Disclosure: Basic Travel Couple, LLC has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Basic Travel Couple, LLC and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
It’s open seating and you are the first passenger to board the plane. The friendly flight attendant provides a warm welcome as you navigate down the center aisle. It’s a standard 737 airplane with three seats to the right and three seats to the left. Which seat do you choose? The Aisle, Middle, or Window – this is another round of the Basic Debate!
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You know them all too well: the aisle, middle, and window. When flying coach or economy, the decision among the three seats can be a tough one to make. In this edition of the basic debate, we will breakdown the three options and end with the basic travel team picks.
The Aisle Seat
Wide-open access to the aisle can be quite the perk. The option to stand or sit without having to tap a stranger on the shoulder is especially nice. Whether it’s a sweater, book, or headphones, this seat allows you to stand up and access your belongings from the overhead bin freely. Finally, the airplane bathroom is in direct eyesight for those passengers with small bladders.
Despite having all that space and mobility, beware of the in-flight beverage cart. Experiencing your foot run over at 30,000 Feet is not what I call a good time. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for passengers heading down the aisle with large backpacks. One quick turn can lead to whiplash as if you were driving a bumper-car.
- Easy access to the overhead bin
- Stand up and down to stretch
- Direct line of vision with the airplane restrooms
- Chance of injury from the in-flight beverage cart
- Being exposed to passenger’s extra-large carry-on bags
- Only one arm-rest
The Middle Seat
Being stuck in the middle doesn’t sound too appealing. We all can use our imagination to come up with some real nightmarish scenarios of middle-seat-madness. To flip the script, imagine drawing a royal flush and being stuck between two celebrities. Never say never! You’ll find my celebrity squeeze fantasy down in the Basic Breakdown.
One positive, yet controversial bonus for being planted in the middle seat is the unspoken armrest rule. Legend has it when the airlines were erected, the one rule that the almighty Wright Brothers etched into stone was thou who sits in thy middle seat shall have primary access to both armrests. There is a growing movement of passengers who are adamant that the middle seater shares the armrest with the aisle and window seated friends. Where do you stand (or sit) on this debate?
- Garnering the right over both armrest (muahahaha)
- Winning the airplane lottery and sitting between celebrities
- Being stuck between (Insert uncomfortable scenario here)
- Not being able to use the restroom easily
- Getting into an elbow shoving match over that coveted armrest space
- Not being able to get up and stretch
- Nowhere to rest your head (I’m looking at you window seat)
The Window Seat
I can sum up the best aspect of sitting in the coveted window seat with four words – all of the views. There is something magical about witnessing the world from above. Familiar landscapes appear foreign from 10,000 feet. It does not get much better than taking in a stunning sunrise from above the clouds. The kind of sunrise that incorporates all the varying shades of red, pink, violet, and blue is out of this world.
Taking in all those views can be tiring, good thing the window seat comes with its very own headrest. The plastic next to the window has made for a makeshift pillow on many occasions. Unfortunately, all these perks come with a cost. Once you’re in the window seat it can be hard to get out of it. To use the restroom or stand up to stretch, a request to the middle and aisle friends is necessary. For those who need to use the restroom in a hurry, having to scramble by two extra people en route to the front of the plane can make all the difference.
- Views for days. Watching the world get smaller during takeoff is magical!
- Makeshift headrest. It’s plastic and hard but beats no headrest at all.
- Feeling trapped by the Middle and Aisle Seat Customers.
- If you have a weak bladder, escaping to the restroom can be dangerous.
- Not being able to stand up and stretch on a whim.
The gloves are off and each of the three seats has suffered fatal blows. The Basic Travel Team Judges will weigh in below on which seat they believe has earned the “W”.
Basic Travel Team Picks
What seat would you choose and why?
I love looking out the window when flying! When taking off you can see the world disappear from beneath you. If you time it right while in the clouds, you can see a beautiful sunset/sunrise from high above with no obstructions. One of my favorite parts though would be to see a new city/country you are visiting begin to appear from above. The excitement I get from seeing the big picture of a whole new place is a one-of-a-kind experience. Photographs never do any justice for the airplane sights. I prefer to see it first hand and daydream about experiencing a new destination.
Another plus is if I am super tired, the fuselage of the plane gives you a nice spot to rest your head and take a quick nap. Sometimes you can even feel the warm sunlight on your face.
At the beginning of my flying career, I always chose window. I loved sitting over the wing and taking in all the views. Inevitably. thought l would always enjoy a nice drink or want to watch a movie and I would need to get into her overhead bin. So now, I am AISLE all the way.
In economy definitely aisle! Being 6’ the extra room to stretch is needed.
I’m an aisle guy all the way. Picture me as the annoying passenger who opens the overhead bin 9,200 times because there is always something I’m forgetting to pull out of my backpack. Although, I can’t discredit the other two seats completely. I do love the view from the window and if I could pick who I sat between in the middle, that would be a game-changer.
Window – 1 Vote
Aisle – 3 Votes
Middle – 0 Votes 🙁
The aisle seat is the clear winner in this round of the basic debate. Do you agree with the winner? I’d love to hear your pick down in the comments below or over in the 4,000 + Member Basic Travel Facebook Group!
Bonus Question – If you had to choose two people to be stuck in the middle seat during a flight, who would they be? I’d have to go with Phil Keoghan and Tim Ferriss for some deep, intellectual conversations with a travel twist. Who would your celebrity squeeze be?
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Disclosure: Basic Travel Couple, LLC has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Basic Travel Couple, LLC and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.