Best Seat in the Plane

A friend of mine has very definite seat requirements when she flies commercially. A nervous flyer, she wants to know which seats offer the best chance of survival in an airplane crash. She also wants easy access to the lavatory and hates the window seat because it reminds her that she’s 35,000 feet above the ground.

Most of us have airplane seat preferences, but it’s usually a crapshoot for getting what you want beyond the obvious choice of window or aisle seat. For instance, how do you know on any given type of airplane which seats offer the most legroom, seat width, or seat pitch?

There’s a new Web site that will give you all that information, and for free. At, you can get ratings for every seat on the airplane. It breaks down each type of plane flown by major International and American airlines, including Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Continental Airlines, American Airlines, and many, many more. The site has detailed seating plans for each aircraft, and shows which seats are in business/first class and which are in economy/coach. You can also see where the emergency exits are located (my friend’s favorite place to sit) and where the food galleys are stored.

The seat ratings are based on feedback provided by passengers. The seat scores go from one to ten, with ten being the best. If you’re more of a glass is half empty kind of person, you can also get the worst seat ratings for an aircraft.

Which seats of a 737-800 are the worst? Answer: every seat in the last row. I suppose that makes sense, if you consider that in a massive-sized airplane, being in the last row means being the last one to deplane, and of course the last one to be served, which means getting your meal served last. Of course, that part may not be any worse than getting served first, unless you actually enjoy eating airplane food.

About the only question the site doesn’t answer is, How do I know which seat is the furthest away from the crying baby?