It’s one of those questions that people answer without skipping a beat – “where do you prefer to sit on airplane?”
Regular travellers know instantly – you’re either a window seat person or an aisle seat person (no-one is a middle seat person, that’s just really weird). People tend to be more certain of this question than anything else in day-to-day life. Consider it in the same bracket of whether you like pineapple on a pizza or your long-held opinion on Marmite – people just know and they’re more than happy to explain.
For window people it is all about comfort. Here you can relax into the curvature of the fuselage and try to get some sleep or simply gaze out on to the landscape below. You are not bothered by anyone; you become the master of your own domain and even have that sense of power that you can annoy other passengers when you need to use the toilet.
At the other end of the scale, there are the aisle people. This is all about convenience. Need to pop to the toilet? No problem. Fancy a drink from the bar? Don’t worry I’ll get that for you. Extra legroom you say? We’re all winning here. However, there is the caveat that you could receive a shopping trolley to the knee and then there are those pesky window and middle seat people wanting to get out.
Evidently, there are pros and cons to your decision (except for being in the middle when there are just cons). However, did you know there is a modicum of science behind your decision?
In an interview with Telegraph Travel, Dr Becky Spelman, chief psychologist at Harley Street’s Private Therapy Clinic, explained that window seat people like to be in control and take an “every man for themselves attitude towards life”. When it came to aisle people, the expert explained that they seemed to be less irritable and more considerate of others.
It is a view echoed by behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings, who told the newspaper: “Champions of the window seat tend to be more selfish. As well as less anxious, seasoned flyers who are more confident in disturbing others.
“Aisle passengers are often more sociable and definitely more amenable as people. They are also more likely to be restless flyers and less adept at sleeping on planes.”
So which is the most popular option? A 2014 study by Expedia revealed there is not much in it with 55% of their customers preferring the window, compared to 45% to the aisle. While later research revealed that only 34% of passengers would be willing to pay extra to ensure they secured a window seat.
This followed easyJet’s survey which highlighted that seat 7F was the airline’s most in-demand seat among Europe fliers. However, the company believed that this choice was down to the proximity to the exit making it a breeze for disembarking.
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