The best and worst seats on a plane: this is how you choose

This story was chronicled by an Insider editor, as told by flight attendant Beth Windor.

When booking a flight, choosing the right seat is very important. Having worked as a flight attendant for ten years, I know a lot about the places on the plane that are comfortable and where it is less comfortable.

Small details – such as the distance from seats to exits and toilets – can make a big difference to your travel experience.

In my opinion, these are the five best and five worst places on a plane.

also read: Are you going to fly? You should always take this with you, according to a pilot, two flight attendants and an experienced traveler

The best seats on a plane

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The queue at the emergency exit of the plane

  • Usually you have to pay a supplement for these seats, so there is a greater chance that no one will be sitting next to you.
  • They are very suitable for taller people because they provide more legroom.

Possible disadvantages:

  • The seats right by the door are usually colder because of the outside air.
  • You must be prepared to operate the emergency exit door and assist other passengers in an emergency.
  • The emergency exit queue is a popular place for fellow passengers to stretch their legs during the flight.
  • You must put all your belongings in the hold at take-off and landing.

Rows with two seats

  • Some planes have rows with only two seats (one by the window and one by the aisle), which gives more space between you and your fellow passenger.

The front part of the plane

  • Sitting in the front of the plane usually ensures a smooth and quiet flight.
  • The crew usually starts at the front and serves meals and drinks, increasing the chances of getting your preferred menu.

The middle part of the plane

Possible disadvantage:

  • There is a bit more noise in this part due to the aircraft engines.

Window space

  • I always prefer a place by the window. You have a beautiful view there, which is the ideal distraction for nervous passengers.
  • You will not be disturbed by other passengers going to the toilet. You can fall asleep peacefully leaning against the wall of the airplane.

The worst places on a plane

Photo: Cristobal Alvarado Minic/Getty Images

Seats directly in front or behind the bulkhead

  • When you’re behind the bulkhead, you usually have to put all your stuff in the overhead compartment, because there’s no seat for you.
  • There is no table that you can fold out. Instead, you must ask the cabin crew for an extra table.
  • This is also where cradles are often placed, so if you don’t want to hear children crying during your flight, think twice about choosing a seat behind the bulkhead.
  • Another disadvantage is that seats directly in front of a shot cannot recline.

Possible benefit:

  • If you find it annoying that people recline their seats when they sit down, then a seat behind or in front of the bulkhead is the way to go.

Seats near the toilet in the cabin

  • You constantly have other passengers standing next to you as they wait their turn to go to the bathroom.
  • You have to deal with the flushing sound, the bright light and of course the smell of the toilet during the entire flight.

Possible benefit:

  • You may not have to queue for the toilet if you sit in this seat.

Chairs by the kitchen

  • The kitchen is where the crew prepares all meals and refreshments. They are usually located at the front and rear of the aircraft, but larger aircraft sometimes have one in the middle as well.
  • Everything is stored in metal boxes and carts, so it can be noisy around this place. In addition, there is usually talk, which increases the noise.
  • There is always someone on duty during the flight, which means that the light is on at all times.
  • I especially recommend avoiding the aisle seat unless you want people and carts bumping your shoulders and shins throughout the flight.

Seats at the back of the plane

  • The back of the plane is definitely the worst place to sit for travelers who hate turbulence, as you are far from the plane’s center of gravity.
  • This area can also be very noisy as some aircraft have engines and auxiliary engines that make a lot of noise.

Seats in the middle

  • Personally, I think the middle seat is the worst thing you can have on a plane, especially for a solo traveler.
  • All too often the people at the window and the aisle take up the armrests of the entire row, forcing the person in the middle to cross their arms.
  • Here you either get disturbed by the person in the window seat when they want to go to the toilet, or you have to interrupt the person in the aisle seat to go to the toilet themselves.
  • Good luck sleeping, unless you like falling asleep on someone else’s shoulder.

ALSO READ: I was a flight attendant for 10 years: these are the 10 biggest mistakes I saw passengers make on a plane

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