Travel Experts Gave Us Their Tips For Plane Seating Hacks, And I'm Going To Use This For The Rest Of My Life

Passengers seated inside an aircraft cabin with overhead screens and aisle visible
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Choosing your plane seat when you book a flight can sometimes feel like a crapshoot.

Of course, we’d all love to enjoy the extra legroom and amenities that come with business class or other upgraded sections, but the reality is that most travelers are trying to stick to a budget. So which of the many economy cabin seats on a plane makes for the best choice?

HuffPost asked travel experts to share which seat they usually opt for when flying. Keep scrolling for their best practices.

For sleep, the window is king.

Woman looking out the window of an airplane, reflecting
Colton Stiffler / Getty Images

“I always book a window seat on flights,” said Gabby Beckford, the founder of travel site Packs Light. “No one likes the middle seat for obvious reasons, and the window allows me to entertain myself and a better opportunity to sleep.”

Indeed, sitting in the window seat means that you can lean your head against the wall to rest, and you won’t be bothered by row mates getting up to use the bathroom.

“I’ll opt for a window if I know the flight path will offer great views,” said travel blogger Esther Susag.

Basically, if you’ll be flying over the Grand Canyon or landing in the Maldives, you might want a chance to marvel at the sights without craning your neck.

If you hate turbulence, consider the wings.

Airplane wing over clouds with mountains in the distance, viewed from window
Janice Chen / Getty Images

There are other advantages to window seats, especially if they’re over the wings.

“As someone with a fear of flying, I always prefer the window seat above the wings,” said travel blogger Sean Lau. “I recently learned that this spot is usually the smoothest due to its proximity to the plane’s center of gravity. Being able to manage the window shade and having the opportunity to glance outside for reassurance comforts me.”

Try to sit as close to the front as possible.

Two people reading a book and using a tablet while seated next to an airplane window
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“I try to sit as forward in the plane as possible so that I can find room for my carry-on in the overhead bin,” Beckford said. “I’m often carry-on-only, and don’t want to be forced to check my bag.”

The closer you are to the front of the plane, the less time it takes to board and deplane as well.

“Being near the front means deplaning more quickly than other passengers, which can be a lifesaver during quick connections,” noted Eric Rosen, the director of travel content at the website The Points Guy.

However, there is one thing to keep in mind about opting for the front row of a plane or section.

“If you are sitting in the first row behind a wall, you will have to place your bag in the overhead bin,” said Adam Duckworth, the president and founder of the travel agency Travelmation. “Some people do not like giving up their things, so don’t book this seat if that’s you.”

Or at least avoid the last rows.

Two men walking in an airport terminal with carry-on luggage, a plane taking off outside the window
Jacob Wackerhausen / Getty Images

Even if you can’t book a seat close to the front, it’s worth trying to avoid the last few rows of the plane when possible.

“I avoid the last couple of rows on the plane, as it offers the roughest ride,” Lau said. “You’ll also have to deal with noise from the passengers using the lavatory. The last row on the plane may not always recline.”

For stretching or moving, book an aisle seat.

Rows of empty airplane seats with folded tray tables, highlighting travel comfort
Urbazon / Getty Images

“For long flights, I prefer aisle seats for several reasons,” said Jessica van Dop DeJesus, the founder and editor at The Dining Traveler. “First, it’s easier to deplane without having to wait for several people. Second, it gives me easier access to the overhead bin. And third, it’s easier to get up to stretch my legs and go to the bathroom.”

If you’re someone who likes to stand up and stretch, or has to use the lavatory somewhat often, the aisle seat will allow you to do that without worrying about disturbing your fellow passengers.

There are ways to get out of your middle seat.

Passengers boarding an airplane, one in a red dress, with overhead bins open
Ioanna_alexa / Getty Images

If you had to book at the last minute and wind up with a middle seat, just know that there might be a way to get out of it.

“Like most people, I avoid the middle seats at all costs unless it’s the only option left when booking late,” Susag said. “But even then, when I get to the gate, I will always as the desk clerk if there are any other openings besides my middle seat. You just never know unless you ask.”

You might also wind up in the middle between a couple traveling together. While many might want to stick to their preferred window and aisle seats, it doesn’t hurt to offer to swap so that they can sit next to each other.

Avoid the bathroom areas.

Airplane cabin with seatback pocket containing literature, curtain partially drawn, no persons visible
Thamkc / Getty Images

“I know a ton of people who avoid sitting near a restroom for obvious reasons but also because it’s the area where people tend to gather,” Duckworth said.

It’s not always just the last rows that are near bathrooms, especially on larger planes. So when you select your seat on the map, pay attention to where all of the lavatories are located.

“Some planes have them in their midsections,” Rosen said. “I try to avoid locations by the lavatories at all costs so I’m not bothered by noise, foot traffic or smells.”

Choose exit row seats wisely. 

View down an airplane aisle with passengers seated on either side, facing forward
Whpics / Getty Images

Many travelers try to choose seats in exit rows when they fly because there’s often additional room in those areas. But this option can have a drawback as well.

“If you are in the main cabin but prefer extra space, then consider getting the exit row — but remember that not all exit row seats will recline,” Duckworth said.

Ultimately, every air passenger has different needs when it comes to seat choices. So the next time you fly, assess what you prefer and keep these expert tips in mind to make the best selection for you.This post originally appeared on HuffPost.