Josh Hartnett returned to New York from the Los Angeles Oscar parties in a most unusual way for a movie star: he flew coach.
Extreme overbooking on his February 25 United Airlines (UAL) flight meant that the 29 year-old star of the upcoming Warner Independent Pictures (TWX) film The Rum Diaries could not get an upgrade. "But it wasn't for lack of trying," an onlooker told the New York Post (NWS). "There were so many celebs on the flight, when he went to the counter to ask about a wait list they told him, 'You're number 55.'"
We can take comfort in knowing that even celebrities get stuck flying in the less spacious, and at times uncomfortable, coach end of an aircraft. But flying at the back of the plane does not have to be a low-rent experience. Travel professionals say there are ways to get the more out of flying coach.
If you plan on flying coach—and don’t get stuck there, Hartnett-style—before you even book your flight, visit SeatGuru.com (EXPE), says Bob Jones, an airline analyst with BookingWiz.com. The site displays the seating charts for all U.S. airlines, and for about a quarter of the international airlines. “They tell you which seats to pick and which to avoid,” says Jones. “The ones to pick—with the most leg space are reserved for elite member passengers, however 24 hours before departure the seats open up and you can pick whatever is best.” Exit rows generally have more leg room, says Jones. But watch out for planes with two exit windows because the first exit row tends to have seats that barely recline. “The last exit row is better because it reclines and gives you the extra leg room,” says Jones.