The crying, gasping baby which sounds as though it has terminal pneumonia has been following me around for long hauls over the past year. How did that backpacker who last had a shower three continents ago end up sitting next to me? I’m sure I asked for an aisle/window seat, so why am I wedged in the middle? Again. And just as I thought I might get a row to myself, on one recent flight, a nerdy Korean jumped into the aisle seat and played frantic games on his iPhone for the next three hours. He couldn’t do that three rows back?
I shouldn’t mention the fat dude with fungus growing under his toenails. He took his shoes off, there was an unmistakable stench and (cue Jaws theme) there they were. Yellow, decaying, fraying at the edges. And that armrest hog is back, reading his broadsheet newspaper which is way too wide. Didn’t he get the SMH tabloid memo? How on earth did these people know where I’m sitting on the plane? Ah, the dilemma of best and worst airline seats.
- You pay more for bulkhead or emergency row seats and the chances are all those annoying people won’t be there.
- Get in early – jump online and grab them as soon as seating opens because there’s no way in hell they’ll be available when you rock up to the airport to check in.
- The airline experts, Skyscanner, say it’s important to note that most of the seats in front of an exit row will not recline much, and neither will the seats in the last row of the plane.
- Seats near the toilets or the galley will have people milling around and be noisy, and will cramp your leg space.
- If you’re worried about a plane crashing, it’s been shown that people sitting near the back are more liable to survive.
- Use a website such as SeatGuru or SeatExpert, which can give you the layout of the plane you will be travelling on
- The left-hand side of the plane is the best if you want a window seat and a sleep, as the way the plane’s walls are curved mean windows are off centre, allowing for wall space to lean on.
Otherwise, there’s only one way to really get away from this, and that is upgrade, babes, upgrade. No more best and worst seats at the pointy end of the plane. Airlines I’ve flown with where you can escape all these people (including me, because I’ve been known to recline my wretched economy class seat while the person sitting behind me is still eating their meal!):
Qantas: Best bits: Bubbles before take-off, friendly Australian service, superb range of Australian wines, excellent menu choice. You can select your seat for free within 24 hours of departure via Online Check-in or the Check-in Kiosks at the airport. Find out more about your Check-in Seat Selection options.
Thai Airways: Best bits: Try an upgrade as you check in, it could cost from $400 extra, depending on the sector (a lot of airlines are way more expensive). Thai food is fabulous. No arguments. The attendants’ uniform is so glam that you want one.
Emirates: Best bits: Your attendant will lay a mattress over your seat when it’s time to sleep so you really do feel as though you’re in a bed; the menu is extensive and the circular bar is a must place for a cocktail, a chat and to stretch your legs without tripping over other people trying to sleep.