Everyone wants to find the best seat on an airplane, but everyone has different wants and needs. Depending on your preference and situation, you can seek out a window seat for great views and the best sleeping, an aisle seat for easier access, a middle seat to get closer to the front, seats close to the exit doors for peace of mind or seats close to the bathroom (for obvious reasons).

These days, boarding a plane can become a free-for-all. Many airlines do not give out seat assignments. Finding the right seat requires having a plan. Those who don’t sometimes end up being featured on those YouTube videos about angry airplane passengers.

You don’t want to be one of those people! Consider these suggestions before you even get to the airport and have a plan before you board.

Choosing the Window Seat

This is the first choice of many. That’s why these seats fill up fast. They are great for the obvious reason – you get a view out the plane. Another advantage is that you can use a hoodie or jacket for a pillow and lay your head against the inside wall of the plane. That’s one of the best in-flight sleep positions you can find. If you want a window seat because of the view, just make sure you don’t pick one that’s over one of the wings.

Choosing the Aisle Seat

Aisle seats have a bad reputation because your legs get bumped by other passengers and (even worse) the drink cart pushed by flight attendants. You can avoid this by staying awake and paying attention. The hassle is worth it if you need a seat that you can get into and out of quickly because you want to stretch your legs or make frequent bathroom trips.

Choosing a Seat Near a Bathroom

If you suspect you’ll need to make frequent bathroom trips, then an aisle seat near the front or the back of the plane puts you where you want to be.

Choosing the Middle Seat

Who would choose the middle seat? You would, if you’re a relatively small or thin person who wants to sit near the front and be among the first people off the plane. The middle seats are often the last ones taken. You’ll be surprised to find how easy it is to find a middle seat near the front, even if you are among the last group to get on a plane.

Which Seat to Choose If You’re Injured or Impaired

Those flying with injuries or physical impairment should always call ahead and make arrangements with the airline. They will usually find the best seat for you (typically at or near the front). Make sure to arrive earlier than usual. You’ll want a seat that allows you the most room possible. You also can’t sit in the exit row. And you want to be near the bathroom to lessen the distance you must move if you need to make a bathroom trip. A smart move is to call a Non-Emergency Medical Transportation company, which not only can set all of this up for you but also have a nurse fly with you.

Other Tips

A few other things to think about when choosing a seat.

  • Quickly scout out the people around you if you can, looking for loud talkers or crying babies
  • Bring a book and start reading as soon as you’re seated if you’re not in the mood to have someone talk to you
  • Dress in layers, it can get cold at 30,000 feet
  • This is more luck than anything, but try to find a person who isn’t leaning the chair in front of you back

Those are some tips to keep in mind to make your flight that much more pleasant. Again, the key is to have a good plan and follow through. In this age of air travel, you must look out for yourself or risk getting stuck where you don’t want to sit.

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