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Escape Hunter Planning How to Pick a Good Airplane Seat?

How to Pick a Good Airplane Seat?

September 27, 2015

Want the best view, the closest seat to the toilet, want to avoid the noisy parts of the airplane or just want the safest plane seat?
Let's see a few ideas for picking the best plane seat for you!

Many airlines will not allow you to pre-select your seat in the booking process. Low cost airlines often won't allow you to pick your seat for free and that leaves you with how fast you are to occupy a good place.

Regardless, you need to set concrete factors according to which you pick your seat: think about your priorities.

Picking plane seats

Source: © iStock.com/RyanKing999

SeatGuru is already a cliché, when it comes to picking the right plane seat. They have a bunch of seat maps, but even they don't have them all.

For me - safety comes first. And that's generally the rear part of the airplane. It's also the part where the lavatory is and usually the exit as well.

Window or aisle?

Some people actually prefer the aisle. Especially people who either don't care about the sights or want to walk during the flight (e.g.: easy access to the toilet), but some people have fear of flight/heights and they tend to avoid the window too.

Otherwise, it's the window seats that get occupied fastest.

The downsides of aisle seats are plentiful as well: locker noise, possibility of objects falling, cabin crew spilling meal contents over you, people hitting you accidentally.

How about the middle seats?

They are the worst: they don't have the benefits of the window seats, nor those of the aisle seats, but have the disadvantages of both!

Poor window visibility, difficult access to the aisle, possibility of spill-overs when they bring the meals...

Of, and one other in particular is very disturbing: both arm rests occupied by passengers to the left and to the right!

Seat density

It would be great to know the seat density both from back to front, as well as from left to right.

Make sure you compare identical type airlines only. Don't forget that there are subtypes! For instance: 777-200 is not the same size as a 777-200ER.

Larger airplanes with two aisles have 3 columns of seats and people traveling in economy class can be seated in two configurations (in most cases): 3/4/3 or 3/3/3.

Obviously, the lower the seat density is, the more space you will have.

Day flight or night flight?

If you are taking a night flight, visibility will be low and you might want to sleep undisturbed. Then pick the seat near the window.

I'm personally not so much of a sleeper during flights, so I tend to pick the window seat in most cases - even if I'm flying during the night. But the downsides are obvious: difficult access to the aisle, especially if the passengers beside me fall into deep sleep.

Upper deck or lower deck?

A380 and 747-8 have upper decks as well...

The A380's upper deck tends to be more spacious (while the lower deck has more seat density).

The upper deck also tends to have lower cabin noise, so it should be more comfy "up there".

One floor higher will also ensure better views - go for the window seat!

747's tend to have either business class or first class at the upper deck. If you can afford it, pay.
The A380's will quite often have economy class on the uppr deck as well.

Best visibility

Not all seats align well with the windows.
A few times I was unlucky enough to have had seats with poor visibility: my seat wasn't aligned with the window, so I had the wall section near my - the white plastic part between the two windows.

You can stretch your neck like a giraffe and in some cases it'll be extremely annoying - you won't see much and you'll always have to make an effort just to catch a glimpse of where you currently are.

The safest parts of the plane

It's definitely the rear section, but the part between the wings tends to be safe as well.

When I say "rear part", I'm referring to the part as far in the back as possible. For example: the last 5 seat rows.

It's important to mention: I never pick the past row, because that one tends to have a wall at the back. This makes getting out a lot more difficult in an emergency situation.

Because: if you sit by the window, for instance, and should something block your way on the side, then you won't have the possibility to climb to the seat row behind you and make the exit through there.

I usually pick a rear seat, but a few rows in front of the last row at the back with the wall behind it.

Noisy parts of the plane

Besides passengers, the part near the lavatory/toilet and the galley tends to be the noisiest one.

As I said, I'm first of all preoccupied with safety, so I pick the rear section to get seated. But that's where the toilet and the galley are - and a lot of noise... But I'm willing to make this compromise for the sake of my safety.

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Escape Hunter

About the Author:

Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...


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