On my recent review of Turkish Airlines’ Boeing 737 MAX business class, reader Jason D asked the following:
I’ve noticed that you so often choose your seats as far back in the business class cabin as possible. Just being nosey as to your reasoning why as I guess it’s more common for flyers to choose seats as far forward as possible.
It’s true. I have a strong business class seating preference, and it’s almost always the same, regardless of the configuration. Specifically, I typically like to sit in the last row of business class, ideally on the right side (and I’m a window person over an aisle person). This is the opposite of the preference that most people have, since the goal for most people is to sit as far forward as possible. So let me explain why.
The benefits of sitting in the back of business class
Admittedly there are so many different cabin configurations out there, so there’s nothing that’s going to be true across airlines and planes. However, here are some of the reasons I generally prefer to sit in the last row of business class:
- Business class seats start filling up from front to back, so your best chances of scoring an empty seat next to you are to sit in the back of the cabin (this is of course a moot point on US airlines, where there’s no such thing as an empty premium seat)
- There’s virtually no foot traffic during the flight, since the lavatories are in front of you, and passengers don’t really move between cabins
- As an aviation geek, I love having a view of the engine and wing, and those are generally better the further back you sit
- I always prefer having a bulkhead behind me, since it adds a bit of privacy, and it also means you won’t have someone seated behind you who is constantly pushing their entertainment monitor, resting their feet on your seat, pulling your seat to stand up, etc.
- Since I review airlines, I love being able to observe the service flow throughout the cabin, and that’s easier to do when you’re further back; it’s also easier to snap pictures of the entire cabin while everyone is seated when you can observe the cabin constantly
So yeah, across the board I prefer sitting in the back of business class.
However, I’m particularly a fan of sitting in the back of business class on wide body aircraft with two business class cabins. The rear cabin almost always remains emptier, and feels more private anyway, since there are usually just a few rows at most.
The downsides of sitting in the back of business class
While there are plenty of upsides to sitting in the back of the cabin, there are also some downsides, which I wanted to at least acknowledge:
- Often times the first row of economy (right behind business class) is for bassinets, so there’s a risk of having a screaming baby behind you; fortunately I’ve rarely found this to be an issue
- For situations where there are two business class cabins, generally everyone boards past you in the rear cabin, making the boarding experience much more hectic
- It can be louder in the back of business class, since you’re closer to the engine
- Every airline has a different policy on how meal orders are taken, though on some airlines meals are prioritized front to back, which is tricky if you’re seated in the last row
Everyone has different airplane seating preferences. In business class, most people seem to try to sit as far forward as possible, while I take the opposite approach, and try to sit in the back. This applies whether we’re talking about a narrow body plane, or a wide body plane with multiple business class cabins.
When sitting in the back you have better odds of having an empty seat next to you, us avgeeks typically have a better view of the wing and engine, and I also enjoy watching the service flow in the cabin.
Do you have a general business class seating preference?