Photo courtesy Flickr
It’s time to talk about seats, arguably the most important part of an airplane.
OK, that distinction may go to the wings. But for the frequent flyer there is perhaps no more important part of the airline experience than the seat, which is where you will spend most of your time on those excruciating long flights across the globe.
Beth Blair is a former flight attendant and offered wisdom as such to delve into the subject of the best place to sit on an airplane.
The entire article, found on BBC.com, is a wonderful foray into the finer minutiae that goes behind picking a seat and what makes a seat more preferable than others.
Blair not only uses her own wisdom but employs advice from other travel experts in an article that may actually tweak what you choose to consider when picking a seat.
The lessons here are extensive, but it all boils down to examining what your overall preference is for flying.
Alas, there is no one takeaway such as, “pick 23C and never look back.” While that would be lovely, every section of the plane offers its own advantages.
The back of the plane may offer a bit more solitude and assurances that you’ll have room in the overhead bin while the front of the plane may just mean faster food service and a quick exit from the plane.
Blair also managed to clear up the conundrum of just what it is you might have to do in an emergency if you are sitting in an emergency row.
Blair writes: “Depending upon the aircraft, type of emergency, and the flight attendants' needs, some passengers may be asked to open the emergency window and assist passengers out of the plane. Passengers sitting near an emergency exit door may be asked to help open a door during the evacuation — or, once the door is open, go to the bottom of the emergency exit slide and help people off and tell them to move away from the plane.”
So consider this if you are picking the seats simply for the perceived added room of those aisles.
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Now Blair’s research seems to suggest that there isn’t exactly a “safest” part of the plane as every emergency will be unique and offer myriad unforeseen issues for the passengers.
TravelPulse’s Patrick Clarke once delved into that very issue and garnered similar findings. Clarke writes in 2015: “In the end, a passenger's chances of survival in a plane crash depend on the crash itself. For example, the section of the aircraft where the least heaviest impact is felt is more likely to have a lower fatality rate.”
An Economist report in 2015 put the odds of crashing on a particular flight at roughly one in 4.8 million.
All of this is to say that airplane seats are serious business. But if you don’t want to add to the stress of travel, perhaps you can just go with the flow and sit where fate takes you and relax in the knowledge that you will eventually get off the plane and away from the neighbor with the ability to snore for six hours.
UPDATE: Friday, September 23, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.
Updated to reflect Economist's odds of an airplane crash.