Arguments Against Reserving An Exit Row Seat [Roundup]

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I mean, many of those arguments against exit row seating are not true at all. Most exit row seats recline as long as there’s no exit behind you and I couldn’t imagine any airline that requires someone in the exit row to leave last; that part sounds like a total guess by the author as the “assist” part means things like open the overwing exit (as shown on the diagram he posted).

    Standing there “helping” people out would only delay things as people try to squeeze past you in that fairly narrow exit row. Is there any airline or regulatory body mandate that exit row passengers must leave last, or is he just pulling that out of his you-know-what?

  2. Another reason not to reserve an exit row seat is that you’re flying Southwest and you can’t reserve any seat. 🙂

    Seriously, on Southwest there is another reason to avoid choosing an exit row seat for extra legroom: You are likely to end up with a very large person sitting next to you. Because you aren’t the only person who wants the extra space. It’s better to choose a less popular row to increase your chances of an empty middle seat.

  3. @nsx – I second your comment about exit rows on SW. I’ve actually left an exit row window seat on SW because a very large person sat next to me and literally spilled well into my seat. I hurriedly moved to another row before all seats were taken. You can be fairly certain on SW that exit rows (which are free to anyone) will be full and your chances are good that the occupants will be larger than average.

    My experience on American is different because exit rows cost extr (but as an elite I can select for free). Therefore exit seats are usually reserved by other elites It’s not uncommon if the flight is full for the middle seat to remain open since people don’t usually pay extra to sit in the middle (even with a bit of extra leg room)

  4. Ken, that can also work on jetBlue as a Mosaic. I flew JFK-MSY last night with my daughter, and I selected 2A and 2C (extra space seats), since I figured that no one would pay extra to sit in 2B, since who wants to pay extra to sit in a middle seat? Or, for another Mosaic member, why would you select a middle seat if there were aisle seats available. So, the two of us got a row for ourselves.

  5. When sitting in an exit row, you are not required to be the last person remaining on a burning aircraft. Additionally, when selecting an exit row seat, you are not asked if you prefer non-smoking, smoking, or burnt beyond recognition.

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