The Best (And Worst) Aeroplane Seats For Sleeping

The Best (and Worst) Aeroplane Seats for Sleeping

Falling asleep on a plane is not easy, but you can do a few things to help the process along. Travel expert John DiScala shares some tips over at Real Simple on how to sleep at 30,000 feet.

Photo by Thomas Widmann/Flickr

The most interesting tip, we thought, was where sleeping is easiest:

The window seat of an exit row [are the best seats in coach for catching some Z's] — as long as there isn't an emergency. You won't be disturbed when your seatmates get up, you can rest your head on the window, and with the extra legroom you can use your carry-on as a footrest. The worst place for sleeping is near the bathrooms or flight attendant stations, since people tend to hang out there. If you know in advance that you'll want to sleep, go online the day of the flight to see if you can change your seat to an empty row. That's the holy grail. You have a better shot if you're flying at an unpopular time — say, on a Tuesday or Wednesday night.

Your mileage may vary (and it may sometimes cost extra to get the good seats with more room), but if you have a lot of trouble napping on a flight, it might be worth the trouble.

Hit the link below for four more aeroplane sleeping tips.

How to Sleep on a Plane [Real Simple]


    lol. Just read this after flying from Munich to Singapore. 12hrs at the very back row, in the middle. Yes it was the congregation spot. Not a single wink slept. Here's to my 7hr flight back to OZ...Zombified.

    If you're cursed to be 6'3, then nowhere on the plane (short of selling a kidney to fly business) is good for sleeping.

    The seats in front of the lavatory or a bulkhead often do not recline. They are the worst seats on the plane for anything, especially if the person in front wants to recline.

    on a trip from Perth to Melbourne during the night, a baby cried the whole way.
    nothing anyone can do.

      A couple of pairs of squidgy ear plugs. I did that run ever fortnight on the red eye for four months!


        Yeah, but how do you get the baby to drink it without the parents catching you?

    If travelling with a friend on a plane with 3-seat rows, always book the window and aisle seats. No one wants to book a single seat between two strangers. If the plane's not full, you stand a good chance of having a spare seat between you. If someone does book that seat, just offer them the aisle seat, they'll take it.

    I was very lucky on a recent Emirates flight to the UK. It was fairly empty so was given an empty exit row of 3 seats. Unfortunately those arm rests don't fold up as they hold the TV, but there were plenty of empty middle rows with 4 seats. So I had the best of both worlds - loads of leg room when I was awake and a whole row to move to and stretch out on when I wanted to sleep. If only every flight was the same :(

    The worst place (apart from being right in front of the toilets) to be is right in front of the exit row, or in the first exit row of two. The seats don't recline.

    The best way to get a good number of z's on an international flight is to get up as soon as the fasten seatbelt sign turns off and walk through the plane until you find a row of seats that are vacant. Take the seat seat in the middle. When they turn the lights off throw the armrests up and sleep across them like a baby.

    Always pack earplugs or noise cancelling headphones and an iPod. It's easy to not have babies bother you.

    Drink yourself to sleep on spirits. Drink until they cut you off. Don't drink wine to get to sleep, there's nothing worse than waking up hungover with 3 hours left in the trip.

    Always be nice to your cabin crew.

    Finally, the best way to get a good night's sleep is to pay two to three times as much for your fare and get one of those nice seats at the front of the plane, you'll find traveling there and back is one of the best parts of your holiday, not the worst.

    A few years of needing to wake up early to get to uni via public transport has conditioned me to be able to sleep sitting up. It also helps that a lot of the airline headrests have sides you can tilt up so you hopefully don't do the embarrassing thing of leaning onto the person next to you.

    I find the best combination of sound isolation is to put on a pair of ear plugs, put on some noise cancelling headphones, crank the volume up. I did that on a flight where there was a 2 year old right next to me and didn't hear him at all. Granted, in retrospect, he could have also just been a well behaved two year old that hardly cried.

    But really, am I the only one who feels more compelled to consume the movies and videos on offer rather than get some sleep?

    Drink yourself to sleep on spirits. Drink until they cut you off. Don't drink wine to get to sleep, there's nothing worse than waking up hungover with 3 hours left in the trip.
    Because hard spirits don't give you hangovers whereas wine somehow does?

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