lego planeMany of us don’t know what type of airplane we’re flying in until we get on board, if we care to find out at all. There are some good reasons to look up what type of aircraft you’ll be getting on before your next flight – it’s easy to do and but you need to know why first.

  1. Find The Best Seats – You won’t be able to find the seats with the most legroom, closest power outlets, or other amenities if you’re ignorant of the aircraft you’re flying on. Take advantage of SeatGuru and reserve the best seats on every flight.
  2. Use The Secret Seats – Many popular airplanes like Delta’s 757 or USAir’s 737 have secret seats, which aren’t the standard aisle or emergency exit seats either. When booking your next flight find out the aircraft you’ll be flying on so you can request a secret seat by calling the airline ahead of time.
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If you’re particularly fearful of flying you can examine the airplane’s safety card or check out how many times your aircraft has crashed.

How To Find Out The Type of Airplane Before Your Next Flight

In most cases you can get this information as you’re booking online underneath your flight itinerary. (Click seat map on Expedia or current seat availability on Travelocity.) You can also get this information by calling the airline directly, or better yet calling a travel agent or local airline office for this information, they’ll usually give it to you for free. (It’s faster than calling the main airline number.)

This can get confusing however if you’re given more than 1 flight number. Code-sharing allows airlines to extend their routes without actually adding planes and if you’re booking under one you’ll almost certainly have 2 flight numbers. As SeatGuru explains,

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When you book one of these flights, you’ll often see “Operated by” in your itinerary. Whoever the plane is operated by determines which airline’s plane will actually be flying the route. For example, you may have booked a United flight that says “Operated by US Airways”. If this is the case, you’ll want to look at the US Airways menu for your airplane.

Finally, if you’re already on SeatGuru you can use the website as a search engine by typing in the airline and 3-digit flight number. Incorporating aircraft and seat research into your 8 minute travel plans can not only keep your butt from getting less sore, but be useful in getting an idea how long it will take to actually board, so you can spend a few extra minutes at the airport bar.

[photo by: StreetFly JZ]