Snagging the good seats on flights

Airlines shrinking seat size

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - If you feel like it's a tighter squeeze getting into an airplane seat these days, you could be right. Coach seats are shrinking on major airlines, but there are ways to help you score a more comfy spot on the plane.

According to the Wall Street Journal's Marketwatch, airlines are shrinking seat size in an effort to squeeze more passengers onto each flight. But the tight fit can be far from comfortable.

The journal reports that the average airline seat offers 31 inches of legroom, down from 32 inches.

Several airlines are kicking that foot space down an inch or so in the coming years.

Websites such as Farecompare and Seatguru also report thinner seat cushions are appearing in the planes too.

So what's a traveler to do?

First, comparison shop. Legroom and seat width vary on different carriers, so check websites like Seatguru for seat ratings.

Second, angle for an upgrade. If you are a frequent flyer, airlines will often upgrade you to roomier seats.

Honeymooners and military personnel may also be able to get some special treatment.

If at first you don't succeed, go back and check about 48 hours before departure. That's when many elite fliers get their upgrades, which could free up some better economy seats.

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