Aisle or Window Seat: Which is Better?

In the world of frequent fliers, the aisle vs. window debate is a fierce one. Aisle loyalists sing the praises of their extra legroom, and window fans point to the views. The only common ground between the two is literally the common ground between the two: their hatred for the dreaded middle seat.

How to Get the Best Airline Seats

If you’re on the fence about which seat is best, read on. Both types of seating have their good and bad qualities – we’ll help you figure out which seat is best for you.

When to pick an aisle seat

  • When the flight is long. You’ll probably have to use the bathroom more than once (heavy coffee drinkers, take note). You might also want to get your blood flowing with a quick walk around the cabin, and sitting in the aisle means you won’t have to climb over people.
  • When you have a connecting flight to catch in a short window of time.
  • When you’re tall and want extra room to stretch your legs out.
  • When you’re flying economy, especially on cheap flights (any extra space to stretch out is welcome)
  • When you’re prone to claustrophobia.
  • When you need easier access to items in the overhead compartment.

When to pick a window seat

  • When you want to sleep. The window seat will not only give you a wall to lean on, but you also won’t be awakened by neighbors climbing in and out of their seats.
  • When you’re flying over regions with interesting geological features (like the Rocky Mountains or Grand Canyon).
  • When you’re traveling with a baby and might need privacy to nurse or help your baby sleep.
  • When you’re traveling with a child. Flying in the clouds and being able to see the country from a bird’s-eye view will fascinate your child.
  • When you’re traveling with a companion. Airlines often book middle seats last, so there’s a better chance of ending up with an open middle seat when one of you is booked on the window and the other on the aisle.
  • If you don’t want to get bumped by roving drink carts or other passengers.

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Updated: November 13, 2014