Choose Your Seat for Free! How to Avoid Airline Seat Selection Fees

If you're traveling, you may be wondering which airlines will let you choose your seat for free. Only certain airlines offer free seat selection.


Feb. 23 2023, Published 12:58 p.m. ET

Summer is right around the corner, and despite the gloomy economic forecast, consumers have a sunnier outlook and they’re ready to book their 2023 getaway.

And while it’s almost certain travel will cost a little more this year, there are ways to save a few dollars and avoid some common airline fees.

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If you like to travel, you might be wondering which airlines let you choose your seat for free. We’ve got you and your bank account covered. Keep reading for all the details.

Which airlines let you choose your seat for free?

Source: Getty Images

Man sitting on a seat in the plane.

Inflation and increased interest rates are having a negative impact on all aspects of Americans’ budgets — including travel. But after being stuck indoors, travelers are willing to pay a little more for the trip, and cut other expenses like airline seat selection fees.

So, which airlines will let you choose your seat for free? While most airlines will let you choose your seat for free, you need to know how to navigate the site to skip seat selection altogether.

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Airlines make it look like you have to pay to pick your seat, but you actually don't.

Airlines want to show you the lowest price possible on search engines, and then they’ll upsell you in the end. That’s why you’ll see a popup asking you to select a specific seat in addition to the base cost of your airline ticket.

However, the fees presented to you can be misleading and make you think you have to choose a seat to continue with your purchase, but you don’t.

What airlines don’t want you to know is that you can skip the seat selection fees and choose your seat for free. Or fly an airline that has low-cost seat fees like JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, or Hawaiian Airlines.

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Source: Getty Images

Planes at the airport

Here's how to avoid the seat selection fees.

When you’re booking a flight, a pop-up may appear and ask you to pick your seat. And while you may think you have to pick a seat, in most cases you can simply hit "continue: to move forward with your reservation.

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So, what happens next? Don’t worry, on most airlines you’ll be assigned a seat at check-in or at the gate, and even though you run the risk of getting stuck with a middle seat, the plane won't leave without you (unless you end up at the bar and forget to board).

If you're clever, you may be able to hack the system and score a seat upgrade.

United Airlines has made family seating more affordable.

United Airlines recently announced changes to their seating policy which will make it easier for families who are looking to sit next to their younger children.

The policy change, which will go into effect in March, comes after federal officials urged airlines to make sure families can sit together for free. The updated seat map feature will help seat kids under 12 years old next to an adult in their party at no additional cost.

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