If you are thinking about getting the perfect seat on an airplane can be the difference between a great flight and a miserable one, especially in a coach. But ensuring you get one of the best seats on a plane the next time you travel doesn’t have to be left to prayers and wishful thinking.
Learning the best seats on a plane for your travel style and priorities will help make your next flight more enjoyable. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to! Here are the top strategies for getting the best airline seat for your needs.
Exit rows, aisle or window seats, and anywhere close to the front are typically considered the best seats on a plane. On a short business trip, you might want an aisle seat near the front of the plane so you can debark as quickly as possible on arrival. If you’re a flying coach, here are some tips that will improve your journey, regardless of your travel needs.
The middle rear seats of an aircraft had the lowest fatality rate: 28%, compared to 44% for the middle aisle seats, according to a TIME investigation that examined 35 years’ worth of aircraft accident data.
This also makes logical sense. If there isn’t a fire on that side, sitting next to an exit row will always give you the fastest exit in an emergency.
Popular Mechanics conducted a study that examined every commercial jet crash in the United States, since 1971, that had both fatalities and survivors. This study concluded that where you sit in a plane actually significantly impacts your chance of survival in the extremely unlikely event of a plane crash.
The study found that in U.S. airline crashes, passengers who sat in the back of the plane had a 69% chance of survival, compared to a 56% chance for those who sat over the wing, and 49% for those in the (front 1/4 of the plane). The conclusion was that the passengers in the back of the plane were the safest. Of course, flying is still the safest mode of transportation.
If you travel with kids, you know the dread of getting stuck in the center seat, with kids squirming and fussing. Then there are the last-second emergencies to the bathroom. It can be embarrassing, but the right seat can make things easier.
When traveling with kids, try to get a bulkhead row. These rows offer extra space in front, so kids can stand up to get the occasional wiggles out (when the seatbelt light is off, of course). This also means kids aren’t bothering the row in front of you, which cuts down the number of glaring looks you get.