I’m a firm believer that whoever books the flight gets to choose the seats. I’m a window seat fan. And I usually book the flights. Ergo – unless it’s one of those lovely planes with just two seats together – I usually book the window and middle seats. If Mr Fletche had the choice, he would book the aisle and middle seat. So what are the pros and cons of the aisle and window seat? And which one are you?
(Of course, I’m talking cattle class here. If you are reading this and thinking “well, I only choose those seats which recline fully, have a personal butler and a turndown service” – we’re probably never going to be catching a flight together)
Aisle or Window Seat: The Window Seat
1. As someone who is a non-sleeper on flights, trying to get as comfortable as possible is a must. Leaving my head to free-fall as I doze off – promptly waking myself up – is not an option. I build a pile of scarves, blankets, pillows, coats, jumpers against the wall of the plane and hope to finally get into a position where I’m relatively snug. If you try this on an aisle seat, you’ll just end up with a pile of belongings on the floor, and the cabin crew never appreciate passengers creating an obstacle course for them. And if you’re in the middle seat? Well, let’s just hope your seatmate is understanding. Or has a comfortable shoulder.
2. Who doesn’t get a buzz of excitement as the plane lifts off from the ground and you see the grey drizzly tarmac of a UK airport disappear behind you? Or when you get that first glimpse of land after hours flying over ocean (which can be a tad boring to look at)? Or my personal favourite – flying over mountains? If you’re in the aisle or middle seat, you require a running commentary from the window-seat occupier on all the spectacular sights you’re missing out on.
3. You’re blissfully undisturbed in the window seat. No-one wants to clamber over you to go to the loo. Cabin crew are not going to viciously bump their trolley into your elbows. Your fellow passengers are not going to pop their discarded food trays and rubbish onto your table.
4. Have you ever walked down the aisle for a toilet visit and judged your fellow passengers by what they’re watching or reading as you pass? “You’re watching Mamma Mia 2? Why?” “Hmmm, big burly man watching Frozen…” “Wow, that woman has not filled in one answer on her Sudoku grid…” In the window seat you can watch or read what you like in glorious privacy and no-one is going to judge you. Apart from the person directly behind. And your middle seat neighbour.
5. You can take a hundred “wing” pictures for that social media upload as soon as you land. Bonus points for sunrise or sunset shots.
Aisle or Window Seat: The Aisle Seat
1. Who wants to be cramped up in a window seat? The aisle seat gives a precious few inches more of leg room as long as you watch out for those passengers and cabin crew meandering up the aisle.
2. Window seat dwellers have a big responsibility in the event of an emergency. They are the ones who may be seated next to an emergency exit, who receive a lecture from a smiling flight attendant all about how to open the door and save their fellow passengers from impending doom. Aisle seat? Don’t have to worry about that, they can get on with panicking about the impending doom.
3. Freedom. Freedom to go to the loo as many times as you like without having to clamber over anyone. Freedom to put things in and take things out of the overhead locker as much as you want. Freedom to walk up and down the aisles and to do those recommended inflight exercises to prevent DVT. Who wants to be trapped over in the window seat – especially when those in the middle and aisle seats are sleeping. And have probably popped a sleeping pill or two and won’t stir until the wheels touch down on arrival.
4. As soon as the plane lands, before the seatbelt signs switch off, you can spring out of your seat, unload your bags from the overhead containers and get off that flying tincan! Except, unless you’re in the very front row, this is highly unlikely to happen. But at least you can stand up and stretch your legs, unlike your window seat mate who is currently doing a hunchback impression, half standing, half sitting and probably impaled on an arm rest.
5. Both like aisle seats? That’s great! You can easily book aisle seats across from each other and can still communicate easily. Mainly when the drinks service comes along. Both like window seats? Expect to spend the entire journey apart. This may suit some travellers. Particularly on the return journey after a fraught holiday together.
Aisle or Window Seat: The Middle Seat
1. You get ownership of both armrests.
2. Er… that’s about it.
So how about you? Do you prefer the aisle seat or the window seat? Have you ever gambled and booked an aisle and window seat, leaving the middle seat free? I’m always tempted to try this in the hope that no-one picks that seat! Or do you actually like the middle seat? Let me know in the comments below!
*Photos courtesy of Pixabay, and gif from Giphy*