off the top). Special Group Promotion

Purchase your RTW airfare from and receive the following discount (per passenger)

3 passengers = £30 discount
4 passengers = £45 discount
5 passengers = £60 discount

Rules and Restrictions:

  • You must book the same original RTW route throughout, and at the same time
  • Minimum purchase price is £1600 per person to qualify for the instant rebate.
  • Only one instant rebate granted per passenger.
  • This offer does not apply to Simple Round Trip or One Way tickets in Business, First or Economy class.
  • reserves the right to cancel or change this promotion at any time.

How to pay


The cheapest way to pay


Digital bank transfers from the UK

Bank transfers from within the UK are free to arrange digitally and are now the most popular way to pay. We can send you our bank details when you book. Two things to be aware of is that they can take a few days to clear and the price is only guaranteed when we receive funds in full.

Bank Transfers Worldwide

Free again. But sometimes your bank will charge you around £10 to arrange them from within the EU and more elsewhere. Three things to be aware of : we do ask that the payment is in British Pound Sterling (GBP), transfers can take a few days (3-5 is normal)  to clear, and the price is only guaranteed when we receive funds in full.



Call us up and pay by debit or credit card. We are on 020 7704 5700


UK Debit Cards

There is no surcharge on UK bank issued Debit cards (such as Maestro or Visa Debit). Be aware that some pre-paid debit cards and Electron cards do not work over the phone though.

American Express

Happy to accept them, however  there is a 3% credit card surcharge.


Fine. Visit our Islington store. Its open 6 days a week here


Haven't seen one in ages. Mainly because the do take up to 15 working days to clear and are being phased out by the banks.

How its done

Deposit and booking

Your trip usually can be held for a day or so. We are happy to give you all your trip details over the phone, but to continue to hold them, and to get a full detailed itinerary, a non-refundable deposit of £75 per person or 10% of the flight cost (whichever is more) is required. From here on until your remaining balance is due, any route or date changes are at their cheapest or even free. If you are booking any hotels, tours or hire cars, a non-refundable deposit of at least 10% is required.

Final payment

Generally, final full payment is due within 6 to 10 days of the booking being made. Some airlines are more lenient on this, but be aware that once final payment is taken, governments or airlines can’t pass on any tax rises or dubious fuel surcharges. In other words, the sooner you can pay for the lot, the better. The remaining balance of any hotel, tour or car hire bookings won’t be due until 10 weeks before you go.

The really really important bit

Check your documents

After the deposit is paid, you’ll be e-mailed a booking confirmation with full flight details and costings, plus the terms and conditions. It’s wise to check this thoroughly to ensure that everything is as you wish it to be. It is very easy to change things the day a deposit is paid. Tricky after a balance has been paid.

Concierge Service

Our RTW Concierge Service - Save up to £335*!
Your RTW concierge is here to help make your RTW adventure as enjoyable and hassle free as possible, as well as saving you time and money by offering you total support throughout your travels – the service is completely free, so the only costs incurred will be from airlines or other third parties (eg hotels or tour companies). This service is exclusive to ALL our customers! Here’s what your Our RTW Concierge Service can do for you:

  • Friendly help and advice on all your travel arrangements including hotels and RTW insurance
  • RTW date changes
  • Same day response when possible
  • Specialist RTW knowledge from the original RTW company
  • No administration fees – Our RTW Concierge service is free!
  • 10% off our RTW insurance
  • Round the world flights is what we do and we've sent over 70,000 people round the world
  • In the last few years. It's why we're Number 1 on Google and why we're recommended in over 70 Lonely Planet, Footprint, RG and Fodders guide books and countless newspaper recommendations
  • We also have loads of recommendations on Facebook and Google



Very senior consultants - this is Geoff!
With expert knowledge in all the worldwide destinations, our success comes from our staff; as a result we offer passengers the best service and advice whilst booking bespoke tailor-made itineraries, whatever your budget. In-depth training and ongoing product education supplement our Consultants’ personal knowledge and experience. Our Staff have also travelled extensively and we actively encourage their ongoing travel, ensuring that they collectively have first hand knowledge of our destinations, and therefore the average experience of our team working in the travel industry is now over 10 years per consultant, and most consultants have travelled to over 40 countries - some to over 80. Between us all we have visited over 90% of the recognised countries and states on this planet. Meet our strongest asset - it's our Senior Travel Consultants


RTW low cost guarantee

We work extremely hard to bring you the most knowledgeable consultants and the lowest possible prices. We back this up with our RTW Price Guarantee, in the unlikely event that you find a cheaper RTW quote elsewhere in the UK, we will do our very best to beat it. The rules are here

Check your RTW itinerary online
The moment you make any RTW flight with you can take advantage of a specially designed system to look at your itinerary online - our new and convenient way for you to check your RTW flight itinerary online. No phone calls, no having to visit our offices, no emails or letters. Just a few clicks and you can see your full itinerary at home, at the office - even while you’re on your travels!


How will our RTW Concierge Service help you? Well by saving you £335
Not only are we committed to providing you with first class service during your world trip, we provide this with no administration fees! We have spent over 13 years learning all there is to know about round the world trips. And if there's one thing we've learnt, it is that no matter how organised you may be, something is bound to change. We have found on average, our customers require approximately six changes to their flight schedules during their journey at up to £50 per change. This could cost you around £300 with other travel companies, but with us, it's completely free! We also offer a 10% discount on our insurance for all our RTW passengers - that saves an additional £35. Thus saving £335 plus....

Ticket Changes once you have left the UK
We know that the ability to change dates on a round the world ticket is very important, especially if you are planning on being away for a long time. To make your trip as hassle free as possible, provides a free date change service once you're travelling (subject to seat availability in the same booking class). The only fees payable by you will be those passed on from the airline or other third parties if they apply.

What airline fees are payable ?
On many ticket types, there is no fee to change dates. On others there is a set airline fee. We will of course provide details of these fees when you book with us.

Why is the Free Date Change Service important ?
We are the original round the world travel company and we have sold over 80,000 round the world tickets, and since we set up in 1997, we were the first company to offer a centralised date change service for people on round the world tickets. Our customers have told us that some airline offices make an additional ‘service’ of anything between £25 and £150 when date changes are meant to be free, or add these service charges to the set fee if one applies. By using our service, you avoid these additional ‘service’ fees.

  • It isn’t always easy to get hold of airlines on the phone. They don’t usually accept or respond promptly to emails and phone calls involve lengthy waits on hold.
  • Depending on where you are in the world, you have no guarantee of airline staff speaking good English.
  • Staff at airline offices around the world are not always familiar with the all of the rules and intricacies of round the world tickets.

RTW tickets feature many different airlines on one ticket. Even when these are part of a well known airline alliance, the reality is that the ‘right hand doesn’t always talk to the left hand’. Airlines often use different reservation systems and often cannot change dates on other airlines, or see flights changed by other airlines. This means additional calls are needed to each carrier to co-ordinate your changes.

You can avoid all these potential headaches by booking with Our customers tell us our free date change service is absolutely priceless, everything is processed by us in one place saving you time and money on your travels. Moreover, we don’t farm this process out to another office as some other companies do. Where possible, the consultant who made your original booking will look after you as you travel.

Just as is the case with booking your round the world ticket in the first place, the further in advance you do this, the better your chances will be of getting the dates you want!

Important Information

We will endeavour to get back to you ASAP (usually the same business day) and always within 72 hours. However please note that we cannot change any dates departing within 7 days and will also need at least 7 days notice to book any new dates – in these cases you must contact the airline directly . Please also note that we are only able to change certain airlines, and that sometimes a booking drops off our system and becomes embedded within an airline system after you have left the UK. In that case you MUST contact the airline directly. There are some fares that do not allow changes - ( please see your Booking Confirmation for details) and there are also some cases where although changes are permitted with the airline, they cannot be made by after you have left the UK. In these cases you MUST contact the airline directly.

How to change
If you want us to change your dates, please email your consultant and cc in This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your ideal dates and advise how flexible you are eg plus 3 days, plus or minus 1 day etc. For security reasons we will not do this over the phone. Please include your Booking Number and the debit or credit card you wish to use for any airline fees that will be noted on your booking confirmation (with expiry date and 3 digit security number). If you do this when you are in a place where you are able to access your emails regularly then it will definitely make your life easier too.