Getting good seats:
To get a good seat on the airplane, get there early to snag the exit aisle seats. On the 777's, there is no one in front of you, and you're more towards the front. (On our trip to France, the person who got the aisle seat next to Phil's original seat checked in at Seattle at 9:30 for our 4:30 flight. So you gotta get there early!)
If you can't get an exit aisle seat, try to get one of the side seats towards the front if it's a full flight. On a 777, the seat arrangement is 2-5-2, so you won't have as many people climbing over you during the course of the flight.
At the gate or at the Red Carpet Club, ask the counter agent to get you a better seat once the upgrades have cleared. Typically those first in line for upgrades also have the best seats in coach. So once they get upgraded their seats become available for you to get.
Getting your baggage quickly:
When checking in baggage, ask the counter agent to tag it priority for you. This would normally be done if you were flying business or first class, but it won't be done when you're flying in coach unless you ask. When your baggage is tagged priority it's the first baggage off the plane which really helps if you have a tight connection.
Dealing with Connections:
If you have to connect to another flight, watch the departures screen closely. Try to get on the first flight out that you can to your connecting destination. (Our original flight eventually arrived one hour after our flight to Paris.) If you fly a lot, having a membership in your airline's club is really helpful because they can quickly fix your tickets for you.
Prior to leaving, I downloaded a demo version of the OAG for my Palm. That enabled me to quickly call up all the flights between SFO and LAX and CDG. This is a really handy reference should your flight get delayed.