- I learned the importance of choosing the right plane seat during my 10 years as a flight attendant.
- Seats in certain sections, such as the rear, are more likely to feel intense turbulence.
- If you want to try to avoid crying babies, don’t sit by the bassinets near the bulkhead.
When you book a flight, it’s important to choose the right seat. And after a decade of traveling the world as a flight attendant, I’ve learned which ones are great, and which are not.
After all, the tiniest details — like your proximity to exits, galleys, and toilets — can have a large impact on your travel experience.
Here are what I consider to be the best and worst places to sit on a plane.
Emergency exit row
- These seats usually come with an extra fee, so you’re less likely to have people sitting next to you here.
- They’re great for tall travelers since they offer more legroom.
- The seats by the door are usually cold from the air outside.
- You must also agree to operate the exit door and assist other passengers in case of emergency.
- The exit row is a prime spot for fellow passengers to congregate mid-flight to stretch their legs.
- You have to place all of your belongings in the overhead compartment for take-off and landing.
- Some aircrafts are configured with two seats per row (one window seat and one aisle seat), which allows for more room between you and your fellow passenger.
- Sitting in the front of the aircraft often makes for a smooth and quiet ride.
- The crew usually starts serving food and beverages there before working their way to the back, which makes you more likely to get your preferred meal choice in the front.
- This area tends to be a little noisier due to the location of the plane’s engines.
Any window seat
- The window seat is my seat of choice. It provides beautiful, relaxing views — which are ideal distractions if you’re a nervous flier.
- You won’t be disturbed by other passengers when they get up and use the restroom. You’re left alone to sleep and can lean your head on the window pane while you do it.
Seats directly in front or behind the bulkhead
- If you’re behind the bulkhead, you usually have to put all of your belongings in the overhead compartment since there’s no seat in front of you.
- There’s no tray table to put down at your own convenience. Instead, you have to ask the crew for a table to slot into your seat.
- It’s also the spot where bassinets are frequently placed, so if you don’t want to hear kids crying during your flight, think twice about selecting a seat behind the bulkhead.
- Another downside is that seats directly in front of a bulkhead don’t recline.
Seats near the cabin restroom
- You’ll also have other passengers hanging around you the entire flight as they wait for their turn to use the restroom.
- You won’t be able to escape the flushing noises, the bright lights, and of course, the smell of the restroom.
- You may not have to wait in a queue for the toilet if you’re in this seat.
Seats by the galley
- The galley is where the crew preps all of the in-flight meals and refreshments. They’re usually located at the front and the back of the plane, but larger aircrafts sometimes have one in the middle as well.
- Everything is stored in metal boxes and carts, so the area around the galley can be noisy. Plus, people usually chat there, which adds to the noise.
- At least one crew member is on duty the whole flight, meaning the lights will be on the entire time.
- I especially recommend avoiding the aisle seat by the galley unless you want people and carts bumping into your shoulders and shins the entire flight.
Any middle seat
- Personally, I think the middle seat is the worst you can have on a plane, especially for a solo traveler.
- Too often the people in the window seat and aisle seat take up the entire row’s armrests, leaving the person in the middle to awkwardly cross their arms.
- Here, you’re either going to be disturbed by the person in the window seat when they want to use the restroom, or you’ll have to interrupt the person in the aisle seat to use it yourself.
- Good luck trying to sleep unless you’re happy to nod off onto someone else’s shoulder.