How to get the best seat on the plane and avoid the worst

Let’s face it: travelling in by air isn’t the most comfortable experience at the best of times, especially if you’re in economy class.
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Let’s face it: travelling in by air isn’t the most comfortable experience at the best of times, especially if you’re in economy class. While the seats themselves generally don’t get any more comfortable, there are ways to secure the best seat for your needs to ensure you can relax.

The below are tried and tested tips from those in the know and frequent travellers. Some planes will vary but for the most part, you can’t go wrong with this advice!

Depending on your preference, this is how you get….

1. The best seat in general

If you haven’t been upgraded to first or business, you’ll need to make the most of economy. The best seat really depends on what you need but there’s a consensus on the worst seat: it’s in the very back row of the plane, or a row that backs onto the galley or toilets. These seats generally have less leg room, limited reclining space and close proximity to both the toilets and crew galley.

2. The best view

It can be annoying to sit down in your window seat and be faced with half a window or none at all! So make sure you avoid the 3rd quadrant of the plane cabin as it can have strange window positioning due to the wing positioning.

3. A warm seat

There’s nothing worse than getting on a cold plane and sitting in a seat that won’t get warmer no matter how many blankests you have. A rule of thumb for avoiding ice cold seats is to not sit in the first few rows of the plane.

4. A quiet seat

If you want as little disturbance as possible, then aim for a seat that isn’t near galley kitchens, toilets and areas where passengers tend to stand to have a stretch. These are usually at the front and back of the cabins. And bassinet cribs for babies and families with young children are usually at the the front of each cabin.

5. An extra seat next to you

If you’d like some extra room, look for a seat that’s down the back and well away from the doors, where there’s a middle seat, such as in a 3-4-3 configuration. You best bet is at the very back of the plane, which is less popular among most passengers, to find spare seats and fewer fellow travellers.

6. A good aisle seat

If you like to get up and walk around a lot and don’t need to sleep too much, getting a good aisle seat is crucial. Try to sit in the centre section of the seats so you’ll have fewer passengers climbing way you than if you were sitting next to a window passenger.

7. The safest seat

An extensive study from Popular Mechanics found that passengers near the tail of a plane are about 40 per cent more likely to survive a crash than those in the first few rows. And choosing an aisle means you’ll likely to get off the plane more quickly in an emergency evacuation.

8. The best seat for sleeping

Do you just want to snooze without disturbance on your plane trip? Pick a window seat on the left side of the plane, near the middle of the plane. Frequent fliers say windows are off-centre on the left side, making it a better spot to rest.

9. Extra storage

Almost all airlines follow a back-to-front loading procedure, so if you’re in a rear seat you’ll get first picks on overhead bin space.

10. A seat nowhere near the bulkheads

A bulkhead is a wall but can also be a curtain or screen. It can separate classes from one another, i.e. business and economy and can be found throughout the plane, separating the seats from the galley and bathroom areas. These are typically areas where children are, so avoid if you want a pleasant flight or little disturbance.

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