I despise window seats on airplanes. 

Windows seats are highly coveted because they allow passengers to peep outside and admire the ground below from 30,000 feet. They provide an escape from the constant engine roar and crying babies. And, you have full control over the window shade, so if you want to open it and blind passengers trying to sleep, you can. 

But beyond the psychological relief and tyrannical power it provides, a window seat is nothing more than a trap. Imagine this scenario: You’re on a 14-hour flight. Four hours in, you have to go to the restroom. You’re in a window seat, and the passengers next to you are asleep. Now, if you’re shy like me, you’d rather try to hold it in than wake up two people, who may or may not be grumpy at you for disturbing them. 

This was how my first time flying alone went. I was only able to muster up the courage to wake them up to use the restroom once during the whole flight. And that still haunts me. 

Since then, I have always chosen aisle seats. Want to stretch your legs? Aisle seats allow you to extend at least one leg as far as you like into the aisle. Want to grab stuff from your carry-on luggage? You can access the overhead bin without disturbing anyone, and take as much time as you want because no one will be waiting for you to come back before they doze off again. 

But an aisle seat really starts looking like an attractive option when nature has you on speed dial. Airplanes will usually have lights signaling when a restroom is vacant. From the aisle seat, I can always dart off and seize the opportunity before another passenger does. If I were on the window seat, by the time my fellow passengers unplugged their headsets and got out of their blankets, the light would have gone back to red. The only other option would be to go wait by the restroom door. But who wants to do that? The same issue occurs when I want to stretch. Remaining seated for 14 hours will get you sore in parts of your body you never knew could get sore. You simply have to get up and move around. 

The window seat is also a pain during landing. I either have to remain seated or stand hunched until the aisle traffic clears up and my adjacent passengers move away. Again, an aisle seat solves this issue. As soon as the seatbelt signs go off, I can just stand up, grab my hand luggage, and assert myself in the aisle. I can disembark faster and have better chances of catching that connecting flight if I’m dealing with tight transit times.

Of course, some people will still prefer a window seat despite these issues. I cannot convince them otherwise. But to me, a hassle-free trip is much more important than watching the fucking sunset from a tiny window.

Tagged: airplanes


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