When it comes to choosing an airplane seat, what's on the top of your preference list -- window? Aisle? Exit row? Vote in our poll!
There are so many variables! I voted for first/business because that's obviously the nicest way to go...when someone else is paying
Otherwise, I have a rule. On a short flight, especially when traveling alone, I want the window so I can lean up against it and away from my fellow passenger. On a long flight, give me the aisle so I can get up and down for the restroom without disturbing people.
Oh, and I ALWAYS prefer the back of the plane. You board first, you have a better chance of getting space in the overhead bin for your stuff, and then -- once you land -- you allow all of the people who jump out of the seats the very second the plane stops moving to exit ahead of you. What's five more minutes, really?
This question is not easily answered because there are many variables to consider.
First, which airline, which type of aircraft, how did the airline choose to configure their seating of that particular aircraft, is it a "heavy" (i.e. 777, 747, etc) or smaller jet.......for example, I once had a flight from Paris to Berlin that was kind of like flying on a private jet!
My father is a private pilot, flies small aircraft so I rather like being in the ****pit! I'm so used to holding the take-off list, charts etc that I think it would be a blast to sit in the ****pit of of a jet. There's room, I'd just have to know someone; actually I do know two people who fly for commercial airlines, but haven't yet bothered to ask for the chance.
On my flight to Sydney on Air New Zealand, the 747 jumbo coach class was set up COMPLETELY unlike any other coach class that I've ever been in before! But then if you expect to keep people calm & in control for 17 hours, you'd better make them comfortable! Seats were big, we had foot-rests, good recline, lotsa space - they did it RIGHT. You'd never see this in coach Domestic or even coach to Europe though some airlines are better than others.
As for my seat location, I simply will not sit behind the engine; can't take the noise coming out the back of it. I refuse to pay more for an exit row or bulkhead (usually reserved for FF'ers or special needs anyway) and so I just ask to be as far to the front as possible so I can get off as fast as I can. Window, aisle, I don't care anymore. If it's only two seats, I'll take the window, if it's three seats (& a long flight), aisle so I can go to the lavatory without climbing over everyone each time. Three and a short flight, window, cause I won't get up for 2 1/2 hour flight and no one will bother me.
I'm starting to sound like the princess who needs a share in Marquis Jet..........(I can do without the Bentley that most drive to get to it!!! LOL)
There's definitely a lot of planning that goes into it; 1st step is knowing what type of aircraft you are flying in before you choose your seat & also if you are familiar with that airline's seating plan (tight or roomy) and also, remember they could change your plane on the day of so try to anticipate and know your aircrafts when checking in so you can make a good seating choice. I've flown a lot, especially long hauls, Europe, Carib & Florida a bazillion times (thank heavens for Jet Blue) so I do a lot of calculating when it comes to my seating as you can probably tell, LOL. And sooner or later, I WILL get into the ****pit for a flight, which will be awesome!!
Till then, I keep on planning per airline, per plane.........
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I almost always prefer the aisle so that I can get up and walk around when I like without disturbing my seatmates. The one exception is if the plane is configured in a 2-3-2 (or 2-4-2, etc.) set-up and I'm traveling with SO; if we can have a pair of seats all to ourselves, then I do kinda like the window so I can look out. (I don't mind bugging HIM if I need to get up. )
I tend to prefer the back of the plane because I find there's more of a chance of empty seats back there -- it's great when you and your companion can have a set of three seats all to yourselves.
Actually, I'm not that particular as I don't fly too much, maybe once or twice a year.
If I am flying with someone else, we try to make sure at least one way, that we get to be by the window if at all possible.
If flying by myself, I prefer the isle. This way, once in a while, I get to slip my foot/leg out in the isle for a while. It is much easier also if you need to get up to be on the isle, that way you are not pushing yourself in front of the other two people.
When it comes to the middle seat, I made a promise to myself - when I hit 50, no more middle seat. The last few years have been great - no more being squished between two sumo wrestlers! My husband would not give up his window seats - so I have been sitting along the aisle, sometimes in the same row, sometimes not. One of the best decisions I ever made.
The aircraft setup has nothing to do with it for me, nor does the length of the flight - and I never NEVER want to be in the back of the plane - that's where you are the most likely die in a crash, because you cannot get out.
my pref is always an aisle seat as far to the front as possible - Last on and first off, feet can stretch into the aisle a lil bit, ease of movement to get up and move around during flight, and especially if anything happens.
Not long ago, the Long Island Railroad put new cars into service. They were in a 3:2 configuration - 3 seats on one side, 2 on the other. They quickly discovered, both from observation and from a torrent of complaints, that most riders actually preferred to stand for the entire ride rather than take a middle seat. The new cars were withdrawn and reconfigured. Of course, standing in transit is not really an option on a plane.
I haven't gotten stuck in a middle seat for several years now. If I can't reserve an aisle or window seat on line for free (note the "for free" part!) I'll get to the airport a little early and check in at the counter. (Most of my flights are super-bargain Spirit internet deals, and my Spirit mastercard entitles me to jump the line) The agent always obliges - no charge.
If my wife and I are flying together and it's a 3 seat setup, she, being much smaller than me, takes the middle seat. She can always lean on me, if she wants something/someone to lean on (and she usually does, and then falls asleep, and will complain bitterly if I move, thereby waking her - so I am effectively immobilized)
Here are my seating preferences when flying alone, in descending order of preference, meaning the top is the one I like the most.
(1) A window seat with an empty seat next to me and either a bulkhead or an empty seat in front of me.
(2) An aisle seat; same specifications.
(3) A window or aisle seat next to an empty seat.
(4) A window or aisle seat behind an empty seat.
(5) A window seat.
(6) A middle seat behind an empty seat.
(7) A middle seat.
I follow certain rules that are especially applicable if you are stuck in a middle seat. Go to the bathroom before you board. Have everything that you even THINK you might need during the flight in a small carryon that not only will fit under the seat but that can be easily pulled up into your lap in a minimum-legroom situation, and then just as easily put back under the seat. I suggest thatthis include a bottle of water (you can bring an empty water bottle through security and then refill it from a water fountain)
As soon as you sit down, lower the seat arms, keep them down, and stay in your own space. If you have the middle and your seatmates hog the arms with their arms, politely remind them that they each have one other seat arm to lean on, and you need one as well.
I recommend a neck pillow, an eye mask, and ear plugs. Ask your doctor if he'll prescribe xanax (or its generic, alprazolam) - that also helps. You can also bring 3-ounces-or-less bottles of liquor in your one quart ziplock type bag through security and then have them in your little carryon.
Actually Cat6, the back of the plane is the SAFEST place to be. If the plane crashes, the wings are the worst place to be due to all the fuel, but it is the least bumpy ride. The back of the plane has the most chance of breaking off and sliding away from the rest of the plane and fuel. As for the armrests, I always let the middle passenger have the bulk of them...hey...it is the worst seat...be kind and gentle to one another...you will be rewarded in this life or the next.
Last edited by unkwes; 08-06-2009 at 08:12 PM.
Actually I just read from I believe "Frommers", that the "rule of thumb" as the saying goes....if you are sitting in a "3 seat area" and you are in the middle, you are "entitled" to use "both" of the armrests. Now if you decide to use only one, than whoever is sitting next to you on either side, can then use the middle one if it is available. Of course the people (if you do not know them) on either side may not like this, but you can "tell them this" if you wish.
I love the window seat. I like to sightsee as I fly (got some great pics of the French countryside, the Rocky Mountains, and the California coastline from my windows), and I like to have the side of the plane to lean up against when sleeping since I usually travel alone. I always go to the bathroom before I get on a plane, and usually only have to use it on the plane if it's a particularly long flight (more than 5hrs). If I'm sleeping for most of the flight (like if it's overnight) I will probably just wait til after we land to go unless my seatmate(s) also gets up to go after waking up. I'm nice like that; I hate getting up after I get on the plane. I know that you are supposed to get up and move around to prevent leg swelling and clots and stuff, but I usually just do those little exercises in the magazine they provide.
The best seat I ever had on a flight though, was in the 3rd seat of a 4 seat middle row on a large jet that was 3-4-3 I believe. There was no one in seat 4 so I had so much extra room!! I'm 5'10" so that was really great, since it was a long flight (overnight to Paris). Also, I rode in Airtran's business class on the way back to ATL from Chicago last year and again, SO MUCH LEGROOM... if you ever fly Airtran, I HIGHLY recommend upgrading to business class for only $49 more and having all that awesome leg room (and free drinks).
I do not hesitate to choose the window place, as I like to look out and down when I fly on the high altitude, I can enjoy the scenery of outside, I can fly in the sky like the bird.
be the equal of one's word, do what one says.
My seat preference, other than 1st class, is exit row aisle. I just flew South West for the first time and I got this seat three out of the four legs of the trip. I also use a new frequent flyer tool called MySeatFinder that will find and get me the best airplane seat according to my selected preferences. It works through my frequent flyer account to do this and it even takes advantage of my status to get me a better seat. Of course, if I'm already in first class it leaves me there, but if I'm not it will keep upgrading me until it gets my top choice or I check-in. I used to use SeatGuru and SeatMaestro, but I would still have to login and go through the work to get a better seat. I like the fact MSF does the work for me.
Yes, I agree about the seat in the "exit" area. I just flew back on SW and found a seat between two people in the Exit area. Of course, unless you have first class, it is on a first come, first serve basis, and I really don't mind on SW. I did notice that the seats have more "leg" room than the others in that area.
Middle. I can see the ky from here, you know. Since I'm only gone cross continental, it's mostly just ocean anyways.
I prefer a seat in a window so I can see what’s below. I also would love to try flying in a business class if my budget warrants.
All who are saying "go early (to the bathroom)", don't forget DVT! I'm sorry if you're sleeping and I'm in the middle or window seat, I'm going to get up at least every hour or two to stretch my legs and exercise a bit. That's the price you pay for having the aisle seat.
Hi On the Road,
If you have or are worried about DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis, in case anyone was wondering!) on what sounds like long haul flights that you take, then why not just, as they say, "cut out the middle man" and book an aisle seat anytime you fly? Yeah, it's nice to be at a window and I always wanted that view but it became very impractical and I soon switched to aisle for any flight longer than 2 hours. I know I am going to get up from time to time on a long flight and I don't sleep well on long flights either. Most people do. Why on earth would I want to disturb them if they are sleeping, during meal time, or on their laptops or who knows what - they are doing their best to get through it as well. If it were me, and I was being interrupted that often and you DID NOT CARE how you were bothering me, believe me, I'd fix it so you'd care and I am someone who makes friends on airplanes and genrally every country I visit. Have made friends in all Hemishpheres, many, many countries. So it takes a lot to get under my skin as I fancy myself a friendly flyer. You're attitude of not caring about your fellow passenger and your interruptions - talk about unfriendly skies!!
BOOK THE AISLE SEAT!!! That way everyone is happy
Flying isn't always a pleasure anymore, why not everyone do what they can to make the best of it.
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Sorry if I upset you but when I travel I don't have a choice of what seat I get. My husband is retired from a major airline and we get what is left over. And no, before you ask, it isn't free. Reduced cost, yes, but not even close to free.
Including that info in your original post might have helped a bit, as it was written, it just sounded arrogant. But as I said, flying is not easy for anyone anymore.
As for the airline business, I am quite familiar with it as I know three pilots flying major airlines and a current flight attendant with another major who was a flight attendant for a major. The former flight attendant just took a free trip courtesy of the pilot of the major airline she once worked for. I know it always cost extra when she wanted to fly first class when she was active and yet my pilot friend was able to get his mother-in-law into first class for free. And the former flight attendant's parents went to Aruba for free every year she worked. All the actives fly free and a pilot, if he wants, can sit in the cockpit jumpseat if need be.
Another difference though seems to be whether you leave the airline disabled or retired. But I know the disabled one has no problem getting free flights because she knows so many people in the airline and worked on a plane. Another disabled got no benefits afterward but he never worked on an airplane - maybe it's difference. Retired I can imagine getting a reduced cost flight; but is it always on standby? And that said, if you still really need to get up that much, OK you might not get to sit with your husband, but that probably is common for you flying this way. There have to be some aisle seats available OR perhaps the gate agent knowing you're retired from the airline, upon check-in or at the gate, if you explain the reason why you require an aisle seat, perhaps with a doctor's note or just company solidarity, ber willing to move someone for you, but maybe your husband still has to take what he gets. There's a lot to be said for charming the check in and gate staff......it's just one of the many ways people get themselves bumped up a class on an airplane.
So the bottom line is, are you always flying standby or are you just able to purchase discounted tickets as a nice retirement benefit, or can you make an actual reservation and just pay the reduced fare? Worst case scenario, why not just ask other passengers while boarding and before taxing to the runway, by giving a brief explanation as to why you REALLY need an aisle seat and see if someone will switch with you? My thinking is that someone would switch seats with you because many folks just want to go to sleep! Are there cranky travelers out there - sure because the whole world has been turned upside down and made travel very annoying now, and more epensive with baggage charges etc and the dreadful SECURITY and now the body scanners. But overall, I think there are still good people in the world, even on an airplane, and so I think someone would respond to your request. On a flight to Paris, we were airborne and I had two seats all to myself, I was thrilled. Not long after I see a guy walking towards me and I know what he wants - my empty seat....his seat would not recline. I knew the flight was not full and could have let him go on wandering but I gave up the seat. No flight attendant was telling me to, on Air France, I doubt they'd try to help (but I do like the airline) and just tell him to try and find another seat. I always try to get a seat up front so I can't get off quick and well, I guess he found me first. I REALLY wanted that seat because it meant there was a possibilty I might actually sleep on that flight. Well I didn't get any sleep but there was no reason for me to tell this man he could have the seat. Always try to be helpful to others, on the ground and in the air.
So if an airline employee won't help you out, count on trying to find a compassionate traveler to help you out. They ARE out there Good luck on future flights getting the seat you need.
Message Board Moderator
I'll revisit this topic briefly.
I usually go to the bathroom shortly before boarding and pick a window seat. I never pay to pick a seat; I go to the kiosk and select (you are more likely to get what you want if you go to the back of the plane) or to the counter or gate agent.
I do window because I like getting a view and sometimes taking photos. More important, I have something to lean against; I can lower the seat arm, cover my eyes and ears, create my own little universe and hopefully sleep, or at least rest and have a feeling of privacy.