Trust me on this but note that this goes for Economy class flying. If your'e flying business, you want to be first on board. Allow me to explain. More often than not I'd find myself waiting last to board in order to take advantage of empty seats that I could score. Oftentimes, airlines will leave a section of seats or even two full seats open at random (sometimes for the flight attendants to sleep there, sometimes it's just a hole in the booking system). Either way, if you wait until last, you have your pickings of open seats to choose. Why be stuck for 10 hours beside a family of 3 when you can have the whole row in front all to yourself? This works most of the time, but not all of the time. And if you're flying domestic in the US, you might want to be first to score that extra overhead bin space. For business/first class? Get settled, have a drink, get in the right headspace and relax before takeoff.
- Economy. If you're flying economy, especially for international flights, you want to wait to be last person to board. 9 times out of 10, I've found that if I do this, I have my choosing of empty seats that I can score. If I see a row that's empty, since everyone has already boarded, I will make sure to sit there and act like it's my row. Confidence is key! Don't wait until you've taken off and definitely don't ask a flight attendant if you can sit there. In my experience, they'll say no, and you'll likely be the sore loser if you wait until you've taken off, as someone will probably have scooted over to the seats before you. Note: you have to have a quick eye when utilizing this approach. You're the last one to board which means you need to get to your "seat" quickly... assess your surroundings with a speedy eye and if you don't see any rows available, grab the next best seat.
- Business. Business class travelers will know that getting there early is what it's all about. Get comfortable, go through your amenities kit, order breakfast and lunch/dinner in advance, have a glass or two of champagne, get changed into your pj's, ensure that your last e-mails are sent out, choose your movie, and turn on some relaxing tunes. Getting situated early if you're flying business is enjoyable. No one likes to rush a glass of champagne or last minute e-mail!
- First. Always first.