This article may contain compensated links. Learn more in our disclaimer.

What Are Exit Row Seats?


Last updated:

When we think of airplanes and traveling, comfort is not the first thing that comes to our minds. However, there are things we can do to make our flights more comfortable. One of these solutions is opting for exit row seats. Exit row seats are often described as seats with better legroom, but there is more to them than meets the eye (there are things you should consider).

In this blog post, we will discuss what exit row seats are and why you should consider them on your next flight.

Did you miss a connecting flight? File a compensation claim online.

Exit row on airplane

1. What Are Exit Row Seats?

Exit row seats are seats located in the rows nearest to emergency exits.

They offer more legroom, which can be an appealing feature for long-haul flights. Most airlines have specific criteria for passengers who are allowed to sit in exit row seats. Generally, passengers who are older than 15, in good health, and meet the airline’s other requirements can sit in these seats.

What are exit row seats? Exit row seats are seats located in the rows nearest to emergency exits of an airplane. They offer more legroom, which can be an appealing feature for long-haul flights.

In addition to the aforementioned criteria, passengers sitting in these seats should be able to understand and speak English (or the language of the flight crew) as they may need to assist in the event of an emergency.

Some exit row seats may not fully recline or may be located near high-traffic areas like galleys or lavatories, which could impact your comfort despite the added legroom. Therefore, it’s essential to research or inquire with the airline about the exact location and features of an exit row seat before booking.

Read more:

1.1 Where Are Exit Row Seats Located on Airplanes?

As the name suggests, these seats are located in the rows nearest to emergency exits. Exit row seats are generally located over the wings of the aircraft, where they can provide a quick path to the exits in the unlikely event of an evacuation.

However, it’s important to note that the configuration can vary by aircraft type and airline.

2. Benefits of Sitting in Exit Row Seats

Aside from additional legroom, which for most is the biggest benefit, there are some other benefits to sitting in exit row seats.

  • Priority treatment. Passengers occupying these seats are often the first to be served food and drinks. Not because they are seen as special, or as sitting in a better class, but simply because of the location of these seats.
  • Enhanced comfort. These seats are usually located near the front of the airplane, and in the middle of the airplane. It tends to be quieter there, quieter than at the end of the airplane.
  • Quick disembarkation (sometimes). Being closer to the exit allows for a better chance of getting off the plane swiftly.
  • Overall convenience. The combination of these advantages makes choosing exit row seats a favorable option for air travel.

3. Considerations to Keep in Mind Before Choosing an Exit Row Seat

While exit row seats offer several benefits, there are considerations to keep in mind before booking. For one, passengers occupying these seats must be willing and able to assist during an emergency, should the need arise.

They are also not to have any physical or cognitive limitations.

Additionally, when sitting in an exit row seat, you will have to put all of your belongings in the overhead compartment (you don’t have a front seat to put any of your things under), you won’t be allowed to take of your shoes for the take-off and landing, and will have a not as nice/easy-to-use table.

More and more airlines require a fee to select these seats. These are considered premium seats, due to the extra legroom that they provide. All of the most popular low-cost airlines have been doing so for some time already, and now also full-service airlines have started doing that.

4. How to Choose an Exit Row Seat?

To choose an exit row seat, you must look up the aircraft for your flight, as this will tell you which rows contain emergency exits.

Knowing the seats that fall in these rows, you can choose your preferred seat at the time of booking or check in. Some airlines allow passengers to choose their seating arrangement online at the time of booking, while others may have you make selections during check-in. If you have specific preferences for an exit row seat, it is best to double-check the information before making a choice. For example, if the seat looks like an emergency row seat to you, double-check the information about this specific airplane model on the internet.

Usually, you can see that just by looking at the available seats, when choosing a seat (during the time of booking or check in).

Alternatively, you can call the airline directly and make arrangements.

5. Special Considerations for Families with Children

Lastly, if you are traveling with families, know that there are certain considerations to keep in mind regarding exit row seats.

For one, most airlines will not allow children younger than 15 to sit in these seats.

Additionally, if parents are seated in exit row seats, they must agree beforehand on who takes responsibility for the child in an emergency.

If you are unable to sit next to the child, the airline employee may ask you to relocate to a seat that is closer.

Passengers disembarking from a plane

Exit Row Seats: FAQ

Are Exit Row Seats More Expensive?

Yes, airlines often charge a premium for exit row seats due to the extra legroom and other advantages they provide. However, the exact cost varies by airline and the duration of the flight.

Can Anyone Sit in An Exit Row Seat?

No, there are specific criteria that passengers must meet to sit in an exit row seat. This usually includes being at least 15 years old, in good health, and capable of assisting in an emergency evacuation. Additionally, you have to speak and understand English and/or language the crew is speaking.

Do Exit Row Seats Recline?

This depends on the specific aircraft and seat location.

Some exit row seats may not recline due to the location of the emergency exit door behind them. It’s recommended to check with the airline or research the specific aircraft model before booking.

Can Children Sit in Exit Row Seats?

No, most airlines do not permit children under the age of 15 to sit in exit row seats. This is because in the event of an emergency, individuals in these seats may need to assist the cabin crew.

Can I Use My Laptop While Seated in An Exit Row?

Again, this can vary by airline and aircraft.

Some airlines may prohibit the use of certain electronic devices in exit rows, so it’s best to check the airline’s policy before your flight. Take into account the fact that tables in these rows can be very uncomfortable.

Are There Any Restrictions for Pregnant Women for Exit Row Seats?

Yes, airlines usually do not permit pregnant women to sit in exit row seats due to safety reasons. It’s always recommended to check with the airline for their specific policies.

Can I Reserve An Exit Row Seat in Advance?

Yes, most airlines allow you to reserve an exit row seat in advance, typically at the time of booking your ticket.

However, the final confirmation is usually done at the time of check-in/boarding the plane, to ensure that all exit row occupants meet the necessary criteria. A flight attendant comes to people sitting in these seats, and asks if they are okay with this extra responsibility that comes with sitting in these seats.

Are Exit Row Seats Located Near The Lavatory?

The location of the exit row seats varies between different aircraft.

They can be located near the lavatories, but this is not always the case. For precise information, refer to the seating chart of the specific aircraft on which you will be traveling.

Can Exit Row Seats Be Converted into Beds?

No, exit row seats can’t be converted into beds.

Exit row seats typically have more legroom, but they do not usually convert into beds on standard flights. However, on some long-haul flights or specific airlines, some seats may recline fully into a flat bed. Always cross-check with the airline for specific seat features.

Are Pets Allowed in the Exit Row?

No, pets are not typically allowed in the exit row areas of the aircraft due to safety regulations.

Do Exit Row Seats Have Extra Storage Space?

Generally, the storage options in an exit row is limited.

You may need to place your bags in overhead compartments. So, there’s nothing that could potentially block the exit row in case of an emergency. For some, it’s one of the things they don’t like about exit row seats. Some call it the biggest of con’s of exit row seating on airplanes.

Is It Colder in An Exit Row Seat?

Yes, it can sometimes be colder due to the proximity to the exit doors.

If you tend to get cold easily, it may be helpful to bring an extra layer of clothing or ask for a blanket. You may also bring your own blanket on the plane.

Are Exit Row Seats Near The Engine?

The location of the exit row seats will depend on the specific plane model.

In some aircraft, these seats may be close to the engines which could mean more noise. It’s best to review the seat map of your specific aircraft before choosing an exit row seat.

Can I Switch from An Exit Row Seat to a Regular Seat After Boarding?

Yes, you usually can request a switch after boarding if there are available seats. However, it’s generally easier to make this change before boarding begins.

Do Exit Row Seats Offer More Privacy?

Not necessarily. While exit row seats do offer more legroom, they may not offer more privacy than other seats.

The location of these seats can vary greatly depending on the specific aircraft model. Always remember to consider your personal comfort needs and requirements when choosing an exit row seat.

Featured photo by Pew Nguyen

About the author:

Co-founder and Chief Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Kaspars is a digital nomad and travel blogger who’s been traveling the world extensively since 2013. Since 2017, Kaspars has been writing about the less-known aspects of air travel, things like air passenger rights laws and regulations. He’s really good at simplifying complex concepts and making them easily understandable. Kaspars favorite airlines are Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines.


Stay Safe

SafetyWing – Insurance for nomads


Stay Connected


Get Cashback

Connecting Flights Guide

Your go-to guide to air travel rules and regulations. Connecting flights, self transfer, onward tickets and more – we want you to understand air travel better

This article may contain compensated links. Learn more in our disclaimer.

Latest posts: