This Is Why You Can’t Select Certain Seats On Your Flight

Online seat selection is one of the great joys of air travel in the 21st century. Having the choice between an aisle seat and a window seat is a really lovely perk. However, you may have noticed that not every seat is available for selection online, no matter how early you check in.

It turns out that some airlines block certain seats from the selection map on purpose. Though it’s not always easy to tell which seats have been blocked and which have simply been selected by another passenger, some seats are known for being doled out by airlines on the day of departure to VIP passengers.

For example, Seat 1A is usually reserved for elite travelers, even if all the seats in a certain class cost the same. Airlines are also known to block of seat selection for seats that must be reserved by groups, such as suites or quad-seating areas.

And of course, you may not be able to select some seats because the carrier has actually reserved them for an unlikely person – the pilot. Since all passengers places are crewed by at least two pilots and modern planes have sophisticated autopilot systems, it’s not uncommon for pilots to take a nap in a business or first class seat for an hour or two.

And no matter what, if you’re looking to upgrade to a better seat, it’s always worth being polite to flight attendants and gate agents.