After reading our article about the best budget airline, Jill wants to know if there’s a ‘best seat in economy’. Ben offers his tips.
I don’t have a lot of money, so I loved your article about the best budget airlines. I get that they don’t have the best seats and maybe not even the best service, but is there somewhere I should sit that’s better than other parts of the plane?
A. Not all airplane seats are the same, and even if you are travelling in economy, there are still some seats that provide you with extra comfort. Depending on your preferences when flying, you may be able to secure a seat that will make your journey more pleasant.
The unsociable flyer
If you want to maximise your chance of having no-one sitting next to you on your flight, and if you’re hoping to take advantage of that extra space – well, a spot right at the back of the plane is probably best for you. Most people try and avoid these seats because they are bumpier, close to the toilets and galley, and passengers are likely to be last to disembark (depending on the aircraft and the disembarking policy/airport). As well as being in pole position for having an empty seat next to you, you also have a much better chance of having an empty overhead storage compartment for your carry-on luggage.
A little bit of quiet
For those who can’t stand the noise of a plane, you want to try and make sure your seat is in front of the wings. The engine noise is always deflected backwards, so those seats have much more noise pollution. Aisle seats are also quieter than window seats, despite the regular interruptions of the food and drinks trolleys. These seats in front of the wings are also the best option for nervous flyers as the ride in these seats is also smoother.
More legroom, please
For those who like to stretch out, exit rows are typically considered best. There are limitations on who can sit in the exit rows, and if you are travelling with children, they will not be allowed to sit in that section of the plane. Some planes also offer more legroom in the seats behind the bulkhead (the walls that separate different sections of the plane), but this will mean you’ll be unable to stretch your legs out underneath the seat in front, and also gives you less room to store your carry-on luggage.
How to get the seat you want
Most airline websites and major booking engines allow you to choose a seat when you purchase your ticket, or to return to your reservation after your initial purchase and make your seat selection later. This makes it important to buy your tickets early, if you want to secure a seat in your favoured spot. If you have missed out on a seat that you wanted, it never hurts to ask if any new positions have opened up once you reach your boarding gate.