Choosing a Seat on a Plane


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About the author:

Co-founder and Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Una is an organized globetrotter and foodie who’s been living a digital nomad lifestyle since 2013. She always starts her day early with a good book before diving into work. Apart from traveling and aviation, her other passions include gym, hiking and cycling. Una is also a strong proponent of AI technology. She firmly believes in its potential to simplify life and has often advocated for its wider adoption in our day-to-day activities. Her favorite airlines are Qatar Airways, Emirates, and KLM.

What do you need to know when choosing a seat on a plane?

For frequent travelers, the process of flying can become second nature. But even for the most experienced air passenger, choosing where to sit during the flight can still be a crucial decision. With many airlines now offering the option to select your seat during check-in, it’s important to know why seat selection is so important and how it can impact your overall travel experience.


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Choosing a seat on a plane

Choosing a Seat on a Plane

There are a few things you should know about flight seat selection.

1. Understanding the Types of Seats

Before diving into choosing a seat on a plane, it is necessary first to understand the various types of seats available.

Typically, there are three categories of plane seats, namely Economy class, Business class, and First class. Economy class is the most affordable, while Business and First class offer more space, comfort, and premium services.

Some airlines also offer premium economy seats. Premium economy is a class of airline seating that typically offers more space, comfort, and amenities than standard economy class seats, but is less luxurious than business or first class seats. Premium economy seats usually offer more legroom, wider seats, and additional features such as adjustable headrests, footrests, and extra storage.

Economy seats are usually split into regular, exit row, and bulkhead seats. The latter provides more legroom but does not offer space to store personal items such as luggage. Exit row seats offer legroom and are popular among tall people, while regular seats are the most common and affordable but offer limited legroom.

Read more: What Are Exit Row Seats?

2. Factors to Consider when Choosing a Seat on a Plane

The seat location and type can be the difference between a comfortable and uncomfortable journey. When choosing a seat, consider factors such as legroom, proximity to the restroom, and the position of the seat.

Some people prefer window seats to enjoy the skyline view. On the other hand, some passengers prefer aisle seats for easy access to the restroom and stretching their legs.

Choosing a seat in the front row or exit row can provide an advantage, such as being the first to leave the plane, quick access to toilets, and more legroom.

Read more: The Art of Comfortable Flying – Accessories and Tips for Better Air Travel

3. How to Book Your Seat?

After considering the type and location of the seat you want, book it in advance.

Most airlines offer seat selection at the time of booking or online check-in. By booking early, you will have a better chance of securing your preferred seat. This is the best option for booking seats in advance.

How to book a seat on a flight online?

Selection on an airline’s website typically involves selecting your preferred seat from a seating map that displays the layout of the plane. This may include options for window, aisle, or middle seats, as well as additional features such as extra legroom or proximity to a bathroom. The specific process for selecting a seat may vary depending on the airline and the type of ticket purchased.

Keep in mind that some airlines charge extra fees for seat selection. Often airline seat selection fees are quite high, especially for long-haul flights.

4. Special Considerations for Long-haul Flights

If you’re going on a long trip, you’ll likely spend many hours on the plane.

As such, it’s important to consider several things, such as seat comfort, proximity to restrooms, and seat selection. Some airlines offer helpful features like adjustable headrests, extra legroom seats, or footrests.

If you require special assistance, it’s worth contacting the airline in advance to ensure you have the proper seat arrangements.

On a Tap Air Portugal Plane
On a Tap Air Portugal Plane

Reasons for Selecting a Seat

Why should you be choosing a seat on a plane?

Selecting a seat on a plane is important for travel planning, and passengers often have specific preferences or needs. Some common reasons for selecting certain seats include:

1. Comfort

One of the most obvious reasons for selecting your seat is comfort.

Whether it’s a longer flight or simply a preference for more legroom, seat selection can make all the difference. For example, if you’re someone who needs to get up and stretch frequently, an aisle seat might be your best option.

Alternatively, if you’re someone who enjoys sleeping on the flight, the best seat to book in flight is a window seat – a window seat to lean against can provide a comfortable alternative.

Passengers who have medical conditions can select seats that grant them easy access to the restroom or seats that offer more comfortable mobility during the flight.

Exit row seats typically offer more legroom, making them great choice for those who want additional space during the flight.

2. Connecting Flights

If you are taking a connecting flight, selecting your seat during check-in is particularly crucial.

Choosing a seat that is closer to the front of the plane can help minimize the time it takes to get off your flight and make your way to your next gate.

3. Quietness

For a more peaceful travel experience, passengers can opt for seats that are located far from busy areas such as restrooms, galleys and snack areas.

If you are a light sleeper but still would love to get some sleep on the plane, the best seats to book on a flight are those away from those busy and noisy areas.

4. Traveling With a Family

If you are traveling with a group or family, it’s common to choose seats together so that everyone can sit and talk easily during the flight.

Families with children may need to sit together for safety and supervision reasons, making seat selection particularly important for them.

However, it’s important to note that not all airlines guarantee seat selection for groups or families, especially if the flight is full or if seats are in high demand. In some cases, it may be necessary to arrive early at the airport check-in counter to request seat assignments or to speak with the gate agent before boarding.

5. To Get a Better View

Window seats offer a great view of the scenery and can make the flight more enjoyable. This can be particularly breathtaking during takeoff and landing or when flying over stunning landscapes.

Moreover, window seats can provide some privacy and a quiet space for passengers to relax, read, or work without being disturbed by other passengers passing by in the aisle.

6. To Avoid Turbulence

To avoid turbulence during a flight, passengers can choose seats either at the front of the plane or above the wings.

These areas are typically known to have less turbulence.

However, it’s important to note that turbulence can occur anywhere on the plane and is often unpredictable, so selecting a seat in these areas does not guarantee a completely turbulence-free experience. Passengers who are particularly sensitive to turbulence may want to consider speaking with their doctor about medication options or flying during times when turbulence is less likely, such as early in the morning or late at night.

7. To Have a Preferred Seat Type

Some passengers may have a preference for window or aisle seats or seats closer to the front or back of the plane.

Certain passengers might prefer reserving seats in a higher and more luxurious class, such as first class, business class, or premium economy. Although these seats come at a higher cost, they provide superior comfort. If you seek a comfortable experience during a long-haul flight, opting for a seat in one of these elevated classes would be a wise choice.

Do you have more questions about airplane seating and choosing a seat on a plane? Ask in the comments.

Featured photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya from Pexels

About the author:

Co-founder and Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Una is an organized globetrotter and foodie who’s been living a digital nomad lifestyle since 2013. She always starts her day early with a good book before diving into work. Apart from traveling and aviation, her other passions include gym, hiking and cycling. Una is also a strong proponent of AI technology. She firmly believes in its potential to simplify life and has often advocated for its wider adoption in our day-to-day activities. Her favorite airlines are Qatar Airways, Emirates, and KLM.

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