Not only is turbulence annoying on a flight, it can be scary too. If you're prone to motion sickness, or just want to avoid spilling coffee in your lap, here's where you should try to sit. Photo by Jeremy Keith.
According to Dr Quay Snyder, the president of the Aviation Medicine Advisory Service, start by picking flights on larger planes that fly at higher altitudes if possible. Otherwise, go for seats that are directly over the wings — usually somewhere between rows 10 and 30. Seats near the nose, and especially the tail, get the most motion. Seats over the wing won't reduce motion entirely, but you'll feel a lot less. Captain Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger agrees, explaining that being above the wings puts you closer to the centre of the plane's mass. Sullenberger also shares a fear-reducing exercise with USA Today that you can try if turbulence gets to you:
The next time you're riding as a passenger in a car, close your eyes and mentally catalogue the frequency and intensity of every noise you hear and vibration you feel. When you do that and become sensitised to what we've all become desensitised to, you realise that most car trips are much bumpier than your average plane ride.
No matter where you sit, though, there's no guarantee you won't feel some turbulence on your next flight. But once you know where to sit and how to mentally prepare yourself for turbulence, you'll be in for a somewhat smoother ride. And if you can secure a seat on the forward part of the wings, you'll get a little peace and quiet too.