Well let’s face it, wouldn’t we all sooner be in first class. Especially if you’ve been up there enough times to fully appreciate what you are missing. I’ve enjoyed first or executive class maybe five times: twice using points, a couple of surprise upgrades, and another time when they had to carry me on the plane because of a knee injury. That’s a story for another day.

So it’s not my travel reality. But here are some other things I look for when I’m able to preselect my seat. (Some airlines charge for this and in that case, for the most part, I accept their selection rather than pay.)

  • Near the front. Well if it’s not first class, sitting in the front of economy can be the next best thing. If I don’t have lots of time to make a connecting flight, I prefer to sit as close to the front as possible for a quicker exit. If I think that the timing is going to be really tight, I have sometimes paid the extra seat preselection fee to get seats closer to the front.
  • Extra legroom. If it’s a long flight, especially overseas, I will pay the extra money to book the seats with extra legroom which are typically over the wings near the exit doors and sometimes at the bulkhead.
  • Left window seat. If I’m tired and want to lean my head against the window for a snooze, with my neck pillow, I find that I can get more comfortable on the left side of the plane. I’m used to lying on my left side in bed and if I try to get comfy on the right I’m more likely to get a kink in my neck.
  • Bulkhead seat. If the airline is not charging extra for these seats, I prefer them because they generally have more leg room.
  • Over the wings. My late father, a former airman in the Royal Canadian Air Force, told me once that the safest place to sit in a plane is over the wings. Let’s not think what scenario might prove that to be true but when I can, I heed his advice.
  • And far from crying babies. Feel so sorry for the little ones when they are upset but I’ll not dwell on their wails. Sorry but the only way to plan ahead for this is to make sure you’ve got headphones; extraneous sound eliminating ones work best.

Where do YOU like to sit?