Here are the seats you should stay away from every time you travel:
The Seat At the Back of Any Section
Seats at the back of a section—those usually found just in front of a bank of lavatories or a galley—are the absolute best if you refuse to recline on principle, truly can’t stand having your seat kicked by the person in back of you, or if you’re simply an aficionado of discomfort. For the rest of us, these seats should be avoided whenever possible.
The Seat Next to the Main Exit Door
If legroom is your only consideration, then this might be the seat for you. But if you’re an average-height person, you may want to question the common wisdom that the seats next to the main exit door are prime real estate. Why? You’ll be giving up your arm’s-reach stowage (no seat in front of you means no under-seat storage, so you’ll need to put everything in the overhead bins during take-off and landing). You’ll also come up against‐ literally—the reduced seat width that comes with the solid metal armrests needed to stow tray tables. And you will likely remain chilly for the length of the flight, since the air by the door is colder, presumably because the door has inner mechanical workings instead of insulation.
The Broken Seat
Fly enough and you’ll eventually end up in a broken seat. Maybe the seat leans at a weird angle. Or it jiggles loosely in its bolts. Perhaps the recline mechanism is jammed. Or, as seems to happen far more often than it should, the headphone jack or the seatback screen is on the fritz. Of all the bad seats to get, this one might be the true worst because it’s the one you can’t plan for. In the best-case scenario, you can draw attention to it and be reseated, but it’s our experience that broken seats and full flights go hand in hand.
The Seat Near the Bathroom
Questionable aromas aside, the seats closest to the lavatories are still among the worst in the cabin. That’s because there’s nearly always a line for the bathroom, and there’s something about being in line for the bathroom that seems to make airplane passengers take leave of their basic manners. Expect to be treated to a constant stream of passengers steadying themselves on your seatback, jiggling it back and forth—because of turbulence or simply because they’re in the middle of some complicated hamstring stretch. Prepare for getting various body parts smooshed into your shoulder as people try to accommodate two-way traffic in the aisle. And let’s not forget all the projecting-over-the-engine-noise conversations you’ll be treated to while trying to sleep.
The Last Row
Sit in the last row of a plane and you’ll likely be treated to a custom blend of lavatory aromas, seats that don’t recline, and a constant crowd of impatient bathroom aspirants waiting their turns. And when it’s time to disembark, here’s a tip: Don’t bother getting up for at least 10 minutes after the seat belt sign dings off. By the time the aisle is clear for you to go, it will just be you and the cleaning crew.
Seats Between Different Configurations
You should be wary of being in that first row when a plane goes from four to three seats per row, or three to two. When a configuration switches to adapt to the tapering of the plane, legroom gets complicated since the optimal leg-stretch zone will be occupied by the seat anchors. Not only does it mean you may encroach on your neighbor’s space to stow and retrieve items placed under the seat, but it can lead to some pretty significant body aches if you’re twisting to reach your allotted leg room.
The Dreaded Middle Seat
The true mush-pot in the seat assignment game of duck-duck-goose. On non-assignment airlines like Southwest, you can see the panic in the eyes of people in later boarding groups as they search for a seat—any seat—that’s not sandwiched between two people. On airlines with seat assignments, dreaded middle seats are always the last to be claimed, meaning the later you book, the more likely you are to have to resign yourself to battling your window and aisle seatmates for the extra few centimeters that armrest domination secures.
Based on a Smarter Travel article about seat booking strategy.