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Bulkhead Seats on Continental Air

Has anyone had any recent experience booking a bulkhead seat on Continental? Most of the info I get online is general -- not specific to an airline. Some things say that you should get to the airport early to ask for those seats. Other things that I've found said that you can change your seat online three days before. Didn't know if anyone had actually done this and could tell me how they did it. Would love to know if this is actually a possibility so we can stretch our legs out on the flight!

Posted by
10308 posts

Traditionally, the bulkhead seats are not released except to the gate agent. You'll mostly find families there. If you dont' mind sitting next to a bunch of kids, then go for it.

However, I'd suggest trying to get emergency row seats. Lots of legroom and no kids allowed.

Posted by
932 posts

Frank, are exit rows also only released the day of the flight? If not, then someone else has already booked all of those seats. And actually, our plane is pretty small, and there are only 3 bulkhead seats together in each area. So I guess unless someone is traveling with a child in their lap, it's not possible to get sat next to a bunch of little ones in this case. So we may go for it anyway...

Posted by
1821 posts

I can't speak to CO, but I can tell you that on Delta the exit and bulkhead seats are NOT held for gate agent release but are avaialble to frequent flyers. (For example I have exit rows booked for my upcoming trip to Paris)

Now the airlines MAY open those up a few days before the flight or they may hold them for the gate agent. That seems to depend on the airline and the flight "status" (i.e, oversold, not sold out at all etc.....)

I would just keep checking and then arrive early and ask. If there are any left they go quick!

Posted by
1821 posts

Frank,

Some airlines do have the "Economy Plus" feature you asked about. CO does not, nor does Delta. The only US carrier I know of that does is United. BA also has it. In that case anyone can have the seats if they pay.

For most airlines the "pay more for exit" rows seems to have died a slow death. There are exceptions, but it's not the rule.

Posted by
2193 posts

Amy: Do you use www.seatguru.com? Not knowing the equipment you’ll be flying, some of the bulkhead seats on Continental aren’t that great. On the 767, for example, people congregate in your leg space while waiting on the lavatory. The galley is also right in front of you, so it can be busy. Families with infants can sit there, and it looks like the legroom is actually restricted by an inch or so (weird). I booked a flight on a different airline months ago for an upcoming trip this fall, and neither the bulkhead nor the emergency row seats were available way back then.

Ask the counter agent when you check in if any of those seats are available. Ask again when you get to the gate. I remember some college guys doing something similar on a BA flight from Chicago to London a few years ago…they were able to move to business class at no extra charge (fluke, but they pulled it off simply by schmoozing with the gate agent). Needless to say, they were happy.

Posted by
10308 posts

Amy, as Carol stated, the emergency row seats are not avail to everyone. Elite FF can book them if they are empty. Seats that may look booked to you may just be blocked off for FF or for day of departure. (when an elite FF logs on, they will see a different seat map than you do in regards to seats available. )

Additionally, children and the disabled may not sit in an emergency row. If you cannot handle opening the door/window, then you will be moved.

Bulkheads are the same. Elite FF's or families who have called ahead will get priority. If they are not claimed, then anyone can request them.

Depending on the type of plane, the emergency row can have more room than the bulkhead.

There are ways around this....however...you can't do it. Only a professional might be able to get around it depending on his/her relationship with the airline or if it was for corporate travel and the company had a relationship with the airline. As for the infrequent, low fare paying,
leisure passenger, well, we're at the bottom of the list.

However, you can always call and ask. The worse they can do is say no.

Posted by
21356 posts

I thought some of the airlines were actually charging extra for these seats. Also, are of the first few rooms in economy now called economy plus with an additional fee?

Posted by
932 posts

Hi everyone,
Well, I suppose I should have called Continental before posting here as some of my questions have now been answered! I just called, and according to that ticket agent, the Exit Row and Bulkhead seats are released 24 hours prior to the flight. She said that just as I chose my seat when I booked the ticket, I will be able to pick that seat if someone else hasn't snatched it. Here is the link to my plane (Continental 757-200) on seatguru: http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Continental_Airlines/Continental_Airlines_Boeing_757-200_I.php
It looks like considering how small this plane is, there are only 6 bulkhead seats. But there are 12 exit row seats. But I noticed that 3 of the 6 bulkhead seats are in an exit row. So doesn't that only leave 3 seats for those with children? I'm not too concerned with noise from kids because I've got some killer earphones that will block out annoying crying or screaming. Like one of you pointed out, there would be the possibility of people congregating right in front of us because of the lavoratory and galley. So at this point, I guess I will leave it up to my husband! The exit rows are fine with me, I'm usually too hot, so I'm not worried about the colder temps there. But I wasn't crazy about no recline in the seats. I guess I'll have to rig my pillow just right to keep my head from bobbing! If anyone has an opinion after looking at the seatguru link, let me know!

Posted by
964 posts

In answer to the comment made about some airlines charging extra for bulkhead seats, last time I flew with Virgin Atlantic from London to Miami, I paid £50 extra at the airport for a bulkhead seat. That was a couple of years ago, I don't know if Virgin are still selling those seats.

Posted by
2193 posts

Looks like you’ll have a few really decent options with rows 7, 8, or 16. What’s up with all of the limited legroom with seats BCDE? That leaves only A and F as seat options with all of the standard legroom underneath…problem is that they’re on opposite sides of the aisle next to the windows. I’ve flown on Icelandair’s 757s before, but we had a nice break and connection in Reykjavik on the way over and stayed in Reykjavik on the way back. So, the limited cabin space wasn’t that big of a deal for us on these shorter legs. I wouldn’t even have an issue with a smaller plane for a longer haul as long as my seats were on the aisle…a 757 still feels a little larger to me than, say, a 737 when you’re in the cabin (perhaps not a lot but enough). Hope you can nab those bulkhead seats when you check in.

Posted by
689 posts

Amy, does Continental release those exit row seats online 24 hours in advance, or do you have to do it at the airport counter? I'm taking them to NY next week and it would be nice to get an exit row.

Posted by
2788 posts

I hope everyone booking airline tickets online goes to www.seatguru.com to check out the seats on their plane. If you don't know the type of plane, try calling the airline and ask them. Also, at 6'3" I do not take bulkhead seats because there is no place to stick you legs like there is when you have a seat in front of you. However, it is nice there not to have someone reclining their seat into your face before the plane even leaves the gate!! I think all of the 757's have only one center isle so on long trips, there is SO much competition for that space: beverage and food carts, people going to and from the bathroom, and those just wanting to walk around. I try to fly 767's (or AB 330"s) that have 2 center isles for those reasons. I use to be able to get emergency exit row seats by going to the check-in counter VERY early, but no more. As others have pointed out, most airlines now allow very FFers to reserve them ahead of time. Consequently, I now see some folks sitting in those emergency exit rows that could not open and toss that exit door if their life depended on it and unfortunately, mine just might. NWA was charging extra for isle seats and exit row seats a while back - don't know if they still are after merging with Delta.

Posted by
932 posts

Hi Christy, I believe I asked about exit rows as well as bulkhead rows. So per what the agent told me, they are released 24 hours out ONLINE. So make sure you're on the internet 24 hours out so you can get in that seat! That is assuming that their continental flights are the same as international.
Charlie, I'm only 5'0", so luckily I don't have a problem with leg room!!! ;) I just thought it would be nice to feel less claustrophobic in those seats. No to mention, I constantly get up to go to the bathroom and wouldn't have to move a sleeping person to go!

Posted by
689 posts

Thanks Amy! I usually take Alaska for all my domestic flights so Continental policies are new to me. I'm small too, it's just nice to have the room of course...

Charlie I hear you on the 757 thing. We passed up an amazing fare from Seattle to Paris on Icelandic Air this year (in favor of a more expensive Air France flight) because I couldn't imagine flying a 757 on a transatlantic flight.

Posted by
2193 posts

Christy: It’s really not bad…the connection in Reykjavik helps. I couldn’t pass up the fare the last time I flew with Icelandair…$425 pp RT is hard to beat. And, they’ve completely updated the cabins…new leather seats, entertainment system, etc.

Posted by
2193 posts

True...13 lbs may be a little tight for some. I managed with the same bag I always use: small Victorinox Swiss Army backpack. No problem. It can be done.

Posted by
932 posts

Chrsty, when are you leaving? I'd love to hear if all this information is accurate!

Also, is seatguru.com more detailed than the actual airline's website? I ask because the diagram of the plane on Continental.com doesn't show all that space in front of the exit rows like it does on seatguru.com. Seatguru.com shows FOUR rows with extra footroom but continental.com doesn't even show any extra space.

Posted by
2193 posts

Amy: In my experience, www.seatguru.com offers reliable and accurate information. Another good site that you might wish to try for cross-reference is www.seatexpert.com. The least helpful alternatives, in my opinion, are the airline websites. They’re okay for basic configuration info.

Posted by
932 posts

Thanks, Michael. I actually like that site a lot better! If I remember, I'll let everyone know what happens when I try to change my seats...

Posted by
689 posts

Amy, I leave next Saturday so Friday morning I'll see if I can change seats online, and I'll let you know.

I also love Seatguru but do think it's odd that there would be a discrepancy on seating charts between the airline and the site. You're looking at the right "version" of the 737 or 757 on Seatguru? These places have a number of different configurations.

Posted by
689 posts

Hi Amy, I just checked in and they did indeed release exit row and premium seats (these were just regular economy seats close to the front, from what I could tell). So we got our exit row. There was a slight discripancy between what seat guru and what continental say the 757-300 is like, by the way.

Posted by
932 posts

Hi Christy, we too were able to get our exit row! I couldn't figure it out online, but I called and the guy switched it out for us. We were very grateful. So much leg room. It was quite comfortable. I don't think they're rigid about the 24 hours out rule, because the guy next to us told us that he had booked the seat a few days in advance. So we will be at the airport a few times before the flight back, and we're going to ask for the same row. Seatguru was right on for our plane...

Posted by
82 posts

We were placed in the bulkhead seats on a British Airways flight and it was awful; With the few extra inches of legroom, the others passengers started treating the bulkhead as an aisle to get across from one side of the plane to another to get to the vacant bathroom. It was unnerving to be trying to sleep and have passengers step over you, on you, or steady themselves by putting their hands on you, and then give you a dirty look if you ask them not to cut through your row. Then there were the loud talkers that thought it was a lounge where the could share travel stories. Thought the extra legroom would be great but it was treated as community property by other passengers and flight attendants were less than helpful.

Posted by
932 posts

Yes, Ken. Good point. These were things that were pointed out on seatguru.com which is why we changed our mind and went with the exit row. If anyone has to get by you in that row, you're in trouble! ;)