Everyone loves babies—until they find themselves sitting beside one on a long-distance flight. Because if we’re being honest, planes these days can barely fit our own two legs… much less a wailing and screeching infant.
Fortunately, we’re not the only ones with a low tolerance for pint-sized travelers. About one-third of fliers say they would willingly pay extra to avoid sitting with children, according to a 2011 TripAdvisor survey. But you can put your wallet away for now; there’s an easier (and cheaper!) way to save your sanity on your next flight.
To lower your odds of sitting directly next to a child, choose a seat located far away from the airplane’s partitions, one Reddit user says. Partitions (also called bulkheads) are among the only places on a plane that can safely hold a baby seat, which makes them more attractive to young families. (And these are the best seats on an airplane for every type of need.)
On the other hand, you could also stick to flights that are typically unfavorable or inconvenient for parents traveling with small children. Online user Kate Gregory recommends booking red-eye flights; parents prefer flying during the day for fear that their child won’t sleep on a plane overnight. Gregory also suggested opting for a more expensive ticket in first or business class, which often price out big families. (You also might want to choose a middle seat; this is why they may be the roomiest.)
If all else fails—and you’re desperate—you could always try offering a fellow passenger money to switch seats. Keeping $20 to $50 cash in your pocket could come in handy should you find yourself seatmates with an infant. Still, when you approach another passenger for the swap, honesty is the best policy. “Be upfront with your reason for wanting to switch,” traveler Fabio Beltramini said, “as they will likely be suspicious otherwise.”
Once you memorize these plane hacks before your next flight (including which one is the safest seat on the plane!), you’re practically guaranteed to have the best travel experience yet.