The Best Seat on a Plane For Every Type of Passenger, According to Experts

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POPSUGAR Photography | Diggy Lloyd
POPSUGAR Photography | Diggy Lloyd

There's no two ways about it: traveling can be stressful. From lost luggage to changes in weather, there are lots of unknowns at play and, thus, a wide room for error. One thing that may make getting to your destination a little less nerve-wracking (and a lot more comfortable) is your airplane seat. No matter what type of flier you are (nervous, claustrophobic, antsy) or what your situation is (pregnant, tall, prone to bathroom visits), taking the extra time to consider your preferences — rather than simply choosing whatever seat is available — can make all the difference.

To make your flying experience as enjoyable as possible, we consulted experts to find out how to choose the best seat on an airplane. (And if you need to know the best day to book airline tickets, we've also got you covered.)

The Best Seat on the Plane If You're Tall

Whether you're on a long-haul flight or not, tall people should prioritize legroom. According to former flight attendant Toni Wheel of the A Wheel in the Sky blog, it's usually worth the upcharge to choose a seat with extra legroom if you're very tall. This can often add an additional six to eight inches of space, depending on the airline, and may come with perks like early boarding or priority in the security line.

If that isn't possible and you end up in a standard economy seat, avoid the middle seat and the first row at all costs. "Row one is notoriously the worst because instead of a seat to put your feet under, there's a wall in front of you," Wheel says. Instead, go for an aisle seat so that there's more room to extend your legs — just exercise caution (and self-awareness) to ensure "no feet, knees, or limbs are in the aisle while other passengers or crew with service carts are passing by," Wheel says.

To save additional space at your feet, consider checking your bag and stowing your single carry-on item in the overhead bin.

The Best Seat on the Plane for International Flights

International trips often come with connecting flights, so in this case, it's best to choose a seat at the front of the plane. "Delays happen, and being able to get off quickly could be the difference between catching your next flight or being stranded in an airport," Wheel says.

The Best Seat on the Plane If You're a Nervous Flier

If you're afraid of flying, the best area to sit is at the front or over the wing. Avoid the rear of the aircraft, as you're more likely to feel turbulence and will be taking in the whole size of the aircraft in front of you, says fear of flying coach Paul Tizzard of Lovefly. Plus, being closer to the front allows you to see more of the flight attendants and pilots, something many people find reassuring.

In terms of actual seats, it depends on your unique fear. "Some people like the window as they get a sense of space and not being closed in, but other nervous flyers cannot bear to look out the window at all," Tizzard says. "I personally recommend aisle seats with extra leg room to enable you to move about when you want to."

The Best Seat on the Plane If You Use the Bathroom Often

If you know you'll be using the restroom often, an aisle seat is best. "It is not only frustrating for your seatmates if you have to keep asking them to stand, but it can also feel torturous for you if you're stuck in a window seat with sleeping people next to you," Wheel says. "If using the restroom will be more of an issue than just run-of-the-mill hydration, then you should sit towards the front or the back of an aircraft, close to the lavatory." This offers easy access for those with medical conditions that'll cause them to use the bathroom more often or for people with physical disabilities or impairments that may make getting to the restroom more difficult.

The Best Seat on the Plane If You're Pregnant

Pregnant passengers should consider their comfort and personal preference when choosing a seat on a plane. "If motion sickness, bathroom access, or issues with blood clots and circulation are a concern, then the front of the aircraft in an aisle seat would be best," Wheel says. The same rings true if you're traveling with a baby. "Flight attendants are often happy to hold or watch your baby while you go to the bathroom, but if you're in the middle of the plane, it might take us a while to notice you are trying to get there," Wheel says.

It's worth noting that while the exit row may be slightly more roomy than standard seats, Wheel says you shouldn't choose this row if you're concerned about your ability to lift heavy weight or to help in the event of an emergency.

The Best Seat on the Plane If You're Claustrophobic

Suffer from claustrophobia? Stick to a seat in the aisle seat in the middle or front of the aircraft — this will shorten your view of the plane, allowing you to see just a portion of it. "Seeing all the seats (and all the people) from the back of the plane can give a claustrophobic sensation, especially on a large plane," Wheel says.