What’s the best seat on the airplane?
Good question. It doesn’t really have an answer.
Well, it does. Any first or business class seat is always the best – especially when equidistant from the lavatory. The ultimate seat is an aisle/window, in the middle of the section.
Combined with the never-ending supply of champagne, endless movie selections, and delicious meals, that seat is heaven. Why on Earth would you get off the plane?
In any case, where you sit in a flight can make or break your journey – especially if it’s a long one. I sifted through our 50+ En Route With features, and also asked you (via my newsletter) where you prefer to sit on a flight, and why.
The overwhelming answer? The aisle – for easier access to the bathroom and some extra room to stretch your legs. The window seat was a solid second, as you can lean against the bulkhead to sleep and enjoy the view.
What surprised me was that a few people answered the middle seat. While this deserves its own post, I was impressed that there are selfless people who wanted to sit with their loved ones at the expense of their own comfort.
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Regardless of what seat you sit in, sitting 2-3 rows away from the lavatory is a must. The light and sounds from them is disruptive, whether you’re trying to sleep, work or enjoy a movie.
Also, the smells.
I personally avoid the first row in any section, as I hate giving up the space in the seat in front of me. I’ll take less leg room and to wait longer in favor of a less disruptive flight.
My flight type dictates my seat preferences. If it’s a short flight (3 hours or less), I prefer the window for quick naps and to enjoy the view. I’m careful to apply (and reapply) sunscreen when I sit here, thanks to Ada. On long flights in economy, I opt for an aisle seat so I can get up and walk – and use the lavatory. If I’m traveling with my husband, we take turns in the middle seat.
If I’m lucky to be traveling in business class with my husband or father, I’ll take the window seat. I can climb over them with relative ease, but can’t say the same for them. Our seats are always in the middle of the cabin – equally spaced between the galley and the lavatories, and with minimal disruption.
I’m not alone in being incredibly particular about my seat choice. Here’s what other travelers have to say
For domestic flights, if it’s three hours or less, I sit in a window seat as close to the front as possible (but not the first row – need that under-seat storage). If it’s more than three hours, I go with an aisle seat. In general I hate having to constantly get up to let people out of the row, but my own dislike of doing so makes me very anxious when asking others to get up, so if it’s a long enough flight that I may need to use the bathroom, I opt for the aisle.
For international flights, I fly business, and depending on the layout of the plane, my first choice is a standalone pod (no one on either side). If none are available or the plane doesn’t have them, I prefer a window seat; I’ve learned the hard way that I cannot stay asleep if I’m on the aisle and someone is climbing over me…and most people are not able to pull that maneuver off without banging into some part of my body or the seat. No matter what, I try for a seat in the middle of the cabin so that I’m nowhere near any bathrooms. There is nothing worse than 8 hours of toilet flushes and unpleasant smells.
I prefer the window seat. A lot of my travel is work related, mostly to major Asian cities. The places that I travel to most frequently are usually connected by red eye flights from Mumbai, and we hit the ground running with meetings the very morning that we land. The window seat gives me a little extra space to rest my head and I do not have to worry about getting disturbed in case any one else wants to use the washroom, because every minute of sleep on that 5/6 hour flight is super precious.And even for pleasure trips, window seat it is, primarily for the views (yes, even if it’s just the sky and the clouds) :)
I always choose an aisle seat (most freedom to move around) , preferably on the right side of the plane (just a personal preference). Unless you’re traveling and pumping on the plane because you’re leaving a breastfed infant at home. Then I always chose a window seat for maximum discretion while pumping on long haul international flights.
Aisle, as far forward as possible, with movable armrests (meaning no exit rows and no bulkhead).
I’m short, so I don’t necessarily need extra legroom, so there’s no need for a bulkhead seat or exit row seat to get the extra legroom. If I’m required to sit somewhere, and I mean anywhere, you can usually find me curled up in my seat, whether I’m working in my office, or at home. A plane is no exception – I curl my legs up underneath me to get comfy. This is where the movable arm rest and aisle seat are most important – because I can move the arm rest and use that last inch or two of seat without dislocating my hip or disturbing the passenger next to me in the process ;) An aisle seat also means I never have to climb over anyone to make a trip to the lavatory. Sitting as close as possible to the front means I’m not stuck at the back of the plane waiting on everyone else ahead of me to get their carry-ons out of the overhead bins – patience is a virtue, but it’s one I’m still working on. There is an exception to my rule – when I’m flying coach on a red-eye, I’ll swap my usual aisle preference for a window seat so I can lean up against the wall and try to get some sleep.
I almost always pick the aisle seat. It’s primarily because I don’t like the feeling of being trapped (especially when you’re sitting next to a cocoon-er). I also prefer it because I need to drink a lot of water on planes to avoid getting dehydrated and getting a migraine which also means I have to visit the bathroom a lot. So really, I just tell myself that I’m doing myself a favor by sitting in the aisle.
Now, I’ll also throw this plan out the window if it’s a really short flight and it’s on Southwest. Then I’ll happily sit in the middle seat as long as I’m really close to the front of the plane. Then I just want to make sure I can leave as soon as possible. And I’ll just apologize to my seatmate when they have to get up to let me out.
I used to be a window girl. Then I bought a good Cabeau pillow and now I sit in the middle (you’re welcome, boyfriend). If I’m traveling solo, I opt to sit in the aisle with my short legs now since I’m trying to put more effort into staying hydrated.
What’s your go-to seat (or seats) on an airplane? COMMENT below and share your story!