I recently survived a six-hour flight without being able to recline my seat. I thought to myself, Seriously? What are the chances of this happening again?, referring to another lengthy trip I had flown just months before. And then as I continued to think back on most of my recent flights, I realised that I've had a "broken" seat on multiple occasions — cue the ultimate face-palm moment. I always aim to book the closest seat to the front as possible and usually, the closest available option on Virgin America air crafts is row eight — aka the one in front of the exit row, but also known as the row that doesn't recline.
It makes total sense! Just as you're required to keep your tray tables upright during takeoff and landing, the exit row in particular needs to remain unobstructed for safety. It would only make it more difficult for those passengers to assist in an emergency if the seats in front of them were in the way. If you enjoy neck and back pain, book a seat in that row, by all means.
In addition to the row in front of the exit row, here are a few other sections you should really try to avoid on your next flight.
- The last row: Sure, you're conveniently located near the bathroom — but you're also right next to the bathroom. On top of unpleasant smells, you'll also have to deal with standing passengers waiting for their turn in line. Oh, and your seat doesn't recline, either.
- The exit row: Extra legroom is awesome, but this spot also comes with a couple drawbacks. Depending on your aircraft, your seat's tray table may fold into the armrest, which usually equals a narrower seat. And if your plane has two exit rows, the first row of seats don't recline.
- The bulkhead row: These seats are situated in the first row of the main cabin, behind the wall that separates you from first class. Again, you get to enjoy extra legroom but your seat will most likely be narrower to accommodate the tray table in your arm rest. Plus, you won't be able to stow your personal items beneath the seat in front of you, so you'll have to access the overhead compartment each time you need something.