Opinion | The underrated beauty of the aisle seat

Jasmin Sani
Managing Editor
@jasminsani

Oh, airplane transportation. There is a check-list of items consistently spiraling through a traveler’s mind before they embark on their journey. What hotel should you stay at? What tourist stops should you visit? What are the best restaurants in town? Did you make sure to lock the door on the way out?

Hopefully, you’ve asked yourself that last question before you’ve arrived at the security checkpoint, but regardless, you can probably understand the struggle that goes into planning trips and making these decisions.

However, there’s one question that doesn’t get as much attention as it should: What seat should you book on your flight?

The answer will always be the aisle seat.

OK window seat-lovers, don’t glare at me in the reflection of your 2-by-1 window. I’m sure the views you see are amazing and speak to the true beauty of nature. But what’s even more beautiful is being able to go to the bathroom without feeling like the worst person on the planet.

It’s already known that the person on the end of a row doesn’t have to wake anyone else up on a 12-hour flight to Tokyo, for example. They have the luxury of moving about the cabin freely. But is that all there is to the aisle seat? At first glance, yes, there’s not much else besides easy access to the restroom. But that’s just surface level; in reality, there’s so much more to consider.

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely cons to sitting in the aisle. People will ask you to move when you’re getting to the most emotional part of “Beautiful Boy.” Other passengers will bump into you as they shimmy down the aisle. And more people from behind your seat can see what you’re doing on your laptop or phone – but honestly, if you’re up to some weird stuff and couldn’t wait until you got off the plane, that’s on you.

But honestly, it doesn’t matter that some passenger from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, saw you sobbing profusely to “Beautiful Boy” because he will likely never see you ever again. The cons I’ve listed here are all temporary, but the pros last the entire length of the flight.

The first pro of the aisle seat is having more leg room. Caution! This must be done sparingly and performed with skill, as the flight attendants can and will run over your feet in the aisle with their seemingly 10,000-pound beverage carts. The second pro is being able to place your bags in the overhead bin space and grab necessary items with ease. Third, and this is an especially important factor for international flights, sitting in an aisle seat means you’re the first person in your row who’s asked for beverages and meals. Need I say more?

Fourth – surprisingly yes, there are this many benefits to the aisle seat – you will always be guaranteed an arm rest and most likely be guaranteed not to sit next to a window-loving child who has to shout out at their mother every half-minute to say, “Look at that!” Consequently, there is a slimmer chance a child will be sitting directly behind you and thus, you’ve saved yourself from having the back of your chair kicked for the duration of a three-hour flight from Santa Ana, California, to Dallas, Texas. Because you sat in the aisle seat, you didn’t succumb to wishing for half a second that maybe the flight plummeting from 35,000 feet in the air isn’t the worst thing to happen to you.

And hey, even if it were to do just that, at least you’re the closest in your row to the exit door.