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How to choose the best seat of the plane

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Choosing your seat on the plane sounds now like something from the past. With most of the airlines charging an extra to let you choose where to seat, seems that we have assumed that they will be choosing where we seat forever.

But, choosing where you seat on the plane, together with what you will be eating on the plane, can make a world apart. So, if you will be adding those extra euros (and most of the time you should)…

How do you choose the best seat of the plane?

Each person would recommend a different seat and none would choose the middle seats, but in case it helps, these are some great recommendations when choosing the “perfect” seat for your next flight:

  • Never choose the seats right before the emergency exit, they don’t recline, except on Ryanair flights (none of their seats recline)
  • If you are tall or need to stretch your legs, the emergency exit is the best spot for tourist tickets, but you will not be able to carry your bag/jacket/laptop with you. These will have to go on the overhead compartments. Plus, you will need to speak the language of the airline + english or french (depending on the airline) and pregnant women and kids can’t go there.
  • Second best for tall people are aisle seats, which will allow you to stand up and walk if you can’t sleep
  • For  long flights, window seats are better for sleeping without being disturbed by other passengers and the flight crew
  • On regional or local flights, the seats right after Business or Premier tickets have a curtain or a plastic wall which can create some claustrophobic feeling. Choose them only if you know that they have more leg space than others (some companies like Iberia move that curtain depending on the occupancy so seats up to number 8 have more leg space).
  • On continental flights, avoid the seats with a wall in front, they are usually too close to the screen, next to the toilet or the food heating spots and they are more noisy. Plus, some have more leg space and people tend to think that they can cross to the other side.
  • Last seats of the plane, are usually less crowded, but you are the last one to get off the plane on most flights, they don’t recline, have the toilets next and you will have the crew talking behind you all the time, so bad place if you are planing to sleep.
  • The seats next to the wings are usually the ones with less turbulence and noise, plus you can take a good picture at dusk and dawn
  • Also, if you are traveling alone, take into account that most companies tend to balance the weight on the plane between head and tail, people who pay the extra seat cost seats usually prefer the lowest numbers and nobody wants the middle seat. So, if you want to have more space, you can try choosing a seat (window or aisle) on a row where somebody else has chosen the opposite (so only the middle seat remains available), in a row that is towards the last seats of the plane.
  • Some companies give priority to their fidelity cardholders or (at least) always try to give you your preferred seat (window or aisle) so it is good to sign up to their loyalty programs even if you are not planning to fly again with them.
  • And, for last, if you really want to go cheap but want to fly with your partner together on the plane (Ryanair and many other low-cost airlines now sit you in different row to force you to pay the extra cost of seat selection), don’t book the tickets together, so you can add the seat selection to just one of the seats and choose depending on where the seat the other person.

If you still don’t know what would be best for you, here you have 3 great tools that can give you more information and help you choose:

1. SeatGuru

This site has the airplane maps of most flights, including Iberia, Vueling and Ryanair. It has a great community of travelers that upload pictures of the planes and add comments so you know what it is like flying with that airline and specific plane model.

2. SeatExpert

It doesn’t have Iberia or Vueling, but it is a great choice for checking your seat selection on many international airlines.

3. SeatMaestro

The last one, but the one with the biggest list of airlines and plane maps. The best part is that you can give them the airline and flight number and they show you the exact plane model for your flight.

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