Best places to sit on an airplane
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Aisle or Window: The best seats on an airplane

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When booking or checking in for your flight, you may be given the option to select your seat on the airplane. Do you prefer an aisle seat or a window seat during your journey? For me, it depends primarily on the length of the flight. Most of the time, I am an aisle person.

Window seats

In a general poll, window seats tend to be the most popular. As a child, I always preferred the window seat because I always liked to look out the window, and you can lean your head against the airplane wall to take a nap. You don’t have to choose between leaning towards a person or getting in the way of the aisle.

Window seats are ideal for long flights, in my opinion. There is the con of having to ask everyone to get up when you need to use the restroom. However, this means that nobody has to ask you to move. if you have headphones plugged into the entertainment console or you are charging a device, you don’t have to worry about reorganizing and adjusting every time your row-mate needs to get up. You can really make yourself comfortable. I will usually wait until the rest of the row is getting up, and use that opportunity to stretch my legs and use the restroom.

Depending on where you are flying, the views out the window can be phenomenal. I love traveling from California, because you almost always pass gorgeous mountains or canyons along the way. I like to guess what cities we are near, and then checking the map to see how accurate I was. If you are flying during a sunset, you will also get an excellent view. This also means you have the flexibility of adjusting the window screen! If the sunset is too bright, or you are just trying to take a nap, you get to choose the amount of light entering your row.

Aisle seats

Aisle seats on an airplane are nice because you have the freedom to get up whenever you’d like, without having to bother someone else. This means you can get something out of your suitcase in the overhead bins above, or you can

Additionally, I prefer to use the adjustable headrests for sleeping. If you are fortunate to be on a plane with the below headrests, you can actually move the edges to create a floating pillow to lean against.

A lot of people will roll their eyes at this, but I also prefer aisle seats because I like to be one of the first individuals to stand up and get my suitcase from the overhead bin. It gives me anxiety to have people waiting on me, and watching as I try to pull my suitcase out from above. Because of this, I prefer to stand up quickly so that I can take my time getting my suitcase out. If it’s a shorter flight where I brought a carry-on, I definitely prefer the aisle seat.

Seats to avoid

You do not want to sit in the row right before the exit row. While the exit row tends to have extra leg room, this is because people would need to be able to get through in the event of an emergency. Because of this, the seats in the row before the exit row do not decline, or only recline slightly. This makes for a less comfortable trip.

Similarly, the very last row of the plane has seats that do not recline as far back. I also think it’s commonly understood that nobody wants the middle seat. There are no pros to a middle seat, and should be avoided at all cost.

I personally also avoid the seats directly behind first class. There is typically a pavilion separating first class and economy. Occasionally this means  that there is some extra leg room, but you do not have space to put your smaller bag. I like having access to my purse or backpack, and I do not want to have to get out of my seat to get to it.

In conclusion

There are a lot of seats to avoid on a plane, but is it better to see in the aisle or window seat? For domestic travel, I will always choose an aisle seat. I like the flexibility of being able to get up when I’d like, and the flexibility of having access to my overhead bags. For much longer flights, I prefer a window seat so that I don’t have to move my entertainment out of the way for everyone else. I also likely checked my bag instead, and I can take my time getting off the plane. There are pros and cons to both seats on an airplane, however I primarily lean towards the aisle.

Which do you prefer – aisle or window seats?


If you’re traveling for a business trip, you will want to read:


Aisle or Window Seat | The best seats on an airplane

Michelle Maraj is a consultant who frequently gets the opportunity to travel for work. Michelle loves pretending she knows how to use a camera, seeing new cities, and visiting touristy attractions. Michelle currently runs www.travelafterfive.com.

5 Comments

  • Max

    I just had this same debate with myself, and basically came to the same conclusion! The only complication when I choose a window seat is my fear of flying…

  • Sarah

    Window seat for me. Well unless I am travelling with my husband, then it is window seat for him (with 6 flights tops a year for him and 80+ for me, that is a small sacrifice to make) 🙂
    And if it is long haul, I will reserve my seat early, to snap up one of the twin seats in the back of the cabin (if flying economy obviously). If it is only two of you in a row, it doesn’t matter that much if it is window or aisle TBH.

  • Sapna

    I prefer the window seat because it gives me the opportunity to avoid interaction when I am traveling alone. And also even after so many years when I don’t want to read or sleep then I can look out of window.

  • Chelsea

    The worst flight of my life was a direct from London to Austin, Texas. I was stuck in the middle seat between a woman who had to pee every two hours and a lady with full-blown flu. Now, I always pay the extra money to choose my window seat ahead of time 🙂

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