What Are The Pros And Cons Of Sitting At The Back Of A Plane?

Sitting at the back of an aircraft is widely associated with excessive turbulence and bathroom odors, so it’s not surprising that most people instinctively choose to avoid back row seats on a flight. 

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Sitting At The Back Of A Plane?

However, being seated at the back of a plane also has some advantages, and depending on your priorities, these pros may actually outweigh the cons. 

We’re going to be outlining the pros and cons of sitting at the back of a plane today. There are more than you might have anticipated, so buckle up! 

The Pros Of Sitting At The Back Of A Plane 

No Seats Behind You 

One thing we absolutely love about sitting right at the back of the plane is that nobody can sit behind you. 

If you’ve ever had the experience of sitting through a flight with a child kicking the back of your seat for hours on end, you’ll know how much of a relief it is not to have to worry about it. 

The lack of people seated behind you will also eliminate noise from that direction, so if you like to have peace and quiet to nap or read during your flight, sitting at the back might be a good idea.

Less Demand For Seats 

In addition to not having other passengers seated behind you, the general distaste for the back row of seats on a plane means you’re also less likely to have people sitting next to you. 

Ever had that awkward moment when you accidentally bump elbows with the person in the seat next to you?

What about having to get out of your seat (or asking someone else to leave their seat) when someone needs the bathroom? 

Well, when you sit in the back row, these uncomfortable and inconvenient situations are less likely to happen due to the lack of demand for these seats. 

Closer To The Bathrooms 

There are a couple of drawbacks to being sat near the bathrooms on a plane, which we’ll get into later. 

However, the obvious advantage to being seated closer to the bathrooms is that you’ll always be first in line, so when nature calls, you won’t have to stand outside for ten minutes waiting for other passengers to finish their business. 

If conditions are turbulent on the day of your flight, you’re also likely to appreciate not having to walk quite as far to the bathroom when you need it. 

Chance Of Being Upgraded 

Not many people know this, and airlines try to keep this under wraps to avoid passengers swarming to the back seats on every flight.

However, it turns out that if you sit in the back row of a plane, you may have a chance of being upgraded free of charge. 

The reason for this is that the tail end of an aircraft tends to be heavier, so airline employees will usually move people from this area of the plane first to balance out the airplane.

If this happens to you, you have a chance of being moved to first class without having to pay for the upgrade. Of course, this doesn’t happen on a frequent basis, but it’s worth a shot!

Safer In An Accident 

This is another lesser-known reason to sit at the back of the plane, and again, this one is usually kept quiet to avoid a disproportionate demand for back row seats. 

Reports conducted after plane crashes have yielded interesting statistics showing that the front of the plane tends to sustain much more damage than the back.

This is partly because there is more protective construction at the back of the plane to ensure that the black box doesn’t get damaged in an accident. 

So, in the extremely rare event that you’re involved in a plane crash, you’ll be much better off if you’re sitting at the back. 

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Sitting At The Back Of A Plane?

The Cons Of Sitting At The Back Of A Plane 

More Turbulence 

One of the main reasons most people don’t like to sit at the back of an airplane is that turbulence tends to be felt more in this area due to the positioning of the average plane’s center of gravity (it’s not the midpoint, as you might expect). 

Sure, some people find aircraft turbulence to be exhilarating, but reaching for the sick bags is a more common response. 

Engine Noise 

In addition to turbulence, passengers sitting at the back of the aircraft are subjected to more engine noise. 

You’ll usually be able to hear the engine from wherever you’re seated on the plane, but because the engine is closer to the back of the plane, the back row seats are noisiest. 

If you were planning to sleep on your long-haul flight, sitting at the back of the plane probably isn’t the best idea for this reason. 

No Reclining 

It’s no secret that sitting at the back of the plane means you won’t be able to recline your seat, which is partly why so many people choose to avoid these seats. 

If your flight is only a short one, being forced to sit upright the whole time might not be that big of a deal, but if you’re going to be confined to your seat for hours, you’ll probably want to sit back and relax. 

Bathroom Odors And Noises 

We mentioned earlier that sitting at the back of the plane means you get to be closer to the bathroom.

While it’s true that this minimizes time spent standing in line, it also means you’ll probably bear witness to some less than delightful noises and smells. 

Admittedly, the noise issue can be fixed with some earphones or plugs, but the smell towards the end of the flight is reason enough to avoid the back seats for many people. 

Served Last For Food And Drinks 

Since the food and drinks cart usually makes its way from the front of the plane to the back, being seated at the back of the plane often means that the hot food options are cold or sold out by the time they reach you. 

If your flight is just one leg of a long journey, having to wait a long while for your food and beverages can also be a frustrating and hanger-inducing experience. 


This is another point that ties into the proximity of the plane’s back seats to the bathroom. 

Although you yourself will probably not have to wait in line for the restroom, you may have to contend with other people coming from the front of the plane to use the facilities.

This may disturb your peace and quiet during your flight. 


Despite the back seats of planes being so unpopular, as you can see, there are almost as many pros to sitting at the back of a plane as there are cons. 

If you want to recline and hate turbulence, noise, bad smells, or waiting for food, you will probably want to avoid the back row seats.

However, if you want some peace and quiet, easy bathroom access, a chance to be upgraded, and extra peace of mind regarding the possibility of an accident, the back row seats can be ideal. 

Jodie Price
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