When you're on a long and uncomfortable flight, you want your pillow, you want your blanket, you want your ridiculously overpriced and impossibly tiny cup of wine. Similar to how we debate the safest place to sit on a plane, some flight attendants argue there's a certain place where you should sit on a plane for the best service — and it'll probably surprise you.
We tend to think the front of the plane is the best place to sit. You're far from the toilets; you get to exit the plane first; and you get served first (and thus are likelier to get your preferred snack or meal option) — that should be ideal, right? Wrong, according to flight attendant Annie Kingston, in an article she wrote for Oyster.com. Instead, Kingston says if you're sitting in the back, attendants know you'll get the best service. Here's why:
We like to avoid responding to call bells from the front of the plane because answering one means potentially flaunting whatever item the passenger has requested to everyone else along the way.
This can become an issue because planes often don't have enough food, drinks, or supplies; showing off that $8 Dixie cup of wine as you bring it to a passenger sitting in the front of the plane could spark drama with other passengers, if they decide they want some of their own.
If you're bringing it to someone in the back, however, it's easy to sneak it to them without anyone else seeing.
So, you may want to consider making peace with whatever foul smells and suspicious noises come from the airplane lavatory if you want to increase the odds of scoring an extra pack of those delicious ginger cookies you love so much.
That's not the only insight Kingston provided when it comes to having a better flight. She also revealed the best way to avoid babies on planes. Don't get me wrong: people love babies. People adore babies. We should all cut parents traveling with young children a little bit of slack. But nobody, nobody, wants to sit next to a screaming child for hours on end. Kingston says to steer clear of the partitions if this is of concern to you: "These partitions, which go by the technical name 'bulkheads,' are the only places on an aircraft where a parent can safely secure a baby's bassinet — and are, therefore, where most children under one year old will be situated."
While receiving better service and having a quiet flight are of importance to some of us, others are so terrified of flying that we just want to feel safer.
Sure enough, research has looked into that, as well; TIME released a report after looking at flight accidents across the last 35 years, concluding that the safest place to sit on a plane is the middle seats in the back row. In other words, the worst seats ever. This is the lose-lose-lose of airplane seating: you can't look out the window, you don't have access to the aisle, and you'll be privy to literally every passenger's bathroom tendencies.
But you'll get VIP service from the flight attendants and might be OK if you fly into a UFO or something, so, there's that.
Now, what if you're looking for the smoothest ride, perhaps because you tend to battle nauseating airsickness? If this is the case, aim for a seat near the wing. These tend to offer the smoother ride because these seats are nearest to the plane's lift and center of gravity. Because, at this spot, forces are pushing equally up and down on the plane, you're most likely to avoid stomach-lurching turbulence.
Maybe you don't care about your seat at all. Maybe you don't eat airplane snacks or mind loud children or get airsick. If that's your case, the advice is simple: find an empty seat, pray the person next to you remembered to put on deodorant, and have a fantastic flight.