Last Updated on December 17, 2019
When it comes to traveling, not every part of it is perfect. For most people, for example, everything related to the air travel can be truly unpleasant: having to arrive early at the airport, going through the TSA checking point, spending an outrageous amount of money for a simple coffee, waiting at the boarding gate… and even the flight itself.
Surviving a long-haul flight may not be an easy task, especially if your seat location is one of the worst on the airplane. We can’t all afford to travel first class, where seats are large, extraordinary cushy (some airlines even provide seat extenders) and include every perk and extra you can think of.
But that doesn’t mean that you are doomed to sit for hours in an awkward position due to the lack of legroom, or that you need to give up your armrest to the person seated next to you.
There are a few things you can do to make sure you end up in a good seat. Before going into that, let’s first try to find out which exactly the best seats on an airplane are and what makes them great.
#1 – Best airplane seats: Legroom
The best seat on a plane will be in different parts of the seat map depending on the type of traveler you are. Therefore, it is important to know the different comfort factors you value the most when flying before picking a specific seat.
Tall people know what it feels like to struggle with legroom during a long flight. It can make the whole flight daunting and force you to stand up over and over again to stretch your legs and stop the pain for a few minutes.
Front seats, seats on the front of a section (in case you are flying in a bigger airplane), and on an exit row have the most legroom, and on the first two, you won’t have to deal with a reclined seat in front of you.
#2 – Quietest
If you enjoy silence the most, you should stay away from seats near the front bassinet, as they are usually reserved for parents with small children and babies (a crying baby can turn a flight into a true nightmare), and from the galley, where the crew members prepare meals and drinks.
Your best option is either the front seats on an airplane that doesn’t have bassinets available, or a front-middle seat. The airplane engine noise makes the rear of the cabin the loudest.
Another great tip would be to buy noise-canceling headphones. That way you will be able to enjoy your music or videos without hearing any of the annoying background noises. They are a must-have for frequent travelers!
#3 – Safest
There are people who get extremely stressed before flying, and even need to take medication to counteract their flight anxiety.
From a certain point of view, it is understandable: you are confined in a claustrophobic space six miles above the ground possibly subject to adverse atmospheric conditions that make the airplane shake while you pray for your life in disguise.
If you are one of those people, you will be glad to know that passengers traveling on the aisle seats to the rear of the airplane have a higher chance of surviving a crash.
Remember, the airplane is by far the safest means of transport in the world… but in the unlikely event of an air crash, you probably won’t survive it anyway.
#4 – Smooth ride
For those who appreciate smooth flights and get agitated during the most intense periods of turbulence, there’s only one option: buying a seat over the wing, right in the middle of the plane. That is where turbulence is the least noticeable.
If you are flying on a small airplane (like most models used in domestic flights), be prepared for a bumpy ride.
#5 – Cheapest
If you are not too picky about all these parameters we used to evaluate the quality of an airplane seat and you consider the best seat to be the one that saves you the most money, you should just leave it to being randomly assigned when you book your flight or when you check-in.
This way you won’t pay any extra fee and your flight ticket will be as cheap as it can be.
#1 – 5 Ways To Guarantee A Great Seat: Join a frequent traveler program
If your job or lifestyle makes you travel very often, you should definitely sign up for a frequent flyer program so that all the miles you collect annually can be converted into useful benefits.
After reaching 25 thousand air miles on your membership card you will become an elite flyer. That means that you will be rewarded with flight upgrades every time there’s one available – which includes better seats, among many other perks.
#2 – Book your flight and check-in ASAP
The only way you can guarantee the exact seat you want is by booking it before anyone else does. That means you shouldn’t delay the ticket acquisition, especially when you know for sure that you must be on a certain flight (due to work-related compromises, for example).
#3 – Buy a specific seat
It may cost you a little bit of money (especially with some airlines), but if you value comfort then it will definitely be well worth it. Select the exact seat you want according to the tips we mentioned above when purchasing your ticket and enjoy your flight.
#4 – Arrive at the airport early
Some airlines require that you check-in at least 30 minutes in advance and arrive at your gate no less than 15 minutes before the departure time (other airlines, like Alaska Airlines, require that you validate your boarding pass no more than 30 minutes before the scheduled time for departure).
This means that if you arrive late at the airport, your seat may have been given away to another passenger. You will either miss your flight completely or have to seat somewhere else. Check the airline’s guidelines to know how far in advance you should arrive at the airport and validate your boarding pass.
#5 – Ask for a good seat
If for some reason you are unhappy with the seat you have been assigned with, talk to a crew member and explain your situation.
Be nice and friendly while explaining the reasons behind your displeasure and ask if any other seat is available. You may get lucky – even on crowded flights, sometimes there are passengers who don’t show up for boarding.