In search of the perfect airline seat

“Six A.” “Six A.” “Six A.”

Say what? Well, I’m certainly not playing Bingo. It turns out that on a standard airliner the most popular seat is 6A, according to a poll of more than 1,000 aircraft passengers that was published in the British travel site Skyscanner.

We're all just cattle here in this truck. Photo courtesy of USDOT

The poll queried passengers, in addition to seat preferences, as to what sections of the aircraft they prefer and what influenced their decisions such as legroom or deplaning.

Of course, the aircraft itself influences such decisions especially if one flies certain routes to and from a specific airport. For instance, I rode “Continental Connection” partners mostly Colgan Air, a few times out of both Waco and Beaumont (the latter is now called Jack Brooks Regional Airport, named after the longtime congressman from Beaumont who drafted impeachment charges against Richard Nixon.) Back to the air, these flights were usually on turboprops such as the Saab 340, notoriously known as “puddle jumpers” or worse. Even though I had some hairy rides on the turboprops they are kind of a fun ride as long as the weather is smooth.

Seat 6A on a Saab 340 is located over the wing and forward of the amidships emergency exit. Because of the exit, the seat doesn’t recline — information thanks to SeatGuru. The “A” seats do have the advantage of having one seat on the left side of the plane, thus every seat is a window seat (or aisle seat.)

Other aircraft on which I’ve flown don’t even have a row 6 such as Boeing 737s.

So perhaps this British poll must be taken, like similar sampling, with a grain of salt from that bag of peanuts that is your in-flight meal these days, if you get even that.

What was more interesting than where these polled passengers — not to be confused with a polled Herefordsat are the reasons for where they sit. Some passengers like to sit near the wing because there is less turbulence. Some older men like to sit, naturally, toward the back of the plane near the restrooms. Deplaning be damned!

Interestingly enough was the lack of statistics citing those who choose their seats based on the probability of surviving an accident. Not something we talk about but it was one of the first considerations I had when I began flying somewhat more after only a few flights some 25 years before. I admit to having been a nervous flier. Luckily, an old flame — interesting word for this discussion notwithstanding — who was a frequent flier gave me insight as well as tickets to come visit her for a week. All of that helped make me somewhat more airworthy. I’m by no means a jet-setter but I’ve probably made three-dozen flights in the intervening 13 years. Which brings to mind that some planes also do not have a row 13.

Quite often I have no choice when it comes to seating for one reason or the other. An A or F seat in the 30s is fine with me on a 737. I like looking out the window and appreciate the proximity to the lavatory. I like it even better when I have a whole row to myself. It doesn’t happen often, but it has happened. I like First Class even better but that has happened even less frequently.

It’s all a matter of choice and even chance, sometimes.


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