I’m going to Muscatine, Iowa tomorrow. For those of you, like me, that didn’t know where that was: it’s 45 minutes from Moline, Illinois by car. The boring details of the trip involve depositions which, I suppose involve some persistent questioning, though that’s not what this post is about.
I’m flying AirTran. I bought the ticket last week online. Airtran.com is an OK e-commerce site. Except for one thing. You have to tell it numerous times that you don’t want to buy things that you didn’t have to buy a couple of years ago. Namely, the right to pick a seat.
When you buy you are asked, after you’ve bought “a seat,” if you’d like to choose a particular seat. Say yes and it will cost you anywhere from $6 to upwards of, I think $20 for an exit row seat. Say no and you could end up in a middle seat at the back of the plane unless you know how to play the game.
I’m a bit reluctant to tell my secret for getting an aisle seat for free; but, I can’t think of anything else to write about.
24 hours before your flight takes off (and I mean 24 hours, not 24 hours and 1 minute), you can go online to pick a seat. The site will tell you can buy a first class upgrade for between $49 and $129 depending on the length of the flight. Click no. It will then offer to again sell you a particular seat (see the third paragraph for details). Click no. It will then offer an icon to “pick your seat.” Click the icon. Here AirTran makes one last try for a bit more of your money, asking if you want to pay $10 for the privilege of boarding first with the disabled, those with young children and people in first class. Click no. Pick one of many open aisle seats shown on a little diagram of the plane.
Now you are home free and can print a boarding pass, which so far, they haven’t figured out a way to make money from.