We know what it's like. Selecting airline seats can be difficult. What is the difference between window or aisle? Do you prefer a standard seat or a preferred one? Is it over the wing or not. I would like to score a great seat at check-in.

It's possible that your ideal seat isn't available when you book. Who has time to check a seat map multiple times a day in the hopes that a better one will open up?

It is possible for ExpertFlyer to do this for you. You can set an alert for a window or aisle seat with a free membership. I will show you how to set ExpertFlyer seat alert.

ExpertFlyer overview


It's free for anyone to join, but there are two paid memberships that give you access to more features and functions. You can sign up for a free trial if you are a new member. The membership levels are listed here.

  • Free: Set an alert to notify you when a more desirable seat opens up on your flight. You’re limited to one free alert at a time, though you can add more for $0.99 each.
  • Basic ($4.99 per month): Offers additional features, such as award and upgrade inventory search and flight availability. You can set four seat alerts simultaneously, but you're limited to 250 queries per month.
  • Premium ($9.99 per month, or $99.99 per year): Includes flexible search options, unlimited queries and the ability to create aircraft change alerts and flight alerts. You can have up to 200 combined flight and seat alerts simultaneously.

Our beginner's guide to finding award space with ExpertFlyer is a good place to start. The guide will only focus on ExperFlyer seats.

How to set an ExpertFlyer seat alert


Even if you choose the free membership tier, you can still set a seat alert. Gather your flight information before you go to ExpertFlyer. The following information is needed for your flight.

  • Departure airport.
  • Arrival airport.
  • Date.
  • Airline name or International Air Transport Association (IATA) code.
  • Flight number.
  • Class of service.

You can create a new seat alert by logging in to your account and clicking on the button.


Click "Search" if you don't find what you're looking for.

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Click to create a seat alert. Click "create" if you want to name your alert and pick your criteria. You will only be able to set up an alert for any seat, aisle or window seat if you are a member of ExpertFlyer.


If your seats become available, you'll be notified via email.

Make sure your family sits together on a plane.

When you'd want to set a seat alert


There are a number of times when you might need a better seat.

  1. Your preferred seat type (aisle or window) isn’t available.
  2. You’re stuck in a middle seat and prefer a window or aisle seat.
  3. You can’t find seats together for you and your spouse/friend(s)/family member(s).
  4. You’d prefer a seat in a different part of the plane (like closer to the front for ease of deplaning or closer to the back for restroom proximity).
  5. You want a specific seat, such as an exit-row seat or a seat in a two-seat row.

The ExpertFlyer seat alert feature can help you get out of your current seat and into a better one.

Using ExpertFlyer seat alerts

Let's take a look at how to use ExpertFlyer. A flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport is four weeks away. You want to avoid sitting in a middle seat. Standard window and aisle seats are no longer available.


You can set up an alert by logging in to your account and clicking on the "create new seat alert" link on the home page. You can enter the search criteria.

  • Departure airport name or code: JFK.
  • Arrival airport name or code: LAX.
  • Date: 11/27/2022.
  • Airline name or code: American Airlines (AA).
  • Flight number: 171.
  • Class of service: Economy.

The map will be pulled up by the site. Specific seats can be selected. I removed the complimentary aisle and window seats from the plane.


Click "create" to add these details. A notification will be sent to you immediately that your alert was successful.


You'll get an email notification when ExpertFlyer locates a seat that matches your criteria. It is up to you to choose the seat at that point. If your flight leaves within 48 hours, do so immediately. You want to maximize your chances of getting a better seat because open seats tend to be snapped up quickly.

With a free account, you can only get one alert at a time. You can't use a free alert to know about a window opening. For $0.99 per alert, you can purchase additional alert that are valid for the three additional alert settings.

You might want to upgrade to a basic or premium membership if you find yourself buying seat alert with a free account. You can use the additional alert settings if you are a member of these memberships. The Basic and Premium memberships give frequent award travelers a lot of benefits.

Some of the worst airline seats in America were flown by us.

How frequently are ExpertFlyer seat alerts successful?

ExpertFlyer could help you find an aisle or window seat, so you don't have to travel in the middle on United's Premium Plus. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

The data experiment was done to find out how often ExperFlyer seats are successful. Almost all of the ExpertFlyer seat alerts that had at least one search associated with them from August 1 through September 24 of this year were successful at some point.

This analysis was done using pre-pandemic data. When I want to move to a better seat on my flights, I set ExpertFlyer seat alert for my flights. There are a number of reasons why ExpertFlyer seat alert often find a better seat before take-off.

  1. Other passengers get upgraded.
  2. Other passengers change flights.
  3. Other passengers change seats.
  4. An airline changes the equipment type to a plane with more seats.
  5. An airline blocks seats but then opens these seats in the hours (or days) before departure.

You have to act quickly if you want to benefit from the expert flyer seat alert.

I had a spring break trip saved by ExpertFlyer.

Bottom line

You can set alert for awards and upgrades on dozens of airlines with a paid Premium membership in ExpertFlyer. It's a great tool for casual travelers because of the seat alert feature.

If you can't find a window or aisle seat that's right for you, I recommend starting a free ExpertFlyer membership and setting a seat alert to find a better seat. You can grab a window or an aisle seat if you want. If you're traveling with a friend or family member and can't find two seats together, it may be worth the $0.99 fee on a free ExpertFlyer membership to alert them.

The additional reporting was done by Kyle.