The Worst Seats on a Plane in 2024 – How to Avoid Them

by andreasnestoros

Your airplane seat can make or break your flight. A good seat and you have a great chance to arrive well-rested and ready to start your vacation. Unfortunately, a bad seat can ruin the start of your trip and create a ton of stress. It is even more important to get a good seat for long domestic and international flights. While it is not always possible to avoid bad plane seats, you can greatly minimize your chances of being placed in one of the worst seats.

What Are the Worst Seats on a Plane?

Unfortunately, there are many bad seats on a plane. Some seats have multiple issues that may decrease your overall satisfaction with the flight. Here are our picks for some of the worst airplane seats.

The Middle Seat

The dreaded middle seat is our pick for the worst seat on a plane. Being sandwiched between two other people is not a fun experience. With the aisle seat, you can lean and stretch into the aisle. With the window seat, you can lean against the window. Unless you are traveling with family, the middle seat offers no direction to lean or stretch out.

The middle seat is even worse for tall and/or large people. The lack of space means you will have to stay upright and rigid for the entire flight. As a rule, you should be entitled to both armrests sitting in the middle, but that will not always be the case.

Sitting in the middle seat means you do not have direct access to the aisle. You will have to ask the person seated in the aisle to get up when you need to use the restroom.

Those Who May Like The Middle Seat: The middle seat may make sense for those who are afraid of flying. Sitting between two people may provide comfort to anxious flyers. The middle seat is also ideal for children sitting between two parents. Finally, the middle seat can be tolerable for smaller men and women who do not need a lot of space. Since the seat is cheaper, smaller adults may not find the lack of space to be a problem.

Towards The Back of The Plane

Seats towards the back of the plane tend to experience more turbulence than those towards the front. Those who experience motion sickness should avoid seats in the back at all costs. Additionally, those seated in the back are the last passengers to get off the plane. That means seats in the back are problematic if you need to catch a tight connecting flight.

Seats in the back are also more likely to be close to bathrooms. Lines can get long near the lavatories and other passengers may congregate. You may also be subject to foul odors. Food and beverage carts are also near the back, which may congest things even further.

Seats in the back get worse the further back you get. The last row does not recline, so you will be forced to sit upright for the entire flight. Seats in the last row are also closest to the lavatories.

Those Who May Like Seats in The Back of The Plane: There are not many advantages to sitting in the back of the plane. Those who need to sit near a bathroom may prefer back seats. Additionally, those who do not care about any of the drawbacks may find the cheaper price to be desirable.

Any Seat Located Near a Bathroom

An aisle seat located near a bathroom is one of the worst seats on the plane. You may be subject to poor odors for the duration of the flight. You are also likely to experience lines and crowds of people near your seat. That means you may be subject to loud conversations as well as people leaning on the top portion of your seat. Bathrooms are usually located near the back and middle of the plane.

Those Who May Like Seats Located Near The Bathroom: Passengers frequently needing to use the bathroom may prefer seats near a lavatory. Since exit-row seats may be close to bathrooms, some passengers may compromise and sit near a bathroom for the additional leg space that exit-row seats offer.

Bulkhead Row Seats

Bulkhead seats are seats behind a wall on the plane. These are generally in the first row of the main cabin, but they can be in other spots throughout the plane. While they do offer benefits such as being towards the front of the plane, they have some serious drawbacks.

Since there is a wall in front of bulkhead seats, there is no place in front of you to store personal items or bags. That means all of your bags and personal items must go in the overhead bin. On some planes, the overhead bin space above bulkhead seats is taken by the crew. That may mean you have to store your bags many rows behind your actual seat. If that happens, you could potentially have to wait for everyone else to deplane before you can retrieve your bags. That completely defeats the purpose of sitting in the first row!

Bulkhead row seats have immovable armrests that tray tables fold out from. That is because there is no seat in front of bulkhead sets for tray tables. These seats are usually narrower than normal seats. The tray tables are usually awkward and flimsy as well.

Seats in the bulkhead row may also have less legroom, but it depends on the plane.

Those Who May Like Seats Located in the Bulkhead Row: In economy, the bulkhead makes sense for those who do not want anyone reclining into their site. Additionally, bulkhead seats are far superior in first class and business class.

Seats in Front of Exit-row Seats

Seats in front of exit-row seats do not recline. That includes exit-row seats in front of other exit-row seats. This is to allow the exit row to remain clear in the event of an emergency.

Those Who May Like Seats Located in Front of Exit-Row Seats: This is an irrelevant issue if you never recline your seat. In some cases, exit-row seats in front of other exit-row seats may be cheaper. Consider them if you want an exit-row seat and do not care about reclining.

Seats With Abnormal Configurations

Some planes have rows with different configurations than the rest of the plane. For example, the plane will go from rows of 3 to a row of 2. The row of 2 may be tapered differently which may mean less legroom and an awkward experience. While the single row of 2 may be desirable if you are flying with only one other person, you should be aware the seating may atypical.

Those Who May Like Seats With Abnormal Configurations: Smaller individuals may not mind these seats. Those traveling light with only a personal item may also find these seats desirable. The potential for less storage under the seat is irrelevant if you only have a backpack.

Exit-Row Seats (For Those Who Get Cold Easy)

I always pay extra money for an exit-row seat. They are not for everyone, however. Exit-row seats tend to get colder than other seats on the plane. That is especially true for the window seat. They also sometimes have awkward tray tables that come out from the armrests. Additionally, exit-row seats are usually narrower than standard seats.

Those Who May Like Exit-Row Seats: Exit-row seats are perfect for tall people or those who need more legroom. Additionally, those who frequently use the bathroom and do not want to have to ask their seatmates to get up will find exit-row seats desirable. Some airlines also have special benefits, such as free alcohol and preferred boarding, for those seated in exit rows.

Seats Located in the Back of a Section

Seats in the back of a section do not recline. While that is fine for some people, others at least want the option to recline. These seats are also usually located near bathrooms.

Those Who May Like Seats Located in the Back of a Section: These seats are perfect if you have a fear of the passenger behind you kicking your seat. They also make sense for those who need to be near a bathroom.

The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts

For your own comfort, I highly recommend doing everything you can to avoid the worst seats on a plane. While it may cost a little more, you will likely thank yourself for picking a seat that is free of annoyances. I always pay extra for aisle exit-row seats and never regret the decision.  Happy travelling!

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