The Safest Part Of The Plane To Sit (PLUS 8 Other Seat Selection Tips)

safest part of the plane

Seat selection on a plane can be crucial to the comfort of your flight.

If you aren’t comfortable, then chances are jet lag will feel even worse than it should – and who wants that when traveling! Not me! Of course, the two things we all look for – safety and comfort. Here we’ve compiled where the safest part of the plane is as well as 8 other seat selection tips!

These tips are geared towards economy class. But if you really want to travel in comfort (or first-class), be sure to pick up Journo’s Travel Hacker’s Toolkit to earn points for free first class travel!

Safest Part of the Plane

Choosing your flight seat
According to crash data on Smarter Travel, the back of the plane seems to be the safest. Time reviewed crash data from the FAA in 2015 and found the survival rates from each part of the plane:

  • Back – 68%
  • Middle – 61%
  • Front – 62%

Time searched through the Federal Aviation Administration’s CSRTG Aircraft Accident Database and found that the middle seats in the back of the aircraft had the lowest fatality rate when in an accident.

According to USA Today, a 2008 study from the University of Greenwich found that the middle seats in the back of the plane are the safest, as well as aisle seats, and exit rows. Sitting near an exit can mean a better chance of survival in the event of a crash – simply because you are near an exit!

Although these percentages are all fairly close, it seems the back of the plane has had the highest survival rate. Overall crash rates have significantly decreased over the years, and in the past seven years, according to Smarter Travel, there has been no crash deaths on U.S.-certificated scheduled airlines. ✈️

Flights are safer than ever. It’s important to remember that every accident is different and what can happen to the plane can be very unpredictable. So while many studies and experts say that the back of the plane is the safest, it does not mean that it will be the safest in every situation. Now let’s work on staying comfortable.

Seat Tip: Need more legroom? Exit rows!

where to sit on a plane
Exit rows generally have more legroom because they require more room for exit procedures.

Seat Tip: Need peace and quiet? Avoid bathroom and galley rows.

privacy when flying
If you are seated near a galley or near a bathroom, chances are, you won’t be getting much sleep on this flight! Remember people like to walk around, crew members need to serve guests, and everyone needs to use the restroom sometimes.

Choose bathroom and galley rows if you want to be close to the bathroom, but not for peace and quiet.

Seats that sit in the front of bathrooms might not recline! 😭

If you want to sit near the bathroom, try to sit in the first row in the back half of the plane. That allows easy access to the bathroom in the middle, and those seats will still recline – plus there might be extra legroom too!

If you want the smoothest ride, then sit between the wings. If you sit near the front or the back of the plane, you are more likely to feel the turbulence because you’re further from the plane’s center of gravity.

Seat Tip: Need to leave quickly? Sit towards the front!

flight seat selection
Most planes, with the exception of a few smaller ones, empty from front to back. Check-in at a conference cutting close? Sit towards the front and you will be one of the first off of the plane, cutting some additional time off of your clock.

Seat Tip: Check the seat pitch!

fly comfortable
The seat pitch is the distance between a row of seats, so from the back of one seat, to the back of the next (not just the legroom).

This information will help you when comparing different airlines, as well as Business class to economy class.

Sometimes an extra inch or two can make a world of difference! ✈️

Seat Tip: Take advantage of SeatGuru and Skytrax.


The advantages of checking out SeatGuru and Skytrax are endless.

SeatGuru encourages you to look up your specific flight, to ensure that you receive the proper information about that aircraft. Airlines use different aircraft depending on the flight! But if you have a specific aircraft in mind, you can also browse the library of airlines to find it.

When you choose one airline, you can browse through seats, airplanes, check-in, baggage, and additional information about minors, infants, and pets.

SeatGuru offers bed length and seat width among all airlines, as well as warnings about seats that do not have floor storage, seats close to galleys or close to restrooms.

One thing that I found really awesome: SeatGuru’s comparison charts. Not only can you compare economy and first class, but you can compare short-haul and long haul too.

Even further, these charts list information like video type, laptop power, power type, and whether or not wi-fi is available.

Seat Tip: Book early.

book early
One important thing to remember is the advantage of booking flights early. When you can, the earlier the better – more seat options will be available to you!

Seat Tip: Purchase a Better Seat.


Airlines today are offering economy seats with extra legroom or more space for an additional fee – but they aren’t as expensive or as luxurious as first class.

Keep this in mind when booking – might be worth the extra bucks for those little things!

Seat Tip: When Traveling Alone, Choose the Aisle Seat.

plane seat tips

Anytime I’ve flown alone, I’ve felt so trapped if I’m sitting between two people or against the window (although window views are nice). Especially on longer flights, I like to have the freedom to get up as I please and stretch my legs into the aisle.

This is a personal tip, but I will always recommend an aisle seat – which also works well with quick business trips. Grab your stuff and go! No need to wait for two other people to kick it into high gear. 💼

Dane’s Tip: Get Your Own Row

“When booking seats for two people, always pick a window and aisle (if three seats) closer to the back (use SeatGuru to check). If the plane fills up, middle seats will start to fill from the front to back. If someone sits between you, then trade them and sit together like you would have anyway. This can get you a row to yourself very often.”

Although seat selection is important on the list of things to consider when booking a flight, there are other ways to enhance your flight experience too – from the neck pillow you choose to the books you bring along!

We hope these seat selection tips help you find the best seat for you! And that your next flight is safe, comfortable, and smooth. Did we miss any seat-choosing tips? Leave us a comment below!

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