It is always more pleasant to fly on an uncrowded flight than on a crowded one. There may be a free middle seat next to you, giving you more room to stretch out. You will also have plenty of space to put your carry on bags away and won't have to wait for the bathroom. Finding out if your flight is crowded can help you prepare for the trip ahead, and there are several ways to do so.

Purchase your ticket online. In most cases, you will receive a series of letters and numbers called a "record locator" that allows you to access your reservation and check in on flight day. Most airlines allow you to choose your seat when you purchase your ticket.

Option #1: Call the airline's toll-free ticketing number and ask if this is a full flight. Make sure you have your ticket or record locator on hand in case they ask for it.

Option #2: A few days before your flight, log in to the airline's website, provide the record locator for your ticket and try to change your seat. This will take you to a page showing all the available seats on your airline. You can count how many seats are still open to get an idea of how crowded your flight is.

Option #3: If your airline does not allow you to select seats when you buy your ticket, it will most likely allow you to choose it when you check in. Most major airlines except for Southwest let you choose your seat before you get on the plane. Check in electronically 24 hours before your flight and count the number of free seats.

Option #4: When you get to the gate, ask the gate agent if the flight is full. The agent may not know if the flight is completely full, but she will probably have a pretty good idea of whether it is crowded and will tell you.

At the gate you can also listen for updates. If the flight is completely full or overbooked, they will probably announce it over the gate public address system.

Things You Will Need
  • Ticket

  • Copy of your record locator