Idiot’s Guide to Travel: Ranking Airplane Seats

Everything Else

It’s 2022 and commercial air travel has been common for the better part of 70 years already. Despite that fact, 90% of people who choose to take to the skies are still idiots that don’t know how to do it. At least that’s how they make it seem. Whether it be the general lack of spatial awareness, a dearth of common courtesy, or actual inexperience, airports everywhere have become are still a nightmare. This is the first part of what’s sure to be a long series to try and fix the problem. While we’re largely focused on sports and entertainment here at 10K, we still cover all the bases…for the people.

Seats Make or Break Your Travel Day

When anyone is preparing for a big trip there are obvious items that have to be taken into consideration. Location, duration, cost, lodging, and ground transportation are the big ones. Seat selection, however, often gets overlooked.

It might not sound like a big deal, but something as simple as your seat can absolutely make or break your trip. The travel phase will never be the best part of any trip, but it can definitely be the worst. And not in a “this trip was so great the only bad part was leaving” way, either.

There are obviously class-tiers to take into account when talking about seats for travel. As a publication for the common man, by the common man, we’ll be focusing on the main cabin in this instance. The same rules and talking points will apply everywhere, but the lower “class” you go, the more imperative they are to follow. It’s also important to note that this applies to all types of travel, but we’re focusing on planes today.

When choosing seats, there is one thing that should be considered above all else. Most of you would think that it’s comfort, but you’d be wrong. No, what matters more than ANYTHING on an airplane is limiting potential interactions with any other humans, and therefore inconveniences. This, above everything you may have been told to believe, is paramount. If one thing is certain in this world, it’s the fact that everyone is dumb.

Budget Airlines

If you’re still choosing to travel on an airline that doesn’t let you choose your own seat, I’m not sure you should be flying at all. What kind of psychopath just puts their life in the hands of complete strangers? The only people crazier yet are the ones willing to fly with Southwest. No assigned seats and a first-come first-seated policy leads to chaos at the gates that can only be rivaled by Black Friday in the mid-90s. There’s a reason that movie theatres have moved to assigned and predetermined seats. It’s better in every single way and if you disagree, you’ve got nothing between the ears.

Window Seats

As a taller individual, I used to be an aisle guy. No longer will I travel down that dark path. I’ve come to the light of being a window person. You see, at the window, there are only three people that can inconvenience you on a flight. The person in front of you, the person behind you, and the person to your side. In the aisle, you’re leaving yourself subject to the will of the plane.

The obvious perk of flying as a window person is getting the views during takeoff and landing. If you’re around the coast or some big national landmarks, I’ll be the first to admit those can be cool to look at. While that’s all well and good, the real benefit comes from the POWER that wielding the shade holds. YOU decide if the world lives in darkness and when to say, “Let there be light”. But beware…with great power comes great responsibility.

What a Shitty View

Aisle Seats

Like the window seat, the three people directly around you can all still pose a problem. You must also factor in the window seat to the equation as well. If they aren’t in their seat before you, you’ve gotta get up to let ‘em in. If they’ve gotta go the the bathroom during a flight, you have to let them out and then back in. You quickly assess their body type and pray for either ass or crotch based on your analysis. You know how long it takes to pee. If it takes your seatmate longer than a minute or two, you are now cursed with the knowledge of exactly what they did in there too. You’re basically at their service and not even getting paid for it.

And if that wasn’t enough, once you’re in your seat, every person that walks by you now has the potential to bump you. Whether it’s with their hips, butts, breasts, backpacks, luggage or something else entirely, you’re now nothing but an obstacle. A sentient traffic cone.

How bad can it be?

Bad. Very bad. Especially if, God forbid, you get to your seat early and have to play the over/under game on the number of people that have to do the ole “ope, lemme just sneak right past ya” move. Spoiler alert: always take the over. The general public’s clumsiness and lack of spatial awareness is always SHOCKING. The worst part is that you think you’re safe once everyone is seated and you’re in the air, and you’re wrong.

Like window seat person, these bumbling idiots didn’t go to the bathroom before the flight and now they’ll be running up and down the aisle to do that too. God forbid some asshole crop dusts you on the way past because then you’ve got pinkeye to deal with when you land! You’d think that this is where the horrors end, but no. Now it’s time for the in-flight service for snacks and drinks.

It Gets Worse

Picture this. You finally fell asleep after all of the interruptions and your leg slips ever so slightly into the aisle. Say goodbye to whatever integrity your kneecap once had when that sharp ass bev-cart runs directly into it. The pain is immeasurable and only trumped by a razor scooter to the shin. Even if you do manage to keep all your limbs in line, the goddamn light on the cart is sure to wake you up. Every time.

After the cart has come and gone, the horrors are surely finished right? WRONG. Ten minutes later, repeated every twenty minutes for the rest of the flight, the flight attendants will be walking the aisle to collect all the garbage that’s accumulated. Normally, these people are well-seasoned and can avoid waking you as they pass, but here come the other people in your aisle to ruin everything once again. As they clumsily attempt to pass garbage over your lap, you’re almost certain to catch stray crumbs and spills.

For an aisle person, much like a fan of Minnesota sports, the pain never ending.

Middle Seats

Despite all of the downfalls and potential peril of the aisle, the middle seat remains undefeated as the worst of them all. People who willingly CHOOSE to sit in the middle seat should be immediately moved to the no-fly list and watched closely by homeland security. That behavior should be considered pre-crime and pre-emptively punished as such.

Sometimes, you book your travel late and can’t avoid the middle seat because it’s all that’s left. That (along with the exorbitant rates you have to pay for booking last minute) is what we call idiot tax. While you’re waxing poetically about how nice Guantanamo sounds compared to your middle seat, you are entitled to one thing. As a middle-seat prisoner, both armrests belong to you and they are your rightful property. People that don’t understand this or abide by the rule are the wort people on the planet.

Jim Jefferies explains the struggle best


While the rules are meant to be followed to a T, there are obvious caveats and special circumstances to consider during any travel. If you’re traveling with a partner, the middle seat scenario and social implications are voided. If you’re traveling with friends, you can always risk booking one window and one aisle seat. This could come with the hopes that nobody will book the middle, allowing each of you more legroom and another arm rest. Be warned: in doing so, it’s important that both people are aware and agree on rolling the dice to see what fresh hell will be sat between you when your dreams of space and comfort are crushed.

Switching Seats

If you travel enough, there will inevitably be a scenario where someone asks to switch seats for one reason or another. Could be that they just prefer a window or aisle or it could be that they weren’t sat next to their significant other. Regardless of the scenario, and despite the social pressure, you should never do this. Never, that is unless the trade is equal or better for you. It could be a win-win scenario, but I’m BEGGING you not to downgrade for just anyone.

Family Guy nails it, as always
Segura: Wrong take on aisle seats, right take on etiquette

Closing Wisdom

When talking about travel, there are an infinite number of nightmares to cover. This is just the start of trying to educate the masses. If you clicked on this blog and then made it this far, you’re my kind of person. I’ve ranted and raved about what airplane seats for 1600 words and didn’t even touch on everything. Don’t get me started on reclining, the shrinking leg room, or exit rows. We’ll get to that later. Until then, tell me what part of traveling needs to be covered next and drop a horror story to be included. We’re in this together.