Airplane flights aren’t exactly famous for comfort. They’re more concerned with safety and not making sure you feel like you’re sitting in your family room. In other words, being strapped into a seat as you fly thousands of feet in the air isn’t exactly fun. But there’s a way to make those flights less torturous. It’s all a matter of choosing the right row. If you’re lucky enough to select your own seat on the plane, you can exercise some control over the experience. So if you want to have a more enjoyable flight, avoid these seats at all costs.
Seats in the Back Row
One of the worst seats on an airplane is any seat in the back row. That’s because these seats don’t recline as much as other seats on a plane. You’re also too close to the bathrooms and galley. In other words, you’ll be up close and personal with unpleasant bathroom odors, continuous flushing and a constant queue of people waiting to use the lavatory. Since you’re near the galley, you also will listen to drawers and compartments opening and shutting throughout the entire flight. You'll also have to eavesdrop on the flight attendants chatting with each other as they go about their duties. And let’s not forget about turbulence. If you sit in the back rows of an airplane, you feel turbulence more than other passengers sitting toward the front. If that doesn’t discourage you from buying a seat in the back row, then nothing will.
Seat Near the Entertainment Equipment Box
Everyone wants as much legroom as possible when they sit in an airplane seat. But if you end up in a seat where the entertainment equipment box is located, you are completely out of luck. Seats in this area have precious little legroom and practically nonexistent space for overnight bags you need to stow beneath the seat. Instead of legroom, you have a metal box taking up the majority of the area beneath your feet and chair. According to seatguru.com, these metal boxes appear “on planes that feature a Personal TV or In-flight Power connections,” and they severely limit your ability to stretch out your legs during the flight.
The Bulkhead Row
You’d think that the area directly behind first class, the bulkhead row, would be the perfect seat to score for your next flight. After all, these seats are in the front row of the main cabin. And there’s plenty of legroom. But before you purchase those seats, you’d better think twice. Yes, you get lots of legroom, but the seat will have to be narrower. Why? Well, you won’t have a tray table that folds down from the seat in front of you. It has to be included in the arm rest. And there’s no storage area in front of your seat. That means you’ll have to stow your stuff in an overhead compartment. Unfortunately, every time you need something you’ll have to retrieve it from the storage area above your head. So those seats aren’t as as wonderful as you thought, are they?
The Exit Row
Sadly, the exit row has some of the same drawbacks as the bulkhead row. Sure, you have plenty of legroom in the exit rows. But you often sacrifice a comfortable seat width. The seats in the exit row sometimes are narrower to accommodate the tray table within the armrest. If the exit area has two rows of seats, the first row of seats won’t let you recline. So you can forget about getting any shut eye during that 10-hour flight. The only thing you’ll get is a crick in your neck.
The Middle Seat
Ah, the middle seat. It’s the seat that many people try to avoid like the plague. Who in their right mind would want to be sandwiched in between two other passengers, especially during an eight to 10-hour flight? The middle passenger has no access to the window or the aisle. He or she also has no arm rest to claim. Basically, middle passengers have to rely on the kindness of others to have some way to rest an arm or elbow. If you’re sitting with family or friends, it may not be that big of a deal. You can lean your head on your sister’s shoulder and nap away. But if you’re trapped between two strangers, it’s going to be one uncomfortable flight where you try to avoid touching anyone. Talk about too close for comfort.