If you want to stretch out, you’ll have more space to spread in the exit row, which are roomier to allow people to get in and out in case of an emergency. But be careful which one you pick—the front row doesn’t recline, but the back exit row does, says Richard Laermer, CEO of RLM PR, who travels every week for business. “They can recline because the person behind them isn’t an exit person, so they aren’t responsible for the whole airplane,” he says. Save yourself from a stiff-backed flight by finding an exit seat in the row farthest back. As a bonus, the middle seat will likely be open for grabs right up until check-in, because most fliers avoid middle seats, regardless of the extra legroom an exit row seat could offer, says Lewis Krell, director of business development for Utrip. And even if you don’t end up with the coveted extra legroom, try not to kick the seat in front of you.
Planning to get some shut-eye on your flight? Restful sleep is rare on a plane, but snagging a window airplane seats can up your chances of actually catching some Zs because you can lean against the side of the plane, says Greg Geronemus, the co-CEO of smarTours. “It’s easier than trying to fall asleep on a neck pillow while basically sitting upright,” he says. “You can also control your light exposure.” Avoid the last row of the plane, which usually won’t recline, and get a seat closer to the middle of the plane instead to avoid disruptive foot traffic to the bathroom, says Krell. These are the 18 things you should never do on an airplane.
More elbow room
If airplane seats make you feel constrained, more room to move your arms might make you more comfortable, says Dan Suski, founder of Seatlink.com. “The window seat in window exit rows is often missing an armrest, so while the seat cushion is the same width, you have more space to move around,” he says. On the flip side, because bulkhead seats don’t have a row in front of them, their tray tables are attached to the armrests, meaning you won’t be able to move the armrest down, he says.