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Where To SIt On A Plane
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A Bloke

Where Is The Best Seat On A Plane

When I was young, eager to explore everything the world had to offer a fresh graduate in possession of a store of boundless energy but barely two pennies to rub together, only one thing mattered about the flights I took to distant continents: how cheap they were. I was able to endure all manner of discomfort and inconvenience as long as it got me to my destination without breaking my very meagre bank.

As a middle-aged bloke with countless flights under my belt, I’ve discovered a few tips and tricks that have made economy air travel a lot more bearable. 

Ticket Type

Most airlines these days offer different tiers of economy tickets, especially budget carriers such as Wizz and Ryanair. Attached to the higher tiers are various benefits:

  • Increased baggage allowance, both weight and the number of items

  • The ability to change or reschedule your flight without penalties

  • Seat selection on the plane

On most airlines, long-haul and short-haul, you get to pick your seat long before you set foot in the airport. If you’re lucky, seat selection is free, but in this age of ubiquitous subscriptions and inescapable “value-added upgrades”, it’s almost guaranteed that choosing your seat is going to incur an extra cost.

Thankfully, even the more premium-level airlines don’t usually charge more than around £30 or 40 for the privilege of choosing your seat, although it can be a bitter pill to swallow after having already forked out many hundreds of pounds on a ticket. 

Bear in mind that often the option to choose your seat is only available when you purchase your ticket directly from the airline via their website or app, rather than from a travel agent.

Of course, it’s not impossible to do this if you have bought your tickets the old-fashioned way, it just requires an additional step. If you bought your tickets from an agency, simply take the booking reference number (which is usually something like “5BT VFF”) on the ticket and go to the airline’s website and select “manage your flight” (or click on any similarly named link on the homepage). Once logged in, you’ll usually be taken to a section of the website where you’re offered options and upgrades, and seat selection is almost always one of these options that you can get to with a few clicks of the mouse.

Airsickness

If airsickness or any other sort of constant motion makes you queasy, the best seats to pick are those right on the wings of the plane. Just about every airline website will show you a bird’s eye view of the aircraft body and the location of the seats, so you can see exactly which ones are on the wings. One thing to bear in mind about sitting on the wings, though, is that these seats are often noisier due to their proximity to the engines.

Legroom

Now, if you’re a tall bloke, legroom is often a major concern. You can get yourself extra legroom by booking a seat in any of the front rows (which are often emergency exits). There are two caveats to these rows, though: these seats often cost a lot more (we’re talking anything up to £50 or even £100), and they’re also often taken by people with toddlers or babies because of the nearby bassinets. Is the extra legroom worth the chance of being seated right next to a screaming infant for seven hours of hell? It can be a dangerous gamble…

Upper Desk or Lower Deck

On larger aircraft, you may also be offered the option of upper deck and lower deck. If you value quietness – as most middle-aged people do – it’s almost always quieter and less crowded on the upper deck.

Front or Back of the Plane

I usually prefer to sit near the back of the rear section, because I value quietness above all else, and this is the section in which you’re most likely to find it. Just don’t sit in the very rearmost rows, as you may find yourself right next to the bogs. In addition to the frequency of unpleasant smells, you’ll also find passengers queuing up for the toilet right next to your seat for much of the flight.

Seats Located In The Centre of Plane

The seats in the very centre of the plane are the last to get served food and snacks. As service starts from the front and back, progressing towards the middle

Window, Middle or Aisle Seat

Finally, there’s the question of window, middle or aisle seat. Middle is hands-down the worst. Window seat is fantastic if you’re one of those lucky people who are able to sleep right through a flight, nodding off shortly after take-off and waking up feeling refreshed and rested just before the plane touches down.

I, unfortunately, am not one of those lucky souls. I can barely get any sleep on aeroplanes, and owing to my (healthy!) habit of staying well-hydrated, I often need to get up to visit the bathroom. This means an aisle seat is a no-brainer for me – no climbing over annoyed passengers and muttering awkward apologies every time I need to get up.

So, that’s when it comes to the art of choosing your seat on an aeroplane. Happy flying, my middle-aged brethren!

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