The best seat on the plane? It's when there are empty seats next to mine... That leaves plenty of room to stretch out your legs! (Air Asia X flight, February 2012)
The best seat on the plane? It's when there are empty seats next to mine... That leaves plenty of room to stretch out your legs! (Air Asia X flight, February 2012)

The Best Place to Sit on a Plane

#Travel

  Between Two Journeys

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 


Sometimes you get to choose your seat on the plane. Dilemma: is it better to sit in the front, middle or back of the plane? What is the best seat in the plane?

Which seat to choose?

I have the chance to fly soon for a new escapade in Southeast Asia! And the airline I'm flying with allows passengers to select their seat on the plane in advance via their website. I love it!!!

On the website of some airlines, you can choose your seat in the plane. (Screenshot: Emirates)
On the website of some airlines, you can choose your seat in the plane. (Screenshot: Emirates)

Just tick a small square in the online reservation manager for the desired seat. But here it is, despite my excitement, when I was ready to click, I had some doubts...

So, before I made up my mind, I googled "best seat in a plane". That's clever... Now I don't know which seat to choose at all! 🤔

Porthole: my favourite seat on a plane

I mean, yes. Whenever possible, I always take a window. There's no doubt about it: I like to see outside, to watch the take-off, the landing, I like to look at the clouds, the lights of the cities at night, the mosaic of fields, the blue expanse of the oceans.

And then the side corner makes it possible to put a cushion, a pillow, to support your head, to be more comfortable, to soothe your neck. I am a big fan of the window seat.

Unobstructed view... Long live the window! (Indonesia, Lion Air flight, February 2012)
Great view... Long live the window! (Indonesia, Lion Air flight, February 2012)

And when I need to get out of the row, I disturb my neighbors politely with a big smile without feeling too guilty (after all, it's good for everyone to move around a bit during such a long flight). If they are sleeping, I sometimes dare (only when it's the middle of the "night" on a long-haul flight and the whole cabin is plunged in the dark) to step over their knees while climbing on my seat to pass discreetly and lightly, in my socks, from armrest to armrest... Often they don't see anything. At worst, they open one eye and watch me do it, a bit frightened but not angry that they didn't have to get up.

Anyway, anyway. The best seat on the plane is a window seat for me.

Of course, seats at emergency exits are the most popular, as there is legroom. But by the time I make my reservation, they're all already taken or pre-empted. Too bad.

View of the porthole in a Lion Air plane. Indonesia, March 2013.
I am a fan of the porthole, if only for the view ...

The best seat in the plane: in the front, in the middle, in the back?

In fact, what I'm wondering about is which window to choose: the front, the middle or the back of the aircraft?

It's strange that I'm now concerned about this detail, even though I've already taken the plane many times, especially since it's not the first time I've chosen my seat in advance on a reservation site. I usually do it without any qualms. And I'm not prone to fear on planes.

Although. I invite you to reread some posts published on this blog:
 Traffic jams of the sky
 Effective Prayers on Lion Air
Thirteen takeoffs and thirteen landings
The fright of flying (the only time I was really scared)
Say Your Prayers on Lion Air (bis)

😱

In the Air Asia plane.
Where's the best place on the plane? In the front, in the middle or in the back?

So, because of Google, I dug up a lot of links about "the best seat on the plane". I got three things out of it:

1. We would be more likely to survive an air crash if we are placed in the back of the plane. A statistical study, carried out on accidents that have occurred since the 1970s in the United States, says so (see diagram below). Logical: in case of impact, it is the front that takes everything...

2. But the flight is less pleasant (or even more distressing) at the back of the plane, because there is more turbulence. And when landing, we are usually in the last to leave the aircraft. Not ideal, we end up at the end of an endless queue for transit checks or formalities on arrival. Better to sit at the front to save time.

3. The flight is in principle more comfortable in the middle of the aircraft, at wing level. The shaking is less during turbulence. But it is also at this level that the reservoir is. In case of fire or explosion, the worst place, so (if we like to imagine the worst).

Survival rates for different parts of the passenger cabin, based on an analysis of all commercial aircraft crashes in the United States since 1971 where detailed seat data were available. (Source: Popular Mechanics, illustration by Gil Ahn, provided by seatguru.com)
Survival rates for different parts of the passenger cabin, based on an analysis of all commercial aircraft crashes in the United States since 1971 where detailed seat data were available. (Source : Popular Mechanics(Illustration by Gil Ahn, provided by seatguru.com)

Here are some interesting links I found on this subject:
➜ Safest Seat on a Plane [Popular Mechanics] (the famous American statistical study, in English)
This is the Safest Place to Sit on a Plane [Time] (similar statistical analysis)
➜ How to choose the best seat by plane [LeFigaro.fr]
➜ Fear of Flying Forum [Crash-aerien.com]
The safest seat on a plane [HuffPostQuebec]

Choose comfort

Morality: it's not a good idea to ask Google these kinds of questions... 😂  

This story of a seat in the front, middle or back is a false dilemma. Crashes are extremely rare, it's a bit silly to choose one's place in relation to this risk criterion. Actually, when it comes to choosing the best seat in the plane, the real criterion, is your comfort.

The best seat on the plane? It's when there are empty seats next to mine... That leaves plenty of room to stretch out your legs! (Air Asia X flight, February 2012)
The best seat on the plane? It's when there are empty seats next to mine... That leaves plenty of room to stretch out your legs! (Air Asia X flight, February 2012)

To finish, I found another link, very interesting to choose the best seat in the plane according to this criterion:

SeatGuru.com website

This lists all types of aircraft in service on commercial flights, specifying for each seat the disadvantages and advantages in terms of comfort: legroom, proximity to toilets and galleys, inclination of the backrests, location in relation to the collective projection screen or presence of individual screens, etc.

So it's worth checking what type of aircraft you're going to fly and studying its configuration before booking your seat.

The SeatGuru site details the advantages and disadvantages of seats depending on the aircraft. Very useful to find the best seat in the plane.
The SeatGuru site details the advantages and disadvantages of seats depending on the aircraft. Very useful to find the best seat in the plane.

Conclusion: the real best seat in the plane

In short: there's nothing to twist, the real best seat on a plane is obviously the one that allows you to spend the trip as pleasantly (in other words, as comfortably) as possible ...

Naturally, the most ideal thing is to be upgraded and get a taste of the luxury of first or business class seating. I secretly dream about it every time I make a reservation.

Well... The important thing is that there's a pilot on the plane!

????

On a plane operated by Garuda, the Indonesian national airline. (Jakarta-Makassar flight, January 2015)
On a plane operated by Garuda, the Indonesian national airline. (Jakarta-Makassar flight, January 2015)

Get upgraded

UPDATE # 1 → July 2013: it finally happened to me, to taste something other than the relative comfort of economy class: in exchange for extra miles, I was able to travel in business class, on an Emirates flight, between Dubai and Paris!!! The big foot. Maybe I'll tell you about it someday...

UPDATE # 2 → July 2016: it ended up happening to me too, to graciously benefit, without asking for anything or trying anything special, from a business upgrade on a Qatar Airways flight, between Doha and Jakarta!!!! Even more pleasant, since it was really a surprise... Happiness in the air. I tell it here → How to get a flight upgrade for free.

UPDATE # 3 → July 2018: I have once again managed to get an upgrade with Qatar Airways on the Doha-Jakarta leg!!! This time, as I had just acquired the higher status in the frequent flyer programme, I was able to present myself for boarding in the priority VIP queue... And while I hadn't even asked for the upgrade yet, the young woman at the ticket office did it immediately when she saw me handing out my boarding-pass. She changed my eco class ticket back to business! Yess!!!

UPDATE # 4 February-March 2019: I became the queen of the upgrade, I benefited from TWO upgrades free, one on the outward journey and the other on the return journey, on the Paris-Doha section. From now on, when boarding, I no longer hesitate to systematically ask if there is a possibility of a free upgrade, always very politely, just in case... You're never safe from a very good surprise.

🙃

Getting upgraded on a plane... a chance that doesn't come along every day. But don't hesitate to ask, when boarding the plane. You never know...
Getting upgraded on a plane... a chance that doesn't come along every day. But don't hesitate to ask when you board. You never know...

  Between Two Journeys

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