Top Tips for Choosing Your Plane Seats
If you are travelling as family there are several things to consider when selecting your seats and choosing the right seats can take a lot of stress out of travelling.
Seat configuration, flight duration, aircraft type, extra legroom or bulkhead are all important factors that you should take into consideration when selecting the best seating arrangements for your family as it can make a MASSIVE difference to your overall flight experience.
The bulkhead/bassinet row
These rows offer extra space in front, so your kids can stand up to stretch and get the wiggles out. This also means kids aren’t bothering the row in front of you, which cuts out those glaring stares.
If you have a young infant, these seats are handy because it's likely that they'll have a bassinet. This will free up your lap and you can both enjoy a little shut eye.
The Kooshy Kids Kooshion can be used in this row...most people find it better than using it in a regular row because when flipped longways it gives more flat space...just like Business Class!
The downside to being in this row is that it's close to the restrooms which can be noisy, smelly and also due to the likelihood of people hanging around, more "germy". It is also unlikely that arm rests will be able to go up either which can be inconvenient. This is where you need to weigh up the pros and cons of what matters to you and your family.
If you have an infant and either can't get a bulkhead row or don't want one, consider the Kooshy Kloud as it gives you some free hands whilst baby sleeps comfortably on the Kloud which is on your lap.
2 x 4 x 2 configuration...which seats to choose?
When travelling as a family of 4 I choose two rows of 2, opposed to the middle aisle of 4 seats. Having a window is so handy to rest up against and also means no sibling fighting!
If the configuration is 3 x 3 I will put 2 of us 2 rows (one aisle and one window)...hoping that they will keep the middle seat empty (or that this person will see a child and ask to move). This way we are guaranteed two windows and if the middle seat is assigned to someone, I am 99.99% certain that they will swap this with you. If not...they get babysitting duties lol.
Be sure to check that your seats are not too close to the toilet and that the arm rests go up. (Check this using seat guru site).
I always go into my booking online 24-48 hours prior to our departure and look at available seats, The seat map will tell you which seats have been assigned at the time and I look for areas where there are lots of vacant seats and change it around if I can find something better. You should also be really nice to the staff at check in and ask politely if they can give you a spare seat if available.
Choose a row close to the front
This has never been a priority of mine until now. I use to laugh at all of the people jumping up the minute the seatbelt sign turned off and rushing out. Now, with the extra Covid checks etc. getting off early is definitely a great way to avoid lengthy queues. It's also handy if you have a connecting flight with a tight timeframe. So choose close to the front, but remember...away from the toilets!
Why should I avoid the back row?
The seats in the back row offer restricted movement. They also tend to be louder (and smell more) as they are close to the toilets and galley.
Travelling without kids...which seat should I choose if I want peace and quiet?
A window seat is preferable, along with one away from the galleys. The back half of the plane tends to be less full than the front half, so you may have fewer fellow passengers to contend with. You may want to avoid bulkheads as even though they provide extra legroom, babies and families are more likely to be placed here.
Are there any advantages to having a middle seat?
Ah no. The only one I can think of is that general plane etiquette allows the middle passenger to use both armrests, given that the window passenger has the wall to lean against and the aisle passenger has more space on the aisle side (watch those elbows, though). If I am travelling alone, I would never choose a middle seat.
If I’m on a widebody aircraft (with two aisles), should I choose the left or right side of the plane?
Given passengers always board a plane on the left-hand side, the right-hand side tends to get a little less foot traffic and is therefore quieter. The downside of this is that it is slower to disembark from the right side.
Contact the airline with your request for a specific seat or put in your request, e.g. ‘any window seat in the second half of the plane’. Don't just assume that there is no option to give your preference.
I always look at SeatGuru when booking flights. It allows you to view the seat map for your aircraft and read reviews for the seats. Once you enter your airline, date of flight and flight number, a colour-coded map of your aircraft will appear detailing the pros and cons of every seat/row.
Best Seat Summary
- Best seat for a smooth ride: A seat over the wing
- Best seat for sleepers: A window seat near the front
- Best seat for maximum legroom: An aisle seat in the second exit row (no kids)
- Best seat for a quick plane exit: Any seat close to the front of the plane (on the left side for dual aisle aircraft)
- Best seat for traveling with young infants: A bulkhead seat with the kids by the window
- Best seat for A/C power: Any middle seat
- Best seat for larger passengers: Any aisle seat
Even though you have followed the tips above, your aircraft type may change or the airline may need to reallocate seats to redistribute the weight of passengers and cargo. If this happens and you are placed in an inferior seat, be polite with the check-in or gate staff and ask nicely to be reassigned to a better seat. You'll get much further this way than being angry and pushy!