Seats on a plane

When we’re in holiday planning mode, our minds tend to stay focused on the destination. But why would we deny ourselves the opportunity to be as comfortable as possible on the way to or from that destination? Follow these pro-tips from our friends at Skyscanner to get the best plane seats possible, no matter which airline you fly.

The fast facts

Safest seats:

  • Air travel is incredibly safe. But if you’re uneasy in the air, opt for a back row. The back of the plane is the safest part of the plane, according to studies. As a bonus, this area is also where the staff stashes extra pillows and snacks!

Most popular seats:

  • A Skyscanner survey showed that the most popular seat was 6A and the least popular was 31E. The study also showed that 46% of travellers prefer to sit in the front of the plane, 60% prefer a window seat, and 62% prefer an even-numbered row. To hedge your best bet for an empty seat next to you, choose an aisle seat in an odd-numbered row.

Seats with most legroom:

  • Long-legged passengers should try to reserve a seat in the exit rows, since these have extra legroom. However, it’s important to note that they might be reserved for passengers who check in at the airport so that the airline staff can properly assess their suitability in the case of an emergency.

Window seat in sunshine

Airlines with the most comfortable seats in Economy

Airline with best seat for width:

  • Singapore Airlines has the biggest economy seats, measuring about 48 centimetres across.

Airline with best entertainment:

  • Emirates has the widest selection of onboard entertainment. Most airlines offer 500-1500 options, but Emirates ranks at the top with over 2000.

Airline with most cabin baggage:

  • Air New Zealand, Etihad, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, and United Airlines all allow one piece of cabin baggage weighing up to 7kgs plus one personal item.

Credit Qantas

Overall tips

  • When you’re at the airport counter, ask the friendly airline staff if there are any better seats available. It’s possible that other passengers chose an upgrade or received an upgrade as a frequent flyer, so their old seats would have opened up - and these are often better economy or premium economy seats.
  • If you’re travelling as a couple or family, choose an aisle and window seat to leave the middle seat empty. This might deter other passengers from choosing the middle seat, leaving you with extra room in your row.
  • In the front row, there’s often a bassinet available for intrepid babies (and their parents!). Although these rows have extra legroom, try to sit a few rows back if you want to avoid the possibility of a crying baby.