Roam with R

With air travel the predominant method of long distance travel, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the best seat for you. To know for sure will require some trial and error but below is a general guide.

Window

As a child when travelling with my parents the window seat was my favourite. The stimulation and distraction provided by looking out the window and seeing what the world looked like from such a great height was just amazing.

As as adult I enjoy it much less! While there are benefits to the window seat, like being able to watch the plane taking off, landing and leaning against the cabin wall to nod off more comfortably, you’ll be hopping over two others to get to the toilets.

Recommended for nervous travellers and families with children for some distraction

Aisle

The aisle seat offers the freedom to hop out of your seat and stretch your legs (or visit the loo) anytime without disturbing any other passengers. As this is very important to most people, especially those travelling alone, it’s preferred by most travellers.

Easy access to the aisle also makes it easier to access your carry on in the overhead lockers as well as disembarking the plane quickly and easily. You’ll find this to be an extra bonus when you can get to the immigration line before the rest of your flight - those lines can get SCARILY long.

Recommended for passengers who like to move around the cabin easily

Bulkhead

These are directly behind physical barriers, such as walls, curtains or screens, that separate different parts of the plane. With no one in front you won’t get other passengers reclining onto your lap. You’ll be able to pop out of your seat easily to stretch your legs and go to the toilet whenever needed.

Becuase you won’t have any seats in front of you there isn’t any place to conveniently store your bags in front - any baggage will need to be stored in overhead lockers. For most people this isn’t an issue, however as a shorter gal I really need to reach to grab bags from those lockers and prefer to store things in front of me.

Some bulkhead seats can provide extra legroom, but this really depends on the airline and plane. With no seats in front for the entertainment screens or tray tables to be positioned, they will usually be located inside the armrest. This will mean that your screen and tray table are smaller and more immobile but also means that your armrest will also be fixed. If you happen to be lucky enough to get an empty row you wont be able to lift the armrests and lay across the seats 😩.

If bassinet positions are offered, they are often located at the bulkheads increasing your chance of being at the mercy of babies.

Recommended for passengers who require extra leg room to stretch out

Exit row

Emergency exits are located between two rows ans so there is more room allocated to this row. While this appears ideal don’t be fooled, there are pitfalls. While there may be more legroom you won’t be able to use the extra room in front to stow any of your baggage, especially during take of and landing.

As it is against regulations to block exit rows in any way your foot rest and/or seat may not recline fully as this would block the exits. For shorter/daytime flights this may not be an issue, for longer flights where you want to rest it will certainly become uncomfortable.

Children under the age of 15 aren’t permitted to travel on these seats as exit row passengers are required to assist flight attendants in case of emergency.

I don’t need extra leg room and the extra responsibility just gives me more anxiety than needed while travelling.

Recommended for passengers who require extra leg room to stretch out, you may even get an empty row!

Front

The front of the plane is said to be smoother and quieter, being situated in front of the engines.

At the end of the flight passengers at the front of the plane are generally let of first, although there are planes that allow passenges to disembark from the front and back. This may mean being at the start of the immigration line - a definite positive.

Recommended for nervous travellers, those who like to select their foot and those bothered by the engine noise inside the cabin

Back

In most flights, passengers seated near the back of the plane are let on first, and conversely are let off last. Duirng food service flight attendants always start at the front of the cabin so if there is a popular choice of meal, it may run out by the time the cart gets to you.

While there is an advantage of being seated near the toilets so you never have to line up, you will also be near foot traffic (and poopy nappies), especially after mealtimes when everyone seems to need to toilet all at once. If there are small children on your flight, the parents may bring them at the back where there is some space for the child to walk around, subjecting you to some noise.

Also, back seats don’t always recline!

Recommended for those who prefer to board the plane first