A popular TikTok video offers a way to book a row of airlines just for you and a companion. This trick isn’t guaranteed to work—as you might need to rely on the kindness of strangers to keep your seats together—but it’s still your best chance to travel together with an empty row. Plus, it’s free.
How to get seats together on an airplane
Travel TikToker Chelsea Dickenson from Cheap Holiday Expert posted this video that explains how you can game the seat selection process to ensure a row for just you and a companion:
“If traveling in a pair, you’re looking for a free row, but booking the aisle and window, leaving the middle seat between you. The theory is that someone is much less likely to book a seat between two strangers and they’ll opt for another row. And even if they do book that middle seat you can ask them if they want the aisle or the window and it works out for everyone.”
This trick does require some finesse and a bit of luck. You still need to book early, when an entire empty row is still available (Dickenson recommends the back rows, or row 13, which a lot of people avoid due to superstition), and there are no guarantees that someone will avoid booking that seat between you and your companion, especially on busy holiday flights. However, Dickenson says that by doing this, she’s secured an entire row for her and a companion roughly 60% of the time.
Don’t be a jerk about it
And since you’d be intentionally booking a seat that you don’t intend to use, and potentially annoying a stranger by asking them to switch seats, you can’t be a jerk about it, either. When making the request, be super polite and only ask them once. If they prefer to sit in the middle seat, that’s your problem, not theirs.
Despite the risk of not having your seats together, the trick does secure a free row often enough, as most people don’t like the middle seat and will only book it as a last resort.
“Been doing this for [the] last 7-8 years,” says one TikTok user in the comments to Dickenson’s video. “Unfortunately, it works half the time as planes are often fully occupied. But the theory is correct.”