Where Is The Absolute Best Seat On The Airplane?

We all have our favorite spots on the plane — a window seat in an exit row so we can rest our heads on the wall and doze off, while stretching out our legs. Or perhaps an aisle seat, so as not to have to disturb our rowmates to get up and use the bathroom. But a new study claims to have determined the absolute best seat on any plane. And that seat is…

…6A, according to Skyscanner (via HLNTV), which surveyed 1,000 people about their air travel preferences. Combining all those responses, they came up with the magic seat.

The survey says 45% of people prefer the first few rows of seats, so they can be the first to deplane at the destination. Although we must point out, sometimes if you’re among the last to get on the plane (if you’re boarded by zone), you might not have a spot for your stuff in the overhead bin by the time you get on.

A window seat is also preferred by 60% of travelers polled, which leaves 40% for the aisle and a less than 1% who like the middle seat. Whoever you are, we would like to speak to you and see what makes you tick.

The very worst seat, says the study, is 31E, a middle seat, near the back, with a long wait for refreshments and no easy way to get out to pee.

Of course, these seat preferences could change depending on the size of the plane you’re on, or whether or not you’re splurging for first or business class on an domestic or international flight. And even 6A looks kind of dismal when seated next to that person with the smelliest food ever or a shrieking baby, right?

A New poll by Skyscanner reveals which seat most passengers are actually vying for [Skyscanner]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    The pilot’s seat in the cockpit.

  2. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    The best seat on a plane is whichever one doesn’t have another passenger on either side of you. Although it is a bonus to get the exit row…more legroom.

    • bite back says:

      Or the one that doesn’t have a seat-kicking child behind you or a ear-splitting screaming baby within earshot.

  3. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    The best seat on an airplane is the absolute cheapest one available.

    I regularly fly Allegiant — All I care about is price. If I had an option to fly like I did when I was in the Army (crammed on a long webbing bench, facing people on the other side, with cargo in the center, no bathroom, virtually no light…) I’d probably do that too if it was cheap enough.

    • Egregious Philbin says:

      I got to fly on a 707 (KC135R) a few months ago like that! But we also got to sit in the cockpit and down in the refueler’s nest while they were refueling B2 Stealth Bombers…..

      Too cool.

  4. RandomHookup says:

    Window seat, really? Aisle for the extra room (even if the plane is full), plus not having to crawl over anyone to get to the loo.

    • madrigal says:

      I like the window seat so I don’t have to move whenever someone needs to get up.

      • Marlin says:

        Yep, use the bathroom before you get on and then you can relax then entire trip. Unelss you had the fish.

    • Chris says:

      What extra room? If you spill out into the aisle you get hit by passersby and the drinks cart.
      Agreed about the not having to ask people to get up when you go to the bathroom but some people (like myself) would rather ask others to move than to be asked to move by others. Aisle is better for sleeping.

      • Misha says:

        “Aisle is better for sleeping” makes no sense in the context of the rest of your comment.

      • RandomHookup says:

        Depending on the flight, yes, you can infringe on the aisle with your legs and arms. Plus you have easier access to your bags overhead.

        Sure you can plan the bathroom stuff, but 4 hours with a meal & beverages makes it tough on an old man’s bladder.

    • tungstencoil says:

      Far be it from me to dispute someone’s personal preference, but I will say all other things being equal I’m a window guy. I’m (really) tall; everyone assumes I’d like the aisle but no matter what if I extend into the aisle, I’m tripping people, having the flight attendants yell at me, etc. I’m so tall I have trouble hunching/adjusting so I can sleep, and I get no neck support.

      Put me against a window, and I can angle my upper body to give some degree of support against the side of the plane.

      • RandomHookup says:

        You’re right that everybody has their own reason for picking a seat, but the aisle seats usually go first.

  5. consumed says:

    I like 6C/6D, it’s usually a bulkhead seat for extra leg room, plus I can stretch out my legs into the aisle when the flight attendants aren’t up and about. 6A, I really don’t like because I can’t stretch out as far.

  6. Scooter McGee says:
  7. BigHeadEd says:

    I love the exit row seats that have the solid armrest / separators between seats. Keeps fat rear ends of fellow passengers (or mine) firmly boxed in with no butt-to-butt.

  8. falnfenix says:

    my SO is 6’4″. we go for anything that doesn’t allow the seats in front of us to recline. exit row seating FTW.

  9. crispyduck13 says:

    The best seat is the one furthest away from the crying baby.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      You beat me to it!

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      I have no problem with crying babies. It’s like lullaby music for me. Just kids exercising their lungs. My wife always envied that in me, because she couldn’t sleep when our babies were crying. Give me the exit aisle with screaming / nursing babies on either side of me. Heck, throw and bunch of screamers behind me too, just give me that legroom.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        You can hold the babies then. LOL I picture you with a pile of wide-mouthed bawling babies crawling all over you and you just sitting there nodding off!

  10. BelleSade says:

    I’m 5′, and sorry but I take the aisle seat, since I constantly get up to use the bathroom (yeah chronic conditions!) and think it’s more annoying for all involved to make someone stand up at least four times in 3 hour plane ride.

    • katarzyna says:

      Yep, I invariably need to use the restroom more than anyone else in the row. When someone asks me to move, I usually take that opportunity to go to the bathroom as well.

  11. brinkman says:

    I always pick the A seat in the last row. It’s usually among the first non-elites to board and I don’t mind waiting to disembark.

    Added bonus on a Lufthansa flight I took recently–by the time meal service got back to my row, they’d run out of economy meals so the last few rows of economy got business class meals.

  12. speaky2k says:

    I just bought some plane tickets and for one leg I am in seat 5A, missed it by >

    • speaky2k says:

      Ok, that didn’t post right for some reason.
      …. that much. This is on a SAAB 340 which has a single A seat and 2 seats on the other side of the aisle. On the return trip I have 11A for both legs so I don’t have to remember which seat I sit in for what part of the flight. The nice thing about the SAAB 340 and A seats is that you get the best of both worlds, window & aisle, plus no middle.

  13. cromartie says:

    In First/Business Class, I’m told it’s 2C. On the aisle, near the front, with first on/first off privileges.

    My own personal preference is 1F. First row by the window on the right side of the plane.

    If I’m slumming it in coach, the bulkhead row by the window on the right side of the plane, which is usually 6F or 19F depending on how the row is numbered. Extra leg room, you don’t board last necessarily (because if you’re paying extra on Delta for a bulkhead row, you’re also boarding with the second group) and you still get off the plane fairly quickly.

  14. Nighthawke says:

    The old style Southwest Airlines 737-200 (the ones with the cigar-shaped JT8D engines) had a lounge section over the wing. This section had facing seats with an acre of leg room. Being big and burly, I’d grab a wing seat each time I flew in one. Naturally, the FA’s would brief me about being beside the exit door and what we would need to do in an emergency. I’d just nod my head, lean back (I really didn’t need to recline my seat back much), prop my feet up on the seat across from me and sleep for the 1 hour hop to HOU from CRP. a luxury in those days. Now the next generation 737 (300’s, 400’s) that were re-engined CFM56 (nicknamed Hoovers for being so low to the ground they would suck everything up) had the lounge too, but they did away with it on later models.

  15. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    I often end up on ERJ-145 or similar which have a single row seat, aisle, then 2 rows. I fly the single row.

  16. nffcnnr says:

    Window seat, each and every time. But which side of the plane? Depends on which direction i’m traveling and at what time of day. i like to take pics out the window, so try to choose my seat to catch a sunrise or sunset.
    i like to be near the back, away from the wing, if possible. It doesn’t matter to me if i deboard 2 minutes later than the people up front, but i usually don’t have issues finding space in the overhead to stow my bag.

  17. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    The advantage of the middle seat (though this is not for everybody) is that it guarantees you’ll have singles on both sides of you. This gives you people to talk to/flirt with during the trip, if you are so inclined.

  18. sweaterhogans says:

    Why do they make seats in groups of 3? Don’t most people travel in 2s or some other even #? My husband is 6’1 with broad shoulders and I’m 5′ so I’m always in the middle. And every single time, I’m sitting next to a single weird guy (who else travels to other countries by themselves). I’ve just gotten used to my legs aching from not touching the ground and my shoulders getting crunched between 2 men.

    • coold8 says:

      Business travelers? Pilots? Students? People going to a funeral? People who are meeting a friend? People visiting family who don’t live in the same city as the rest of their family, but a majority are just sex offenders.

      • sweaterhogans says:

        Yes, I understand that sometimes men must fly alone, but in my travels the “normal” ones never end up sitting next to me. And although I know it happens, I almost never see a female flying 20 hrs by herself. I’m not talking domestic flights either. I’m talking about a young, awkward male on a plane across the world. Clearly not businessmen. And on a flight to Japan or Thailand, you can tell who’s up to no good.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      “And every single time, I’m sitting next to a single weird guy (who else travels to other countries by themselves).”

      Um, people on business, people going to see friends, people meeting their spouses in that other country, etc.

  19. sherrietee says:

    Give me the aisle seat every time. I like being able to jump up and GTFO, especially since my carryon is usually stowed under my seat as opposed to overhead.

  20. xamarshahx says:

    Used to love the window until the planes got cramped, now I like the Aisle.

  21. Gertie says:

    I prefer the back of the plane, window seat, if there’s no connecting flight. If it nosedives into the ground, the front and middle of the plane will absorb most of the impact. Greatest chance of survival! Plus, it’s really no huge deal to wait for the rest of the plane to unload. I just sit there and watch everyone else stand and look miserable with their arms in the air, trying to pull down their bags. Standing. Waiting. Miserable. By the time I disembark, plane is mostly empty. If you check baggage and you’re the first off, you still have to wait for it to be unloaded onto the carousel, right? There’s waiting, no matter what. I’d rather wait in a seat, stroll to baggage, and get my bag right away.

  22. orion70 says:

    I almost always choose a seat over the wing if I can, as I’m told you feel the turbulence less there.

    I like aisle seats for the easier access, but also I can guarantee at least one armrest and not be squished up against the wall.

    One of the worst seats are those in the first row right behind first class. You get to see and smell all the better food and bonuses go by, and get to feel extra lowly when they close that big curtain right in front of your face.

  23. MaytagRepairman says:

    “and a less than 1% who like the middle seat. Whoever you are, we would like to speak to you and see what makes you tick.”

    During holidays and flying alone, I’ve been known to ask for the middle seat. It reduces your chances of flying with a parent + toddler. I was once on a business trip and didn’t have time to change out of the suit before rushing off to the airport. I think it was about a week before Thanksgiving and families were already displacing the normal business travelers. I was stuck in a row with a parent who put their toddler in the middle seat. The kid managed to dump orange juice on my suit and then giggle about it.

  24. wetrat says:

    How about “any seat in First Class”?

  25. Cerne says:

    At 6′ 7″ and 280 pounds the only semi-comfortable seat is exit row aisle. I wished airlines would reserve those seats for people above a certain height, I don’t mind paying more, but I find it annoying when some little 5’6″ woman is swinging her legs in the aisle.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      ” I wished airlines would reserve those seats for people above a certain height, I don’t mind paying more,”

      Clearly, you do mind paying more, otherwise you’d be traveling in first. The airlines are allocating those seats on the basis of “who’s a valuable customer,” not on the basis of “from each according to his ability to each according to his need.”

  26. Geekybiker says:

    Depends if you are traveling by yourself or with a group. Also if you need space in the overhead compartments or not. Windows seats get earlier boarding groups for better luggage storage. They are also better if you plan on sleeping on the flight. I prefer aisle seats so I can get up and stretch if I need to. You never want a row in front of the emergency exits- they don’t recline. Bulkhead seats are narrower (tray tables in arms) and no place to store belongings near you feet. Emergency row seats are similarly narrow, but have storage. In general when I travel with my wife I try to book a aisle and window in the same row as close to the front as I can. This gives us a fair chance of a row to ourselves and if it is seated, it is easy to trade so we sit together.

    • pamelad says:

      Good strategy! And if it’s true that only 1% prefer the middle seat, then your chances of offering a trade for a window or aisle seat are excellent.

  27. TrustAvidity says:

    On the last few flights I’ve been on, 31E wouldn’t be a long wait for refreshments. It’d be one of the quickest. They’ve always started at the back and worked forward… only when they were halfway up the plane did someone start coming from the front of the plane.

  28. M-D says:

    Seat 6A…a seat that doesn’t exist on United narrowbody aircraft…


  29. AllanG54 says:

    Although I prefer as close to the front as I can get sitting in the back is safer. Remember, it’s the front of the plane that crashes first.

  30. Autoexec.bat says:

    Window for any flight less than 5 hours. Aisle for anything longer. I am 6’4″ and aisle seats are generally annoying. Don’t care what row. Bag always checked planeside.

  31. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I’m a tall woman so either exit row or near the window so I can rearrange myself into that little curve of the wall and prop my feet. I don’t mind the aisle. However, don’t put me in it toward the back of the plane, because then the flight attendant bumps me with his/her ass when they’re going in and out of their little space. The one time I did take a nonstop flight from where I live I made sure to pay extra for an exit row so I’d be able to stretch out a bit. I usually fly in legs (cheaper), and no matter how uncomfy it is I don’t have to put up with it for very long.

    I also have a tiny bladder, and I try to pee before I get on the plane so I don’t have to get up and make other people move.

  32. bwcbwc says:

    31E would definitely be a bad seat on a plane with only 26 rows of seats…

  33. Egregious Philbin says:

    As a long time airline employee (who still has flight bennies for life after retirement), I must say, the best seat is the cockpit jumpseat.

    Other than that, its any seat I can get for free!

  34. najnad says:

    As someone else mentioned, it depends a lot on the plane…see http://www.seatguru.com – that site is great for letting you know about some quirks certain planes have that you would otherwise be unaware…like equipment boxes under the seat in front of you reducing storage, or proximity to bathroom/oder, or ability to comfortably see video screens, etc.

    That being said, if I cant check seat guru before picking my seat I try for one of these: first/business class – second row aisle for the underseat storage you dont get in the first row and quick exit of the plane; economy – first row after exit row aisle or two rows before exit row aisle as these are usually over the wing, recline, have underseat storage, and experience the least sudden movements (turbulence) by being close to if not on top of the cg of the plane. Exit row is a good option too, but the armrest mounted trays tend to make the seats even smaller than a normal seat, and if there are two exit rows next to each other, the front one usually has limited reclining.

    the worst seat has to be the last row…limited if any reclining, lots of traffic of people going to the bathroom, bathroom noise/smell, and feels the most movement of the plane. Or any seat on Spirit Airlines….