HomeTravelHow to survive the worst plane seat

How to survive the worst plane seat

Most people try to avoid the middle seat on a plane. If you get stuck with it, here’s how to survive the worst plane seat.

Sleeping suggestions

The biggest problem with the middle seat is where to lay your head if you are trying to sleep on the plane. Obviously, if you are seated next to your partner you don’t have quite as many problems as you may be able to have a shoulder to sleep on, especially if they have an aisle seat next to them. However, if you don’t have that luxury you may have to try some alternatives. One option is to find a neck pillow that suits you and try sleeping upright. The other option is pulling down your tray table and sleeping in a forward position with your head resting on a pillow or a rolled-up jacket. Just make sure not to put your face directly onto the tray table as they can be covered in bacteria.

Board early

The key to making the most of the middle seat is making sure that you get at least one or possibly both of the armrests. One way to do that is to board at your earliest opportunity and mark your territory straight away. Courteous travellers will usually cede the armrests to people in the middle seats, but as you may have found out in your previous travels not everyone is courteous these days.

Stay entertained

You won’t be able to take advantage of daydreaming while looking out the window, but it is important to keep busy to distract yourself from your situation. Bring a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to help keep you immersed in your in-flight movies or make sure you pack a really good book for the flight.

Prepare well beforehand

It’s annoying business bashing elbows with the passenger next to you whilst you’re hunting around in your bag for your book, phone or anything else for that matter. And you may have trouble getting to overhead storage to access your goodies during a flight, so it does pay to pack wisely beforehand. Set yourself up with everything you’ll need for your flight, including snacks, reading materials, tech and headphones and place it all in the pocket on the rear of the seat in front of you for easy access.

Ask to be reseated

Just because you were assigned a middle seat, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other seats available. Once the seat belt sign is switched off and your plane is cruising at a high altitude, it could be worth asking a flight attendant if there are any aisle or window seats available. This will almost certainly result in you moving further back in the plane, but they will usually be happy to reseat you if there are other seats available to make your flight more enjoyable.

Do you think the middle seats are the worst on the plane? Do you have any flight survival tips you would like to share?

Also read: What’s the safest seat on a plane? We asked an aviation expert

Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.


  1. In my experience, flight crews will seldom reseat passengers. Aircraft loads are distributed and air safety rules require every passenger is in their recorded seat. Once people have boarded, flight changes are discouraged by airlines and pilots.

    • but it happens all the time if there is a spare seat or row its taken in a flash. Also with people moving about standing at the back quite often to stretch their legs for a while would not affect the loads too much unless of course the whole plane heads to the tail end at once!

- Our Partners -


- Advertisment -


- Advertisment -

Log In

Forgot password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.