May 12, 2024

Best Airplane Seats: A Guide to Economy Class

Discover the best airplane seats in economy class, from aisle vs window to front vs back. Get tips for a more comfortable flight.
Best Airplane Seats: A Guide to Economy Class

When it comes to air travel, choosing the best airplane seat can make a significant difference in your overall comfort and experience. In this post, we'll explore the best and worst seats in economy class, helping you make an informed decision on your next flight.

Aisle Seats vs Window Seats: Pros and Cons

The age-old debate between aisle and window seats has passionate advocates on both sides. Aisle seats offer the convenience of easy access to the restroom and the ability to stretch your legs without disturbing your seatmates. They also allow for faster boarding and deplaning. However, aisle seats come with the risk of being bumped by passing passengers or carts, and you may need to get up frequently to let your seatmates out.

On the other hand, window seats provide a stunning view during takeoff and landing, along with a wall to lean against for added comfort while sleeping. You'll also face fewer disturbances from other passengers. The downsides include limited mobility and the need to ask your seatmates to let you out when nature calls.

The Dreaded Middle Seat: Is It Really That Bad?

Middle seats are often considered the least desirable, as they lack the benefits of both aisle and window seats. You're sandwiched between two strangers, with limited space and no window view. However, United Airlines' new Wilma boarding process may change the game for middle seat passengers.

Under this new system, passengers with window seats board first, followed by those in middle seats, and finally, aisle seat passengers. This means that if you choose a middle seat, you'll have a better chance of securing overhead bin space for your carry-on luggage.

Front vs Back of the Plane: Which is Better?

The front of the plane offers several advantages, such as faster boarding and deplaning, reduced engine noise, and quicker access to your seat. However, it's also where you'll find families with young children and more foot traffic from the cabin crew.

Sitting near the back of the plane has its perks, too. You'll have a higher chance of finding an empty neighboring seat, and studies show that passengers in the rear of the aircraft have better odds of surviving in the event of an emergency. Just keep in mind that the worst seats on a plane are often located in the very last row, as they may have limited or no recline and are close to the lavatories.

Special Considerations: Bulkhead and Exit Row Seats

Bulkhead seats, located directly behind a dividing wall, offer extra legroom but come with limitations such as no under-seat storage and potentially reduced seat width due to the tray table and entertainment system being stored in the armrests.

Exit row seats also provide additional legroom but come with responsibilities. You must be willing and able to assist in an emergency evacuation. These seats can also be chilly, as they are located near the emergency exits.

Airplane Seat Hacks for a More Comfortable Flight

To maximize your comfort, consider the following tips:

  • Choose a seat on the side of the plane that corresponds to your dominant hand for easier access to your belongings.
  • If you're flying on a larger plane with a center section, opt for an aisle seat in the middle rows to avoid disturbances from seatmates.
  • Use SeatGuru to find the best seats for your specific flight, taking into account factors such as misaligned windows or reduced seat pitch.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What's the best seat for a nervous flyer?

Aisle seats can be a good choice for nervous flyers, as they offer a sense of space and easy access to the aisle, which can help alleviate feelings of claustrophobia.

Are seats in front of the exit row a good choice?

Seats directly in front of an exit row may have limited or no recline, so they may not be the most comfortable choice for long flights.

How can I ensure I have space for my carry-on luggage?

If you're flying with United Airlines, consider choosing a window or middle seat, as the new Wilma boarding process allows these passengers to board before those in aisle seats, increasing your chances of finding overhead bin space.

Ultimately, the best airplane seat depends on your personal preferences and priorities. By understanding the pros and cons of each option and using tools like SeatGuru, you can make an informed decision and enjoy a more comfortable flight.

Here are some additional resources to help you plan your next trip: