From baggage costs to seat upgrades, many airlines will work in separate fees and charges any way that they can. Some passengers are likely to decide certain options are not worth paying more, but you might want to consider throwing in a few extra dollars to make sure you can select your own seat. Talking to flight experts, we found out the absolute worst place to sit on a plane. Read on to find out what spot you should avoid the next time you travel.
The worst place to sit on a plane for relaxation is the back.
If you’ve gotten a seat in the back of the plane, you’re likely to have a stressful time. According to flight experts, this is the worst place to sit if you want a calm and relaxing flight. Phil Dengler, a flight expert and co-owner of The Vacationer, says this area is likely to provide a bumpier ride because it’s farthest away from the wings. You’re also usually the last off the plane, which can be stressful if you have a connecting flight.
“Bathrooms are also in the back, which means potentially bad smells as well as people lined up causing congestion,” Dengler says.
Nicole Hunter, a travel expert and founder of travel website Go Far Grow Close, also notes that the seats in the very last row of the plane do not recline because there is a wall that prevents it. But that can be true even further up on the plane. “Seats in the last row of every section often do not recline or do not fully recline as the plane transitions from the spacing from one section to another,” Hunter explains.
But the worst place for safety purposes is in the middle.
If you’re more of an anxious flyer, you might be more worried about the safety of your flight than about relaxation—especially if you’re not traveling for a long period of time. In that case, the worst seat on a plane might have a different meaning to you. Michelle O’Donnell, a former travel agent and founder of travel website Brit Adventures, says the worst area for you in terms of a plane emergency is the middle.
“From a safety standpoint, however, the worst seat to sit in if there were a plane crash is a seat in the middle row in the middle section of the plane. The fatality rate for that section of a lot of analyzed crashes is quite high,” O’Donnell explains. “Whereas the chances of surviving a plane crash are significantly higher if you sit in the back of the plane on those ‘less desirable’ seats.”
If you want to have the most choice in where you sit, book your flight early.
When it comes to getting the seat you want, booking your flight as early as possible will make all the difference. According to The Points Guy, it is recommended that you book domestic flights one to four months in advance, while international flights should be booked about six months in advance. If you’re booking with an airline that charges you to select seats or does not assign seating—like Allegiant Air, Spirit Airlines, or Southwest Airlines—checking in online as early as possible will give you a better chance in getting to choose a seat or securing a better seat, per Cheap Flights.
“If you value comfort, we recommend booking early, and using the airplane specific seating maps as reference before seat selection,” Eric Sakawsky, the CEO of Worldgo Travel Management, says. “Find an aisle or window seat near the wings and away from any bulkhead. Seat Guru is an excellent resource to help you in the planning stages.”
But if you do end up in a bad seat, there are ways to make your trip more comfortable.
As flight demand continues to increase, the odds of you getting put in a less desirable seat are high. Alex Malebranche, flight expert and founder of PlaneAhead, says the first step to take when you’re in a bad seat is to ask a flight attendant if you can move to a more comfortable one, as long as the flight is not booked to capacity. If you can’t move, there are a few ways to make your trip more comfortable.
“If you are assigned these seats, the best tip to find the most comfort during your flight is to get familiar with the area,” Malebranche says. “Keep personals to a minimum, meaning store as much of your personal belongings (bags, carry-ons, etc.) in the overhead compartment to keep the space in front of your seat open. This allows ease of movement when getting up and out of your seat, while also providing more enjoyment and space for other guests that are seated around you. When we are aware of others and their comfort, chances are they will become more aware of our comfort as well.”
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