The No. 1 Way to Get the Quietest Seat on Every Flight
You'll want to consider this when booking travel and selecting your seat.
When traveling, a lot is out of our control, from the length of the security line to whether you end up having to gate check your carry-on. However, there are certain things within our power, including seat selection. Airlines typically give you the opportunity to pick where you sit, albeit sometimes for a fee. But if you covet quiet, you may want to consider shelling out a few extra bucks, as experts share a key tip to secure a spot with minimal noise. Read on to find out the number one way to get the quietest seat on every flight.
Avoid being near the engines, if you can.
It's true that another uncontrollable air travel factor is who's sitting around you—aside from those you booked with—and how much noise they make. However, when it comes to the sounds from the airplane itself, you can distance yourself.
According to Dan Bubb, PhD, former airline pilot, aviation history expert, and professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, when selecting your seat, the key is to consider where the engines are.
"Any seat in front of the engines will be much quieter than sitting behind them," he tells Best Life. "If you are flying on Southwest Airlines, which has open seating, any seat in front of the exit rows will be quieter. If you are flying on an airline that has different classes of seating, business class and first class offer the quietest seats."
Still, if your main gripe is chatter from your fellow passengers, consider one Redditor's advice and pick a seat that isn't close to the bathroom or crew areas, as these are the areas people frequent during flights.
Take advantage of airline rewards if you want to splurge.
Of course, the seats near the front are typically the most desirable, meaning they're also the most expensive. You may be put off by the price tag for a business class seat or one closer to the front, but airlines also generally let you use your points and miles for upgrades.
So, if you're prioritizing some peace and quiet on an upcoming flight, Bubb recommends putting any rewards you've racked up toward a quieter seat.
Experts suggest a few backup options.
If you're booking a little later and you don't have the option to select a prime spot, you can always put yourself on an upgrade waitlist, per Bubb's suggestion—or select another seat wisely.
"If those options are not available, you might opt to be placed on an upgrade list should one of those seats become available, or if you have no other option, then try to select a comfortable seat towards the back of the plane," Bubb says.
If you're in the back on a less-crowded flight, there may be fewer people (i.e. less noise) and more room to spread out.
"I usually look for an aisle seat in the back of the plane, because there are fewer people in those rows, and also because it's easier for me to get up and down from my seat without hitting anyone or stepping on someone's toes (or feet)," Leif Holtzman, chief information officer at travel site Lacure Villas, tells Best Life.
The "best" seat isn't the same for everyone.
If you've got a pair of snazzy noise-canceling headphones, or if you're simply unbothered on a loud flight, other seats might suit your preferences better.
Bubb notes that as a tall person, he tries to find a seat in the exit row, which gets you extra legroom (sometimes without an added fee). In addition, Carrie Rose, certified life coach and founder of SunUp Coaching LLC, Hawaii, points out that kids under 15 can't sit in exit rows, "so you're guaranteed to be next to adults."
Josephine Remo Finderup, travel blogger, former flight attendant, and content writer at Awesome Motive Inc., prefers an aisle seat near the front—which also gets you off the plane faster. And if you like to catch a little shut-eye during your travels, avoid picking a seat where you have to get up when other passengers need to move or use the bathroom.
"For uninterrupted sleep, nothing beats a window seat—it provides a snug corner to rest against," she says.
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