Many travelers know what it's like to have a miserable seat on an airplane - the chatterbox in the next seat, the seat that doesn't recline....
But you can take steps to get a more desirable seat.
First, go to your airline's Web site and look at the seating configuration for your flight. If you are traveling with someone, and the plane features three seat rows, ask for a window and an aisle. If the flight is not full, the chances are good that no one will be assigned to the middle seat.
If crying babies are your pet peeve, ask for a seat in an exit row. Infants and children may not sit in these rows. (Avoid bulkhead rows as these are generally given to families with small children.)
Also, look at the configuration charts to avoid seats that are in front of the exit row, or in front of galleys and lavatories - they generally will not recline.
If these strategies fail, watch as the passengers board and target desirable seats. When the door closes and before the plane starts rolling, quickly hop into your seat of choice.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society