web Musings of The Global Traveller

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Window or aisle

Since friends and colleagues know I fly a lot I often get asked my opinion on various aspects of flying and frequent flyer programs.

A common question is whether to sit in the window or aisle. The best seats are both window and aisle at the same time, but most of the time there is a choice (or the dreaded middle seat). I don't have a universal preference, which makes it tricky to decide what to enter as preference in my frequent flyer program profile (for those airlines like Qantas that pre-allocate seats based on your profile).

I prefer a window seat when:

  • it is a short flight - so easy access to the aisle is irrelevant
  • it is a scenic flight - especially low altitude ones by/over/through mountains, but even longhaul flights at altitude can have great views
  • I want to catch a glimpse of the northern or southern lights (on suitable routes and flying overnight)
  • when the window seat has more room or more storage room - eg upper deck on 747 (thanks to the curvature and also side storage bins), on certain aircraft there is a missing window seat immediately in front of the exit row providing massive legroom
  • I want to curl up against the wall on short overnight flights
  • I want to avoid being bumped by other passengers or food/duty free trolleys

I prefer an aisle seat when:

  • it is a long flight - easier to get up to stretch the legs or go to the bathroom or galley
  • I am in a hurry to disembark - eg tight connections or a rush to make a meeting (okay this is most flights)
  • I am sure to get a row of 3 or 4 seats to lay down on - easier to protect the row if you are seated in the aisle seat than if seated in the window seat
  • I want easy access to gear stored in the overhead bin - eg when seated in an exit row
  • on some aircraft, when seated in an exit row - to avoid the protusion of the slide into my legroom

So my answer is, it depends.

Which do you prefer and why?

1 comment:

The CF said...

I'm a window guy personally. I always like to stare outside for most of the flight. At night, you get to see incredible light patterns if you're flying over land and beautiful starry skies if you're not. During the day I never get tired of looking over the land. I've probably flown between LA and Phoenix hundreds of times, but I still never get tired of staring out the window even on that flight.