Traveling by plane means you will either be assigned a seat or you will choose one yourself if the airline allows.
If you would like to sit by the window you will want to know which are the window seats on a plane.
We look at what the airplane seat numbers and letters mean and explain them to you. This will help you choose the right seat for your trip.
Which Letter Refers To The Window Seat?
When travelling by plane you will notice that the seats are all given letters according to their position. The seat letter is combined with the row number.
This will vary according to the type and size of aircraft you are flying on.
However, as the seats are lettered from left to right across the cabin starting at the window the majority of seats that are assigned the letter A will be a window seat.
The window seat on the other side of the cabin will be assigned a letter depending on the number of seats across the width of the plane.
For larger aircraft there may be ten seats across the airplane divided by two aisles, so a 3 + 4 + 3 configuration.
In these cases the opposite window seat will most likely be K. In case you are confused that it’s K and not J which is the tenth letter of the alphabet, let us explain.
Airlines don’t generally use the letters I, O, Q, S, and Z because they can be confused with numbers or are difficult for dyslexia sufferers to discern.
Airplanes with a 3 + 3 seat configuration will have A and F as the window seats.
Order Of Letters
The order of letters in a seating chart for a plane will go from A at the furthest left.
Each subsequent seat will be assigned the next letter in the alphabet until it gets to the letter I.
Then if there are more seats in the row the designation will jump to J for ease of reading and to avoid confusion.
In airplanes that are very narrow there may be only A and B seats while in larger commercial carriers the letters can go from A to K.
In general the width of the plane will determine the designation of letters to seats.
Where To Find Your Seat Letter?
In order to find your seat which will be printed on your boarding pass you need to know where on the aircraft it will be displayed.
For large planes first find your aisle, as there may be more than one. Then find the correct numbered row and seat letter.
This is displayed underneath the overhead bins. The row number will be in large numbers followed by the seat letters.
Quite often the seat letter will be followed by its location. For example, A will be followed by ‘window’, B by ‘center’ and C by ‘aisle’.
On some carriers the seats themselves will show their letter designation.
All seat numbers refer to the row that your seat is located in. The total number of rows will depend on the size of the aircraft and the class configuration.
For example a two class configuration is a combination of first and business class as well as the larger economy class.
A three class configuration has a separate first and business class and an economy class.
Two Class Configuration
In a two class configuration the first six rows may be allocated to first/business class.
Then separating this from economy class will be storage, lavatories or galleys. These take the next couple of row numbers.
Following this, the economy class or economy plus will take up the subsequent numbers i.e. rows eight, nine, ten, etc…
The row numbers may go up to the mid-twenties or mid-thirties according to the size of the aircraft.
Three Class Configuration
In a three class configuration, first class may occupy the first three rows. This may be followed by a galley, lavatories or storage which will take row four.
Business class will continue from row five to row ten or eleven depending on the size.
Following on from this may be more storage or another galley which will be assigned one, two or three rows.
The economy rows will then follow the subsequent numbers.
If you want to choose your seat on a flight rather than being randomly assigned one you will need to be able to read a seating chart or plan.
These will vary depending on the type of aircraft, so it is important to have the exact seat plan for the plane you will be traveling in.
To understand the concept of a seating plan we first need to look at some of the basics.
Basics Of Airplane Seating Plans
Seating plans will always be laid out facing forward towards the front of the plane. The top of the map represents the front and the bottom is the rear of the aircraft.
They are not to scale so will not give a real life representation of the interior of the plane.
Each seat is typically represented by a single square. So when you see three squares together this indicates three seats next to each other.
Long vertical gaps in the map indicate the aisles, horizontal gaps may be exit rows or bulkheads.
Even though the seating plan shows seats facing forward some may be angled toward the aisle, window or even face backwards.
Galleys, lavatories or storage will be indicated on the maps with a key to identify them. Most will show where the exits and wings are too.
The different layouts will apply to different sized aircraft as well as to the various class configurations.
Many economy and economy plus layouts will be much the same with a 3+3, 2+4+2, 3+3+3 or 3+4+3 configuration.
However, first and business class may look very different.
Airlines try to offer unique services and comfort options to attract more customers and compete with other airlines.
A common configuration for business class is 1+2+1, this means all the seats have aisle access.
There is also a staggered version where rather than being directly behind the seat in front you will be sitting with your feet in line with the seat ahead.
This layout allows everyone to have a seat near a window, with some directly next to the window and the staggered seats near a window.
Seat Selection Tips
The seat you choose will depend on a lot of factors such as if you are traveling alone, with family or young children, whether you are a nervous flyer, or the length of the flight.
For choosing a seat use the seat map of the plane you will be flying on, so you know exactly what you are getting.
Or use an app such as Seat Guru to help you find the best seat.
We hope this guide to window seats on a plane has helped you better understand the configuration of most aircraft and how to locate the seat you want.