How to Choose the Best Seat on the Airplane (For You)

Whether you’re an anxious flyer like me or you fall asleep as soon as the wheels leave the ground, where you sit during your flight can make or break your experience.

There’s a wealth of information out there about how to nab the “best” seat on airplane, but I’ve found that two little words are missing from all of those articles: “for you”.

When it comes to comfort, everyone is different. I think there’s only one thing we can all agree with: Getting assigned a middle seat should be its own circle of Hell.

Full flight = noise-cancelling headphones on for the duration!

My advice tends to start out the same for everyone: Choose your seat beforehand, and choose wisely. If you wait until the last minute and let the airline assign you a seat, you’ll probably spend the flight miserable and regretting your lack of forethought (and elbow room).

It pays to know what your preferences are when you’re taking a flight. Some people want extra legroom for their 6’3″ frame. (I’d suggest an aisle seat for you, sir.) Some people want a window they can stare out of when they get bored.

Window seats are my personal favorite.

Some people have weak bladders and absolutely need to be sitting as close to the bathroom as possible. Some people (me) are very sensitive to turbulence and want to be sitting as far toward the front of the plane as possible – it’s where the shaking is the least intense.

Figure out what your needs and preferences are before your flight and choose your seat accordingly. Websites like SeatGuru.com can help you work out where the best and “worst” seats are on every flight.

They tell you which seats are emergency exit rows, which seats don’t recline, and which seats that are supposed to have windows next to them actually don’t. (This recently happened to me when I booked a last-minute flight from Thailand to London. 13 hours staring at a wall when I expected a window. Do not recommend.)

Just enter your flight information into their search bar and check out the annotated layout.

An example of a seat map from SeatGuru.com.

Personally, my ideal situation is a bulkhead window seat. It’s the best of both worlds – you get a wall to lean your head against and a window to look out of, but you also get extra room in front of you so you can get to the bathroom or take a little stroll without having to ask the people next to you to get up. However, these seats also get taken up incredibly fast. As soon as I make my reservation I’m reserving myself a sweet sweet bulkhead before anyone else can get to it.

Still not sure where to sit? I made this online quiz to help you figure out which seat might be best for you. Take it ahead of your next flight and figure out where you should be sitting!

Do you have a favorite seat when you’re on a flight? Tell me about it in the comments!

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