7 Reasons I Select Window Seats When Flying

Filed Under: Advice

I have a confession to make — over the years I’ve gone from being an “always aisle seat” guy to an “always window seat” guy on planes. It has no doubt been a gradual transition — first I’d select aisle seats no matter what, then I’d select window seats only on shorter flights, then I’d select window seats only when in premium cabins, and now I select window seats no matter what.

Heck, this has almost caused some drama in my relationship. When I first met Ford I thought “great, he prefers the window seat, that’s perfect.” Nowadays we fight over who gets the window seat.

Why has my seating preference changed so much?

Why airplane window seats are superior

Gary at View from the Wing wrote an interesting post about how your seating preferences reveal your value to the airline. He quotes a loyalty program executive who said that seating preferences are a good indicator of the lifetime value of a customer:

  • Those who prefer the aisle seat are business travelers, who like to sit at the front of the plane and get off quickly
  • Those who prefer the window seat are leisure travelers, and therefore generally less valuable to airlines

Gary argues that aisle seats are superior to window seats, and that “everyone knows this,” and it’s why airlines generally sell aisle seat assignments for more than window seat assignments (I’m not sure I’d agree with that assertion).

What’s his logic?

  • In aisle seats you “direct your own destiny,” because you can get up and use the lavatory whenever you wish
  • Window seats are dirtier than aisle seats
  • Window seats are claustrophobic

Now, Gary and I can probably agree that a seat that gives you an aisle and a window is ideal, whether it’s in American Eagle first class or in Qatar Airways Qsuites. Gary and I can also probably agree on the importance of “directing your own destiny” on the plane, but the issue seems to be that we interpret that a bit differently.

American Eagle first class

Qatar Airways Qsuites

Anyway, in no particular order, let me share why I’ve become a total window seat guy nowadays:

Gazing out of airplane windows never gets old

Despite having flown millions and millions of miles, to me gazing out an airplane window never gets old. Ever. Even the least scenic flight has things worth seeing, and there’s only upside from there.

I don’t care how commonplace air travel becomes, I’ll never take for granted the miracle of flight, and the fact that we can basically get a bird’s-eye view of the world when hurling through the sky at 500 miles per hour in a metal tube.

View from a Philippine Airlines A350


View from a Cathay Pacific A350

Window seat passengers control window shades

Beyond enjoying the views, you also want to be able to control the window shades. For example, if it’s a daytime flight and you want to sleep, you can control whether the window shade is lowered or not.

Similarly, if you want to watch your personal entertainment, you might want to lower the window shade to reduce glare. The person in the window seat always controls the window shades.

Control of window shades belongs to the person in the window seat

Window seats make it easier to work

Personally I work quite efficiently on planes, and I find that being in a window seat helps with that. I can angle my laptop or phone screen away from the person seated next to me.

While my preferred view on a plane is out the window, some people seem to prefer staring at other peoples’ laptop screens. Of course it also makes sense to get one of those privacy filters to put on top of your screen, but even those aren’t foolproof when you’re packed in like sardines.

In a window seat you can angle your screen away from others

In window seats no one climbs over you

Gary argues that a major benefit of aisle seats is being able to control your own destiny in terms of when you can go to the bathroom:

“You get up to use the lavatory whenever you wish and don’t need to worry about waiting on other passengers to gather their belongings to let you out, or your seatmates falling asleep and needing to be woken to let you out.”

Conversely, if you’re in the aisle seat you do need to “worry” about other passengers bothering you to get up when they need to use the bathroom. And if you fall asleep, your seatmate will wake you up when they need to use the bathroom.

To me it’s quite simple:

  • I don’t drink a lot on planes, so I don’t have to use the bathroom a lot
  • When you’re in a window seat you have a reasonable right to ask the person in the aisle seat to get up when you need to use the bathroom; maybe I’m just entitled, but I don’t “worry” about when I’ll be let out when I need to use the bathroom, because it’s a reasonable request
  • When you’re in the window seat you have the benefit of not having to get up when you’re not using the bathroom, and you also deal with fewer people “pulling” on your seat to get up

I’d rather be in a window seat and have no one climbing over me

Window seats are better for resting

Whether you’re in economy or business class, window seats are consistently better if you’re trying to rest. In economy, you can rest your head against the wall, which you can’t do in the aisle seat.

In a window seat you can rest your head against the wall

Meanwhile in business class cabins that don’t have direct aisle access from all seats, personally I have a strong preference for sleeping facing the wall, as it minimizes disturbances.

Even in business class window seats are better for sleeping

Window seats expose you to fewer people

Gary argues that aisle seats are cleaner, based on the fact that apparently cleaners do a better job of cleaning aisle seats than window seats. I don’t really care, because I can (and do) wipe down my seats as I sit down. I’ve seen how cleaners clean planes, and there’s no way I’m relying on them.

Now, while I’m no doctor or scientist, it would seem to me that you’re a bit less exposed in the window seat than the aisle seat:

  • For one, in the aisle seat during boarding you quite literally have people hovering over you while they get to their seat
  • In the window seat you only have people on one side of you, while in the aisle seat you have people on both sides of you (after all, an aisle is at most a couple of feet wide)

Coronavirus has made me more cognizant of this than ever before.

I’d rather be further away from more people in the window seats

Window seats actually let you control your destiny

When I’ve been in a window seat and have asked to use the bathroom, I’ve never had someone in an aisle seat say no. Ever. However, I have been in an aisle seat and:

  • Had a flight attendant pass a drink to the person in the window seat and spill it on my laptop, destroying it in the process
  • Set up my electronics to charge (keeping things fully charged is a hobby of mine, and sometimes I’ll be charging four things at once), and shortly after setting everything up the person in the window seat asks to use the bathroom, and I have to disassemble everything
  • Had someone standing in the aisle basically on top of me (whether a fellow passenger or flight attendant) having a loud, extended conversation with the passenger in the window seat
  • Had someone who keeps the window shade closed for the entire flight (this is actually incredibly common)

Window seats truly let you control your destiny

Bottom line

Over the years I’ve had a change of heart regarding my airplane seating preferences. Nowadays I’m 100% in favor of choosing a window seat, regardless of the circumstances.

Window seats offer better views, afford more privacy, are better for resting or working, and actually let you control your own destiny, in terms of the position of the window shade and when you get up.

Where do you stand — are you #TeamWindowSeat or #TeamAisleSeat?

Comments
  1. @ Ben — I love window seats for domestic “sit up” first class because I can lean my head and neck pillow on the wall and sleep. Plus, it is also good for sleeping since no one bothers you. Basically for a “sit up” flight, I put on an eye mask and neck pillow, and sleep as much as possible. It is uncomfortable (even in first; I never fly coach), so I might as well sleep through it.

  2. #TeamWindowSeat

    I have yet to find a good reason to sit in the aisle. I prefer my privacy.

    Also, when travelling with a partner, if you have the power to claim the window seat, it goes without saying that you also have the power to make them get up and let you out when necessary.

    Most times though, we each get a window pod in line with each other.

  3. I’ve also flown millions of miles and am 100% window seat for all the reasons you listed. How can you fly and not admire the beauty and miracle of flight by taking some time to gaze outside? I am as awestruck at 2M miles as I was at 2 miles. The virus has grounded me for a full year now and I cannot wait to get up there again soon!!

  4. I don’t think the window is more comfortable for anything. Being able to press my body or move my leg just a tiny bit into the aisle makes all the difference.

  5. I prefer aisle seats usually because looking out of a window on a plane even with antimotion sickness meds will make me ill in a very short amount of time

  6. Fun article!

    You make some good points, too. The only thing I disagree with is the covid-related remark. Research on air circulation on planes is pretty clear you should (I) keep your air vent shut and (ii) take an aisle seat. (Initially, many people recommended the opposite on both of those things but there’s been a lot of research since… Some EU carriers nowadays even make an announcement that they recommend keeping the individual air nozzles closed.

  7. I’ll note that on tiny planes like a CRJ-200 or smaller, the curve of the plane does cut off space on the window side and as a broad-shouldered broad, it’s definitely less desirable for me on those kinds of aircraft.

  8. Used to love windows for the view. As I got older I got more nervous flying, no idea why. So I avoid window seats like the plague because I would constantly open the shade and look outside if there was bad weather, turbulence or even sharp turns. That activity just fed the nervousness. Aisle seats 100% these days.

  9. Window definitely … enjoying the view, and INCLUDING the approach and awareness of touchdown. The inability to monitor that if really marooned in the far middle makes me uncomfortable.

    Have never wiped down a seat or tray table, by the way. I kinda do hate it tho when someone elses sweaty forhead imprint is on the window 🙂

  10. 100% agree with this post and do myself love the window seat. But for taller people sometimes the aisle is better as they can stretch their legs out. At the end of the day each to their own and lucky there is both to choose from!

  11. Still amazed that we fly that far above the earth and like occasionally gazing at it.

    Window seat unless it is at a tight bulkhead.

  12. Window seats are great. I loved them when I was young too.

    TMI alert.

    Now that I’m not going, the enlarged prostate that effects many old men means I have to pee WAY more often than I used to, even with reduced liquid consumption.

    Enjoy those window seats ladies & kids!

  13. I prefer a window seats for all the reasons noted above but COVID isn’t one of them. If you’re afraid to be close to people then you should not be flying because the entire flight experience from the time you enter the airport will be anything but social distancing. Albeit that won’t stop the feeble minded from thinking so.

    When in coach I’m very aware of fluid intake pre flight (with no more beverages inflight that concern is gone) as I really don’t want to make 2 people get up inflight if I can avoid it.

  14. During Covid times, window I think is best.. otherwise short haul aisle near the front is best. Longhaul aisle in the middle generally doesn’t have the disadvantage of someone disturbing you, as they can get out the other side.

  15. @Ben, “see a doctor” isn’t a sensible reference for the many men over 50 with BPH (enlarged prostate). For most, a “doctor” has little to offer. Drugs with grotesque side effects to “cure” a natural harmless condition? Most of us decline, reduce our liquids (especially when flying) and get on with life. Needing more frequent (and more urgent) access to the loo is just a reality. I agree entirely on window shades and all the other advantages you cited, but I can only enjoy them when they come with aisle access. When I’m in an economy window seat, I become “that guy” who apologetically climbs over my seat mate multiple times during a flight.

  16. I think it’s ultimately down to whether or not you care about having a view outside. For me personally, if you’re going to spend 4 hours in a metal tube you might as well get some good views out of it to help pass the time…

  17. Yeah I heard it’s safer during Covid to take a window seat. In the rare event I am seated in economy on a flight this year I will definitely take a window seat and open the hepa filter air nozzle all the way.

    1A, 2A,3A, etc on the regional jets in first class are the best of both worlds. You get both a window and an aisle

  18. Let’s see, people have the right to access to the aisle but the bathroom. I agree. But the person in the window seat doesn’t a right to exclusive control of the window shade. They should be just as courteous as the person who stands up to let you out.

    LMAO at the see the doctor comment. Spoken like a true clueless person. I wont be around when he reaches 68 but I suspect his tune about old bodies and bladders will have changed.

    Found most planes have changed the seating so it’s no longer comfy to try and lean your head to sleep.

    Some views nice but really dont need to the see the Atlanta skyline for the 950th time. It pretty much looks like it did the 949th time.

    Having an older body, I do prefer aisle seats, have no problem asking the shade be adjusted, gladly stand up for anyone needing to get in or out.

    Glad some prefer the window, I used to. Now I want to get up, get my bag quickly and be on my way while my seat mate is still trying to get access to the overhead.

  19. @Ben

    which window specifically ? Left or Right ?

    Taking off from LAX to head back east on a clear day the plane banks left and you see all the South Bay beaches and rancho palos verdes. (Maybe even jet pack man :))) )

    If you’re on an American 787 then you’ll want a right window to have direct access to the double sized accessible lavatory without having to crossover through the galley.

  20. Lucky, what seat does Winston prefer? 🙂

    There are definitely pros and cons to the flight logistics between aisle and window seats, but the bottom line is that a window seat lets you see more of the world. I never get tired of looking out the window and seeing:
    — the Grand Canyon
    — a coastline
    — a sunrise, sunset, or rainbow (rare)
    — the plane breaking through clouds to light/dark on the other side
    — other aircraft pass by (or across) in the sky at a different flight level
    — the flaps extend and retract on a wing during takeoffs and landings
    — vapor trails off the wing
    — your own plane taxi past other airliners from around the world while queuing for takeoff
    — your own plane turn 90 degrees onto a wide/fat runway as the engines are pushed to full throttle
    — etc., etc.

    I understand those who view flying as purely transactional in nature (i.e. just get me to my meeting 800 miles away ASAP with minimum hassle), but there is still something miraculous about slipping “the surly bonds of earth” that inclines me to watch that unfold from the window seat.

    #TeamWindowSeat

  21. Similarly to you I usually only wanted to sit on aisle seats only. Although I usually prefer window seats nowadays, I will make an exception when flying on airlines with limited legroom. There are instances where I may have found myself flying one of these airlines and not being able to choose an extra-legroom seat for one reason or another. In those cases the extra space the aisle provides is a life saviour, even if it’s an intra-European flight. You just need to put both legs behind the forward seat when the carts are being rolled down the aisle, but that’s about it.

  22. Window seats give you another advantage: no sleepy fellow-passengers, walking along the aisle, are stepping on your feet. When aisle seats aren’t avoidable, I prefer using shoes with toe caps (there are some that don’t cause problems at frisking).

  23. As a business traveler, my domestic flights are normally five to six hour transcons and I would never chose a window seat in economy with three across seating because I like to get up a few times during the flight and move around the cabin to stretch my legs and use the lavatory. When seated in First Class on these domestic flights, I will normally take the window because I’m only dealing with one other person if I want to move around the cabin a few times. I am fortunate to fly business class internationally and always choose the right side aisle/window seat (1-2-1 seating) since I travel alone allowing for more privacy and occasional views out window on take off and landing.

  24. For me a lot depends on the airline. I’d say for the normal airlines I’d choose aisle. I do this on southwest, however on budget airlines I choose window seats. First row window seat on Spirit airlines is the best way to do that airline.

  25. For me it’s largely situational. For short flights under 2 hours I generally like the aisle as I don’t find the person at the window or in the dreaded middle tend to get up and I like being able to put all of my things back in my bag as soon as we pull into the gate, so accessing the overhead is key. For longer flights I prefer the window because I (almost) never get up on flights under 6 hours so I would rather stay there than have to get up over and over to let others out and I don’t bother anyone else.

    Side note – I believe Ben wrote a post on it previously, but just because you’re sitting at the window doesn’t mean you can leave your shade up to enjoy the view the entire flight without drawing the ire of those around you who are trying to sleep or watch a screen that is bathed in the glare from your window.

  26. @Ben, I have to ask: When the FA spilled a drink on your laptop (and thus ruining it), how did they handle the situation?

  27. I used to love window seats.

    Now it depends.

    If I’m flying alone:
    – on a 737 in economy, I avoid the window seat like a plague. I would rather have the middle seat than the window seat. The inwardly inclined wall plus the low hanging overhead bin makes the space claustrophobic and suffocating to me.
    – on a A319/A320/A321 in economy, I prefer aisle over window. It is not as claustrophobic as the 737, but still not comfortable enough for me.
    – on a 2-3-2 767 or 2-4-2 A330/a340, window seat all the way
    – in premium cabins, window seat all the way

    If I’m flying with my wife:
    – I will defer the first choice to her if we fly economy, which means most likely I’m stuck in the middle
    – unless we are flying 767, A330/A340/A380, in which case we always choose the window-aisle combo if it is available.
    – in premium cabins, I take the window seat and my wife takes the aisle, unless it’s one of those 1-2-1 configurations, in which case we will take the middle 2. We tried window-middle once, and it was awkward. I was perhaps best for couples during a heated fight.

  28. Window all the way. Most of th reeasons already mentioned but mostly because i hate other people walking down the aisle who think the headrests are railings and shake every single seat…

  29. I’d add that window seats in the era of WiFi on planes have become even more diverting, because you can now gaze out and see landmarks and then look up exactly what you are seeing on Wikipedia….every town, every dam, every bridge has a story.

  30. Good. Take the window seats and leave the aisles for me. The kicking kids are invariably in center or window seats. The aisles give you room to stretch as long as you’re willing to move your leg back in when someone comes by. If you’re a fidgeter like me, the aisle is less disruptive for the other people in your row. If you need to stand to avoid leg cramps on a long flight, it’s again not a disruption.

    Not worried about catching something. If you are, you should be driving your own vehicle rather than flying.

    So please take the window seats! Better chance I’ll get an aisle.

  31. The only downside to a window seat is having to ask someone else to get up so you can use the restroom. And that’s only a problem if you actually feel bad about doing so. The trick is to learn not to care.

  32. Agree with all that Quo Vadis? said and add..
    As an engineer, always amazed that tons and tons of metal can suddenly be floating like a ‘magic carpet’.
    There’s the occasional circular rainbow, only seen from on high. And watching on the ground what is shown on a GPS app (FlyoverGPS).

  33. I always go for a window as well, when I’m I’m flying economy i always pick a window seat behind an exit seat row as they are usually well behaved passengers and they can’t recline, i don’t like the exit row as your always asked to put your personal belongings laptop etc in the overhead bins and they get funny about anything on the floor and the seats sometimes have an uncomfortable armrest on the window and it is often cold as the door is next to you.

  34. I find the overhead strip light above the windows to be bothersome at the window seat s- right in your eyes, and no way to turn if off. I guess it depends on how old you are – older people may have to get up more often. Plus on many aisle seats you can lift up the armrest swivel your body around without getting up to let the window passenger out.

  35. Former aisle always, but the last two years I switched to the window. I’m wired and hang my tablet case on the seat back.
    Besides, I usually need the lav only once per cross-country flight and time it when the aisle pax goes.

  36. This is pretty much exactly why I’ve been a window seat person from Day One, and I will never waver from that.

    Also, most of my travel is now paid premium cabin business travel, so I guess I mess up the loyalty program models!

  37. Last time I checked, the aisle seat has the exact same legroom as the window seat. Aisles are for walking, not for resting feet.

    Everything else, Lucky was spot on. Team Window all the way.

  38. @The Original Donna

    Pre Covid I feel the same way and preferred the aisle. Now they’re saying it’s safer at the window so……

  39. there is only one reason not seven – to be amazed every time with the wonder that is flight. my husband always lets me have the window. there’s no other seat worth having.

  40. It’s two — two — two preferences in one!

    In a narrow body coach, I’m firmly in the C/F camp! In other words, I want the aisle if I’m on the A-B-C (left) side of the plane, but I’ll take the window if I’m on the C-D-F (right side of the plane. I’ve had multiple knee surgeries, on both knees but mostly on my right. Being able to straighten out my right leg — whether it’s on the aisle (C) or along the fuselage (F) — makes ll the difference to me re: comfort in coach.

  41. Agree completely but mostly it is about the view. Flying is amazing and I never get tired of gazing out the window. I have hundreds or thousands of pictures taken while flying. I can feel some people staring at me, they probably think I don’t fly often. Nope, I am amazed by the view on every flight.

  42. Window forever. I will always love watching all that’s going on outside from pushback to landing.

  43. #TeamWindowSeat all the way for the reasons you mentioned. Only time I’m sitting in the aisle seat is when my wife or child are sitting in the window seat.

  44. Good post, I never thought of the advantages or other reasons to choose a window seat my only reason for window seats is the view. I’m like a kid in a candy store. Even at full altitude I still peak in and out looking to see if I can spot other planes going by. Late evening or early morning flights and the sun sets or rise it’s so beautiful. Love it

  45. I am a 100% window seat flyer. My main reasons are that I find the shoulder space is enhanced in a window seat given the curve of the plane. Whenever I am in an isle seat invariably people knock your shoulder or if your foot slips out a flight attendant is asking you to put it back or their trolley hits it…no such issues in the window. If I want light during a daytime flight, where so many airlines close the shades, I can enjoy some light and get/keep my circadian rhythms in sync

  46. When I saw the title, I thought “Window Seats While Flying” was a credit card you’re pushing! 😉

  47. Having flown transpolar since the early 60’s I no longer find hours of looking at snow and icebergs appealing. Occasionally (very occasionally) a landing or takeoff will happen during a sunny period and for that a window would be nice.

    My favorite was the upper deck of a BA 747. I would give the window to my wife as I probably access the C2H5OH more that she. She got the great bins and the forward facing view. I had an extra glass of Champagne.

    On those odd occasions when I was forced to fly cattle (package cruise flights for example) I prefer the window seat and pray that the middle seat is open.

    With covid – I won’t fly unless J is guaranteed as anything out of the traffic path is so much safer.

    As to the comments about controlling the window shade – when there’s nothing to see the shade is down so that everyone else in the cabin can see the screen and not have the sun in their eyes. 10 hours of a transpolar flight with the sun in my eyes so that I could not see the screen, or read a book, or even sleep is not something that I would impose on someone else.

    I do admit that when flying Concorde from LHR to JFK I kept the shades up and stared out the window in amazement for the entire flight. But because of skin friction the window was incredibly hot as was the UV from the inside wall. Like a sauna. But somebody had to do it 😉

  48. I absolutely love being in the window seat. I don’t care if it’s my 1000th time seeing LA or Atlanta or any other place, it’s still always fun to see.

    I also have a meteorology degree. Getting to view the clouds and the weather is always a treat too! Where some see some boring cloud cover, I see science and action!

    I do make sure to pick a side where the sun won’t shine directly in so I can keep my window open and not bother my seatmates.

  49. Even staring out of the window on night flight.The cities of light(not just light of cities) always amuse me.

  50. Team aisle.

    Dont get me wrong, I do love the view, and greatly enjoy the flow viz over the airfoil when you can get it. The simple mechanics of flight (flaps, spoilers, ailerons, thrust reversers, etc.) are just fun to me. Being able to look out and see things like icebergs, Mt Everest, storms you are avoiding, or simply the airplane traffic in and around the airport is just flat cool.

    As someone who has logged a lot of miles for business, I do prefer the aisle, especially in Main Cabin. If I am in a Premium Cabin, I’ll take a window as aisle access is much easier. I find the aisle easier on leg room. Personally, I’ve not had an issue sleeping on the aisle, though I understand why some may. I am almost always making a connection, so the aisle makes it much easier to get up and out. Its also easier to get up and stretch on long hauls (which I have flown a lot of). When I am traveling with my wife, it also means I can get up and help her with her cabin baggage. Your comment regarding not drinking much so you dont have to go the bathroom a lot simply shows you are still a young man. When age hits, you will understand. And while you may argue that you control the window, it isnt “yours”, just like the aisle isnt “mine”. These days with electronic shades, I have often found you have to ask a flight attendant to unlock the shade for it to even work.

    Just my take.

  51. I absolutely agree with window seats as a preference too. Casual control of the window (if someone else asks me to change it I would consider it, but I have the final decision, and it’s rare someone would ask, and I don’t like asking someone else to change the window shade).

    Fortunately it’s rare that I need to get up more than once for the bathroom, so that’s a minimal issue to me, and I’m not a fan of the carts and people going by me in the aisle.

    I also love being able to lean on the wall when sleeping, I find it much more comfortable (I tend to move around a lot when sleeping, so having multiple options for positions is good).

    While I agree that the front of the plane gets you off faster, I have rarely seen any difference at all between window or aisle for getting off (unless maybe if you’re within 1-2 aisles of the door). No matter what you’re waiting for all of the people in front of you on the plane, and the time it takes for the person or people closer to the aisle to start moving off is going to be a matter of seconds.

  52. I miss posts like this! Coronavirus has shifted our priorities in travel completely, so it’s so nice and refreshing to see a post like this after so long…

  53. Lucky, you’re talking my language. i used to be an aisle seat guy and now much prefer the window for all of the reasons that you describe. And it never ceases to amaze me that so many (perhaps most) people will take a seat by the window and process to slap the shade shut for pretty much the whole flight. Not sure why they do this; perhaps its because you can’t have glare interrupting your serious study of Instagram or Tik Tok.

    Anyhow, that closed shade makes me feel claustrophobic – I want to see outside. If I have the window, I can see out whether anyone likes it or not. And no, I’m not a total jerk – I will close the shade if asked to because it’s daytime sleep time or at least lower it for my neighbor’s IFE watching.

  54. Seat superiority flow chart is something like this:
    If it is a window and aisle seat, then it is superior to aisle seat.
    If there are no other passengers in the row (1,2,3 row), then it is superior to aisle seat.
    If there is 1 passenger in the aisle seat, then I guess it is 50/50 (personally, it is worse than aisle seat.
    If there is 1 passenger in the middle seat, then it is definitely worse then aisle.
    If there are passenger is the aisle and middle seat, than it is really bad, only a little less worse than middle seat.

    Since you can’t guarantee empty row, just book aisle. If the row is empty, then you can jump to window from your booked aisle seat.

  55. Window every time. The advantages of not being disturbed and a view that isn’t just other people and seat backs is just too good.

    The purported advantage of aisle time in deplaning is almost non-existent, given everyone (generally) respects deplaning row by row.

    The aisle also has other severe disadvantages: (a) getting hit by the drinks cart, (b) having to move for those in the middle and window seat when they boarded after you and/or need the bathroom every 2 minutes; (c) getting hit by bags of belonging to other folks boarding; (d) aisle on a red eye when you are trying to sleep (I’ve even chosen the middle of the center row on a red eye just to avoid people climbing over me to use the bathroom at 3am).

  56. I love looking out the window! I always book a window seat when it’s available. The most interesting thing I’ve seen was the Northern Lights on a flight from Seattle to London. It was the middle of the night and almost everyone was asleep. Totally gorgeous with yellow and green swirls in the sky and a purple carpet over the ice and snow below.

  57. It depends. For first class (which is where I usually end up) Most of my flights begin with a PHX-ATL segment which is about 3 hours. I’ve seen it way too many times, so looking out the window loses out to bathroom freedom on a flight of this duration. The second segment is almost always a shorter flight and I enjoy a window seat on flights less than 2 hours for all the reasons cited by Lucky. However, I also enjoy visiting with the flight attendants, and that’s way easier in the aisle seat. You also tend to receive better service on the aisle. It’s just easier for them to see you when you need something. Somewhat related, I try to get on the plane as soon as I possibly can if I have a window seat, so that I don’t have to climb over someone who is already settled in. And I will try to board at the very end of my group if I have an aisle seat.

    When I fly in coach, I grab the exit row seat when I book my flight. Then if I’m not upgraded, there is plenty of room for all. The aisle passenger doesn’t have to get up for the other passengers to get out and go to the restroom. When I’ve had one too many first class meals (if they ever return) I’ll just turn down the upgrade and stay in coach and enjoy the exit row legroom and the food they’re selling off the cart.

  58. Im 50/50 and think its very dependent on the situation. For a tall guy like me, aisle seats are the best so I can stretch my legs into the aisle and my knee and arm has more room to “breathe”than in the window seat. but also, depending on the seat, flight time, who im with, etc, you cant beat the privacy + views of window seats.

  59. I am Timo and I approve of this article.
    I hate those who never raise the shade. May they perish a thousand flights with a child kicking their seat back.

  60. I like windows as well for the view except on the 787s when the cabin crew darkens the tint and ruins the view! Of course on long hauls you also get dirty looks when you open the shades and someone wakes up.

  61. Aisle for sure. I like being able to stretch out my legs when needed. Plus I enjoy being able to get up, use the restroom, walk around etc whenever I want to. I do feel bad constantly asking folks to get up and let me out and must not be alone because on th majority of flights I’ve been on the window person has with apologize profusely at the request, or waited until I get up to go to the bathroom. I’ve even had a few over the years deplane and book it to the restroom once back in the airport. Lol

  62. #TeamWindowSeat since my first flight at the age of 5. If no windows are available I may change my flight.

  63. I absolutely HATE the persom who floods the cabin with light when nearly all the window shades are down for comfort and relaxation. There’s absolutely nothing out there to see 40,000 feet up in a cloud.

  64. I’m a 70 year old lady who loves to fly and travels alone most of the time. I used to be a window seat person 100 per cent but after my zillionth flight to Mccarran and back to Charlotte, I gradually made the switch to the aisle. I don’t have to climb over a couple of 30 year olds just to get to the bathroom, I can raise the aisle armrest when it’s time to deplane and someone always offers to help me with my bags when they see me struggling just to get up. I don’t have “control ” over the window because it’s always someone else across the aisle who has to peek out at 35,000 feet to look at the clouds and blind everyone around them.
    That being said, I am flying to Florida tomorrow and I paid for a window seat because it’s only a two hour trip and I want to enjoy the view. I think my bladder and my patience will hold out.
    I think the variables are different and endless. Destination and length of flight have a lot to do with it for me.

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