Story   Photographer   Editor   Student/Intern   Assistant   Job/Item

 Front Page
 Member Index
 Latest Headlines
 Special Features
 'Fun Pix'
 Message Board
 Educate Yourself
 Equipment Profiles
 Classified Ads
 Monthly Clip Contest
 Annual Contest
 Current Issue
 Back Issues
 Members Area
 "The Guide"
About Us:
 About SportsShooter
 Contact Us
 Terms & Conditions

Sign in:
Members log in here with your user name and password to access the your admin page and other special features.



|| News Item: Posted 2008-12-02

Travel Smart: Choose your AIRLINE and your SEAT
By Doug Murdoch, Think Tank Photo

Photo by Doug Murdoch / Think Tank Photo

Photo by Doug Murdoch / Think Tank Photo

Is there room under the seat in front of you for your bag?
As a photographer, you need to board the plane early in the process to ensure that your gear can go in the overhead or under the seat.

How your chosen airline boards the plane is just as important as the seat that you choose. Although there are sites like or to help people understand the seating arrangement on a particular type of plane, but what they don’t do is tell you how a particular airline like United, Delta, or British Airways actually allow people to board the plane, which is of critical importance to photographers.

Check out this website:

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see a chart that shows "Boarding Systems" like "Back-to-Front," "rotating-zone," "Outside In," etc. and the airlines that use them.

Say for example you are considering flying on Frontier in Economy and you have never flown with them before. According to the chart, they board Back-to-Front, so you can simulate the boarding with the illustrations that are above.

If you watch the simulation, then you will understand that the people on the back of the plane get on first, so if you want to make sure there is enough room in the overhead for your photo gear, then you better be located from the mid section to the back section.

In contrast, United uses the "Outside In" method, which basically means window seats firsts, middle seats second, and then aisle last. So in this scenario, the best seats to insure enough overhead space would be a window seat, or a middle seat from the mid section of the plane to the back.

Personally, I like the window seat. But it would be a serious mistake for me to think that if I choose a window seat, that there will be enough room in the overhead compartment.

For example, if I fly Air Canada, which uses a "Back-to-front" boarding system, and I choose a window seat towards the front of the plane, then I will be boarding last (as opposed to United, where I would be boarding first).

As always, you need to fully research the airline, the type of plane, your seat, AND the boarding system.

(Doug Murdoch is the president and a designer at Think Tank Photo. You can also read his blog at His column "Travel Smart" discusses information and concerns for the traveling photographer.)

Contents copyright 2018, Do not republish without permission.
What to do with an empty fish tank and a diving board? Go for a swim! ::..