The logic of sitting at the back.

6 replies


Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,058

The logic of sitting at the back.

When flying Economy, what are people's thoughts about flying in the last few rows (but not the last row on account of the poor recline)? The perceived knowledge, supported through seat allocation by airlines, is that the first few rows are "better". Therefore they are allocated to elite frequent flyers.

The only benefit, to me however seems to be:

1) Earlier disembarkation

2) As such presumably, one is further up the queue at immigration or at the taxi ranks (for domestic flights, where there is no immigration controls)

3) Being served food & drink earlier - particularly helpful for short flights.

On the other hand, sitting at the back:

1) Easier access to crew during the flights. The tend to sit at the back and this is particularly handy if you want a snack but don't feel comfortable pressing the bell (I don't really like doing that - this is not Downton Abbey)

2) If you're not too close to the toilets, it actually feels quite cosy and you're not disturbed too much.

3) Screaming infants tend not to be at the back of the plane thanks to the moronic design of the cabin.

4) You're one the last few to be served a meal, which is fantastic if you've stuffed your face in the lounge and happy to wait.

5) The only drawback is the queue for immigration and customs. But if you have to wait for your checked luggage to appear anyway and if you have access to the automatic immigration clearance for countries like Australia, UK, US, Singapore etc. etc this might not be too much of a concern.

What are your thoughts?



Member since 10 Oct 2013

Total posts 80

if flying in economy i always try to get the back for all your wonderful reasons TRB - i also like the fact that usually you can get bin space too!


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 25 May 2012

Total posts 356

Due to the curves of the 747 fuselage, the seat configuration at the back of economy tapers from 3-4-3 to 2-4-2 for the last 3-4 rows with a sizeable gap next the the window seats. This is another advantage.



Member since 12 Apr 2013

Total posts 870

I avoid last rows at all cost. Simple reason – in case of turbulence tail shaken the most. I flown once Los Angeles to Toronto in last row and there was very mild turbulence, if I remember correctly captain did not even switched on seatbelts. And it was ugly to the point that one cannot eat comfortably. IMHO the very best seats those that closest to centre of gravity of aircraft and it means above the wings where only severe turbulence will be noticeable. For this reason I choose very last seats in business if I can. Only negatives sitting above the wing is restrictive view, but if you not “window” person (I actually "window" one) it does not really matter.


Member since 12 Jun 2013

Total posts 216

Back of the bus generally has more engine noise. I think it's less of a factor on newer planes though. 


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 27 Jan 2015

Total posts 25

I tend to gravitate towards closer to the front for long haul flights, mainly due to engine noise. That being said, newer planes and a good set of noise cancelling headphones seem to make it not such a bad idea. Particularly in aircraft where the cabin narrows to give your own little personal space when travelling with someone.

Air NZ has the best of both worlds on their 777-300. They have 2 rows of 2 seats on each side of the front of the economy cabin. They cost extra, but perfect seats in my opinion if you didnt manage to win an upgrade to premium economy with their bid system


Member since 03 Feb 2014

Total posts 2

@Peter's reason is the main driver for my seating preferences. I usually fly economy and I value window seats with only 1 seat next to them, like the last few rows of a 747. As for noise / engine noise, my Bose QC20i headphones takes care of that for me, and I'm totally ok with turbulence, too.

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