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Stick Together! The Best Places to Sit on a Plane When Flying with a Family

little boy on airplane with sleep mask on
Shannon Durso
Written by Shannon Durso

Taking a trip with a family, young children, and/or a large group can get quite stressful. From finding the best flight times, seats together, and agreeing on where to sit on the airplane, it’s safe to say that coordinating is not always as easy as it may seem.

When flying with young children, sometimes you don’t have a choice other than to book the tickets, board your flight, and hope for the best (i.e. a temper-tantrum-free flight!). But before you go ahead and book those tickets there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid having a meltdown yourself.

For a stress-free in-flight experience, we recommend you book your tickets well in advance to have the opportunity to choose your preferred seats all together. And if you’re unsure of where to sit on the plane, don’t fret — we’re here to help! Assuming you’ll be flying on a larger aircraft with seat configurations of 3-3 or 3-3-3, here are our seat recommendations for you and your family.

For the children that are bound to have a loud meltdown:

If you know your child will most definitely have a meltdown mid-flight, then we suggest you sit in the back section, behind the wings of the plane. Being that this area will already be the nosiest from the humming and vibrations from the engines at the wing, the flight attendants chatting, and the bathrooms in the rear, you probably won’t be much of a nuisance to those surrounding you. Oh, and it’s likely that the back won’t fill up completely, so you may even luck out with an extra seat next to you for some more space!

child crying on airplane next to mother

For the children with an occasional tantrum:

Passengers who prefer a quiet space with more room will usually pay more to sit in the very front. So, if you know that your child will probably get cranky but is calm and quiet for the most part, choose a seat more towards the front right before the middle section (mainly to stay away from the passengers who purposely choose the front for a quiet area).

Those closest to the front will usually be the first to board and the first to leave the aircraft. Also, flight attendants usually will serve the front row section before they make their way towards the middle of the aircraft. Depending on your aircraft, bathrooms will almost always be in the back, and most likely in the front as well. Think of it this way: if your seats are towards the front and the bathroom is all the way in the back, you’ll probably benefit from taking your child on a mid-flight stroll.

Note: If you’re a frequent flier with leftover travel miles and you’re planning for a long flight with children, try to book a higher-class seat (depending on the age restrictions in certain areas of the airline you choose). These seats usually offer extra leg room and larger or lay-flat seats.

Seats A, B, C, D, E, or F? Here’s How to Choose:

Whether you think your family should sit towards the front or the back is your choice. As mentioned above, there’s both pros and cons of where you should sit on an aircraft and whichever section you choose to sit, which brings the next question: should you choose the aisle, middle, or window seats and which rows do you choose?

Here’s what to do according to your family size:

You’re Flying with a Family of 2-3…

family sitting together on airplane

For a party of two, your best bet is to book an aisle and a window seat. If the middle seat is booked, there’s always the option to ask the passenger with the assigned middle seat if they’d like the isle or the window. Odds are they’ll be relieved that you asked. And when traveling with a party of three, the answer is simple, book the entire row so no one is left to sit alone (given your aircraft is in a 3-3 seat configuration).

Ready to book your next flight with the family? Find your tickets and choose your seats now! 

You’re Flying with a Family of 4-5…

This can be a tricky one. If you’re traveling with a young cranky child who you believe will kick and cry at some point of the flight, sit your other family members in the row directly in front of you. This way your child is bothering your family member rather than creating a scene where you may have to awkwardly deal with an angry passenger. But, if that’s not the case and you’re traveling with 4 people, sit with one adult in the row and the other in the row across so that you’re all sitting together. For a party of five who likes to occasionally chat during the flight, sit three in a row and two directly behind or in front in the window or aisle seat to easily socialize with each other without bothering the passengers around you.

You’re Flying with a Family of 6 or more…

family boarding airplane

Stay calm! A group this big can become very overwhelming to travel with regardless of your children’s ages. If you’re flying on a larger aircraft with a seat configuration of 3-3 or 3-3-3, look for two empty rows of seats. If you’re traveling with a toddler or infant that may fuss and kick the seat in front of you, have your three other family members fill those seats to avoid passenger complaints. If that’s the case, three seats directly behind and in front of one another is your best bet. And, if you have more than six traveling with you, reserve an aisle seat for an adult to sit across from you — this way no one has to sit alone.

 

Where will you and your family sit on your next flight? Tell us in the comments below!

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About the author

Shannon Durso

Shannon Durso

If she’s not searching for the world's coolest destinations she has yet to explore, you can find her writing content at Fareportal or maybe even drooling over a foodies latest post. Shannon’s a Brooklyn native who enjoys good company, new adventures, and a great laugh!

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