Flying. We're not fans, but it's a necessary evil for the frequent traveller. Today we have a guest post from the author of Flights And Frustration with a look at a very important question to consider when booking your ticket on an airplane.
When you book your trip away you consider all the important details such as hotel, transport and insurance; yet somehow you can be thrown by the question “Would you like a window or an aisle seat, sir?”
This fairly standard question at check-in may often be taken lightly by some who just opt for their immediate preference. Yet if we look at the pros and cons of this decision would you decide differently?
Amid all the clamour to get onto the aircraft, irrespective of flying economy or business class there can be mayhem at boarding. Everyone pushing and shoving and generally impatient even though the cabin crew are waiting until you are all seated.
If you opt for the aisle then it is relatively easy to get to your seat. On the downside, however, you just sit there and get clobbered by the bags of everyone else as they pass by to get to their seat.
Choosing the window seat here is a good way to protect your head and shoulders from the bruises caused by that backpacker's rucksack, however you may have to ask the person already in an aisle seat to move so you can get to your seat.
Sitting by the window is a clear winner in this category as you get to enjoy the great views on a relatively clear day for a flight, unless of course you are seated over the wing where your view could be obscured. The poor guy in the aisle seat, keen to see where we are has to sneakily peer over shoulders on either side to catch a glimpse through the window.
On the other hand if you are afraid of flying it maybe easier for you not to be near the window at all.
Going to the toilet
Okay so this can be critical, especially if you have a weak bladder or are ill. On the one hand, if you are in the aisle seat you have quick and easy access to the toilets. On the downside, if the person in the window seat has to keep climbing over you to get to the toilet you'll soon become annoyed and won't be able to sleep.
This really comes down to your tolerance and how long you think the flight will be.
Length of flight
Like the bathroom issue above, the length of flight could be a big factor in the decision you make. Should it be a short haul trip of an hour, then maybe you'll tolerate not getting your preference. But if you're like me, you've made numerous long haul flights from the UK to Australia and you really want to be in your preferred choice for around a day's length of flying.
You really have to consider your comfort here, especially in light of the length of time for the flight. If you get claustrophobic, for example, then being crammed in by the window could cause a mild panic attack.
Sitting in the aisle provides more comfort as you can at least stretch one, if not both legs out into the aisle. You also have more scope for elbow room on at least one side. There's nothing worse than no elbow room!
Thankfully I've never experienced one of these, yet we are always told about them before we take off. Should the worst happen, then the aisle seat has a lot of appeal. A quick release of the seat belt and you get in the queue to exit asap.
If you are stuck by the window, then tough luck really; you have to wait your turn. There is one big potential plus here though with the window seat. If you get an emergency exit seat you are right by the door and can be the first off the plane!
The overhead bin
This is pretty much like the toilet issue. You've brought lots of accessories or need to work on something during the flight. Having to unpack after take off, then pack away before landing is a real pain. Having an aisle seat gives you ease of access to bob up and down at your leisure.
However, poor Mr. Businessman by the window has to make frequent polite requests to get by so he can get to his luggage in the overhead bin.
Exiting the plane
The flight is over and all everyone wants to do is get off this plane. Poor old you stuck by the window, sorry you are not going anywhere for a while. You'll have to wait your turn. If you are really eager to leave then you end up standing with a crouch as you can't stand straight up whilst you wait for a gap in the queue.
As for the guy by the aisle, well, things couldn't be better. As soon as that seat belt sign goes off he's up and grabbing his bags. His place in the queue is already pre-set and he knows when he is likely to leave the plane.
So how about you? What is your seat preference when it comes to flying? Do you choose a different type of seat depending up which flight you are on? I know I do. However one thing is for certain, it is very rare to see someone ask to be seated in the middle of a row of three seats.
Bio: The Guy has been a frequent business traveller for more than a dozen years. The number of flights he has taken falls into the thousands whilst his frequent flyer miles are in the millions. Read more of his experiences on his blog Flights And Frustration – the rants, ramblings and ruminations of a frequent traveller. You can follow The Guy on Twitter or on Facebook.