The Loner’s Guide Episode 3: Best Airplane Seat

Greetings everyone! Welcome to The Loner’s Guide Episode 3: Best Airplane Seat. In this episode I will explain which airplane seat is the best for comfy travels.  

When I first started traveling I had no idea what to expect. I did know that I enjoyed aisle seats. Something about being able to stand when I want and not over stepping my neighbor resonated with me. When I booked my first flight it was in 2012. I just wanted to be able to sit, relax, and not worry about being thousands of feet in the air. My first flight was from New Jersey to one of the Carolinas. It was flight one out of eight total flights in two weeks, but that is a completely different episode.

I will give you advice on two different options, one being budget friendly, while the other a bit more pricy, yet well worth the funds. 

Option 1: The Perfect Economy Seat

As I’m sure you know economy seating can be a bit of a pain. You are crammed into multiple seats in a row with people who are no doubt going to be sharing your personal space. You will be either side rubbing and or fighting over an armrest. If you are next to someone who is rather tall more than likely they will be in a position where their legs invade your personal space. Or if you are very unlucky as I was when I went from New Zealand to America, you will sit next to someone who takes off their shoes and then sits cross legged in the seat with their foot firmly against your thigh. Basically what I’m getting at is economy is tight, very tight, so close it’s too close, tight. However you can still find a seat that gives you space and a bit more freedom than the average economy seat while still being in economy. 

The perfect economy seat rest firmly where the emergency row is placed. Depending on your flight and the size of your airplane, you will either have a three by four by three row seating, or three by three row seating. Regardless of this, always pick an aisle seat in the exit row. If you can pick the center row seats in an emergency row, then that is perfect! You get extra leg room while also avoiding being stepped on by your neighbor when they have to go to the restroom.

Years ago, I went for these seats as they were in my limited budget while providing me comfort. However, I guess some airlines caught on to this and now these coveted seats are considered economy plus seats. These are just regular economy seats, but because of all the comforts that the others lack, the airlines charge a bit more for this. It is a shame when these seats are still the same size as regular economy. 

Just so it’s clear, Economy Plus is not Premium Economy. I will explain that next. 

Economy seating is great if you can find the right seat in the right area. If you have a short flight, then don’t even bother as you can deal with discomfort for 1-3 hours. However, if you are on an international flight or a flight more than 3 hours, definitely get the seat I suggested.

Option 2: Premium Economy Has the Perks!

Now this seating option is just superb! It is a fairly new seating type which sits between economy and business class. As stated in a previous episode, there are only about 12-24 premium economy seats on a given flight. Compared to other types of seats, they are very few in numbers. These seats, no matter aisle or emergency row, will give you the space and comfort! 

For one thing, the seats are bigger, about 1-2 inches on either side. When sitting in this type of seat for the first time, I was enamored at the space my thighs had. I also love how you have your own personal space. This means that your neighbor’s leg is in their own chair away from you. Most importantly, you are separated from your neighbor by thick metal armrests that you each have! This means no more fighting or elbowing by accident. 

The other perks of this seating option is that you get amenities that are a tad bit nicer than economy such as a little baggy with gifts. These gifts include toothpaste, toothbrush, socks, hand lotion, ear plugs, and even lip balm to name a few. Yes, there is more! This of course depends on your flight and the company! 

The thing about premium economy is that you will more than likely pay a lot more than regular economy. If you are traveling international then just spend the money. Comfort always costs more. It doesn’t have to cost thousands upon thousands like business or first class, but you will spend a pretty penny. In any event, I am more than happy to pay up an extra three to four hundred dollars more to get that extra space for my thighs. 

I also must mention that the perfect premium economy seat is nestled in the exit row. Now, you don’t have to be in an exit row to have room for your feet in premium economy, but with an exit row you have double the space! So for all the tall people out there, this is the perfect option for you! I am very short but still love having this option as I do stand regularly to stretch on long flights. It is great to have my own area to do this instead of going in the aisles. 

Whatever you choose remember to think of what’s best for you. If you don’t like aisle seats, or if you enjoy staring out the window on flights, my suggestions may not resonate with you. Below are some links to get a feel for what premium economy has to offer and even seat maps to see what area works for you!

I hope you enjoyed the episode. Please share and remember, you only live once, so explore! Until then…


United Airlines Seat Map

Japan Airlines Seat Map

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