Why I always choose a window seat on an airplane

Earlier this week, I was finalizing flights home for my sister’s wedding and asked my husband if he had a preference for where he sat on the plane.

“Any aisle seat,” he said.

I looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “Why an aisle seat? »

“That’s better,” he replies.

As a travel journalist who spends a lot of time on planes, I feel it’s my duty to clear this up, and all the other aisle lurkers.

Let’s start with what is given.

No matter where you sit on a plane, if you’re flying economy class on a long trip, it’s probably not going to be the highlight of your trip. While premium passengers get reclining seats, direct aisle access, window views, and all sorts of little luxuries, those of us flying in the back of the cabin don’t have not so lucky.

But soaring airfare prices in the current climate make it inevitable that more of us will opt for the coach, myself included. And when I fly economy class, you’ll find me sitting very firmly in the window seat.

The reasons for this are innumerable.

First, it’s easier to close your eyes, with the ability to lean against the window and not have anyone awkwardly bump into you as you pass. The armrests are another element to consider. While the two interior dividers unquestionably go for the unfortunate person stuck in the middle seat, those sitting near the window can use all that extra space on the other side to build a pillow-supported double-sized armrest – just try doing it in the driveway.

The window shade is also totally your mission, meaning you have full control over whether you take in the view, close it to sleep, or lower it to reduce glare shining on your in-flight film.

And when you’re traveling solo and you’re not feeling sociable, people who book window seats also have to deal with having someone on one side only, compared to those in the aisle that have one person on each side.

In-flight services aren’t as stressful either because there’s less chance of things getting spilled on you and you don’t have to return people’s dirty plates and cups to the cabin crew. And while it may be harder to get the crew’s attention, the call button makes it a problem.

Access to the bathroom is the main argument that aisle flyers cling to, including my husband. With that, I throw up my hands ― it’s admittedly a lot easier to get out for the bathroom if you’re sitting at the end of a row than if you’re near the window. But that comes down to allowing yourself to be a little selfish, but maybe don’t follow my example if you have a weak bladder. I would much rather disturb the people next to me to get them up on my own schedule, than be pushed, punched, or knocked over by passengers who wake me up as I fall asleep, or worse, I have to yet to face someone trying to climb. me on my way to the toilet.

Granted, I share all of this from my five-foot-three perspective, which makes it easy for me to settle into a window seat without having to contort myself like I’ve seen some taller travelers do. If you’re over six feet tall, the aisle seat gives you more leeway to stretch out, but remember that the aisle isn’t really your space — and your legs or outstretched arms might not. not be appreciated by the crew or parents who follow young children. around the cabin.

Sitting in a window seat with a private portal to the cloud-filled landscape beyond is a way to pause for a moment and appreciate the magic of travel.

Having a close connection where you have to get off the plane quickly is one occasion where I would concede that it makes sense to consider an aisle seat. But unless you’re next to those people who like to be the last to get off a flight, you’ll only really gain seconds when stepping out of your row.

But the main reason I will always book a window seat when I fly has nothing to do with the above. Instead, it’s for those moments of wonder as you descend 32,000 feet above Earth and see an unknown web emerging below.

After flying over the Statue of Liberty when I landed in New York, cruising above the Maldivian islands dotted like snowdrops in a sea of ​​blue and admiring a bird’s eye view of the sparkling coastline of the French Riviera during from my arrival in Nice, the view from the window is part of the trip. Sitting in a window seat with a private portal to the cloudscape beyond is a way to pause for a moment and appreciate the magic of travel.

And that’s also why next month, when we descend on Scotland, I’ll be the one to gasp and exclaim at the timeless beauty of my home country, while my husband will have to make do with a view of a rear screen seat.

Updated: 09 September 2022, 18:02