Passports: Simon Calder issues advice on expiry requirements

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The expert team at Travel Lens shared their best hacks to get “extra legroom” for free. While the tips are guaranteed to work, it’s always worth a shot.

Plan ahead

“If you’re travelling with a partner or friends, then you have a good chance of having a row to yourself for free, if one of you books the window seat and the other books the aisle seat.

“If you do this, it’s highly unlikely another passenger will book the seat in between you, so this is a good tip to keep in mind.”

Passengers will have more room to spread out if they’re lucky as the middle seat may be empty.

However, this tip is unlikely to work on busy flights and friends could end up separated by a stranger.

Get seat notifications

“There are apps and websites available, such as ExpertFlyer, which send you notifications when a better seat becomes available on a flight.

“If it is time to check in and a roomier seat is available, there’s no harm in asking staff members on the desk if you could move to this seat, as they may agree to it.”

Some passengers cancel flights at late notice and an extra legroom seat could become available.

Travellers could always try asking airline staff if they can switch seats to a more roomier option.

Avoid checking in early

“If you’re flying alone or with someone but are fine sitting on your own, then it’s worth taking a risk and checking in once the majority of other passengers have, as there may be seats with extra room available which the airline is then happy to allocate to the remaining passengers for free.”

Although this might seem very risky to anxious travellers, checking-in late could mean a passenger secures an extra legroom seat.

If the flight is about to leave and the seat is likely to be left empty, they may let a passenger move for free.

Use frequent flyer schemes

“If you travel regularly and often use the same airline, it’s worth asking whether they have any schemes which reward returning customers.

“Many airlines do this and once you book your ticket and input your unique passenger code, you’ll have access to member perks such as additional legroom at no extra cost.”

Frequent flyer schemes can be a good way to access perks if passengers regularly travel with the same airline.

Extra legroom seats are likely to be offered to loyal customers before they are available to everyone.

Choose a front-row seat

“Most airlines will charge extra for seats on the front row, but this isn’t always the case for larger planes which have separating walls between classes, as most people don’t want to pay for extra legroom, only to be sat facing a blank wall for the duration of the flight.

“With this in mind, carry out some research and see if seats in these rows have more space and for no extra cost.”

Seats at the front of the aircraft may have less view outside or could be near to the plane’s toilet.

If passengers are willing to forgo a view and don’t mind being sat next to the toilet queue, they could benefit from extra legroom for less.

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