I was wondering if there is anyway of knowing how many seats were empty on any previous International flights? I am trying to figure out the pattern for the best season/day/time to fly in that airline when a lot of people dont tend to fly. I am flying with my wife and an infant and could not secure the bassinet seat on time. And even if I did get one, my unusually tall 1 year old son would not fit in it. So I am trying to see if I should get two seats (Aisle seat and window) for me and my wife, hoping that one will get the middle seat and I can sit my baby down a bit more comfortably. I know flights seat map can be a bit more unreliable. So if anyone has any advice or suggestion regarding my concern or any help on how can I secure comfortable journey without having to shell out thousands on upgrade to business class, I would appreciate your help.

Thank you!

Regards, Vik

P.S. I have already booked the seats and requested/blocked the seat in the airplane.

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    Why not just purchase the economy class middle seat for your son? Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 17:39
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    The days when planes flew with lots of empty seats are over. Many empty seats are quite the exception, airlines are pretty good at adjusting capacity (changing frequencies, changing aircraft) and prices (to fill empty seats) nowadays. Even if there were any empty seats on you flight, the probability you would get one exactly where you want it is very low.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 17:53
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    Depending on the airline, you may be able to purchase an adjacent seat as a 'comfort seat', which is then left empty. Fares applied vary, but as there will be no occupant certain taxes wouldn't apply, making it cheaper than outright buying a third ticket. Commented Jan 17, 2020 at 9:41

2 Answers 2


As a rule, airlines guard details about how full their planes are ("load factor") jealously, so this data is not available to the public.

However, price is a pretty good proxy for how full the flight is, and this data is available on sites like Google Flights. So if you check and see that (say) the Wednesday afternoon flight is always the cheapest, odds are it's also the emptiest.

All that said, these days airlines are pretty good at packing their planes to the last seat, so the only way to be sure of getting an empty middle seat is to pay for it.


As others wrote, that data is not publicly available for good reasons.

You can try to game the system by trying to book a ticket for each flight, one hour or so before it leaves. If they are still available, you know that the flight isn't full. If you care, you can try to book 9 tickets, and if they are not available, work your way down to know how many are exactly still there.
[Note that it doesn't work to get to 18 with using two devices in parallel, as the same seats are offered to all people that try to book them - until they paid, and you don't want to pay.]

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    Tickets being available for sale does not guarantee there are spare seats available (although tickets being unavailable strongly implies there aren't). Overbooking will apply as some tickets sold go unused by passengers who fail to arrive, misconnect, or have flexibility to change their flight. Space in higher cabins might be used to sell in a full economy cabin, then upgrades will be used to prevent bumping anyone. Or they may simply get it wrong and oversell! Then there's passengers from earlier disrupted flights, standby / staff travel etc who get added at the last moment. Commented Jan 17, 2020 at 9:56

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