Experts reveal the best plane seats to avoid turbulence

While frequent flyers may prefer aisle, middle, or window seats, their first choice might not be the best option for a bumpy flight.

In late May 2024, a passenger aboard the Boeing 777 from London’s Heathrow Airport to Singapore tragically died of a heart attack after experiencing 19 seconds of extreme turbulence. Geoff Kitchen, the 73-year-old British man who passed away, was aboard the Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 when the plane dropped 178 feet in 4.6 seconds. Kitchen was the only passenger who died, but others, including the crew members, were seriously injured on the 21 May morning flight.

Since the uptick in frightening turbulence episodes, many aviation experts have spoken out, sharing safety protocols and the best seats for a rocky flight.

“Often the ride in the back of the airplane feels less stable but depending on the movement of the air, the ride may feel different,” American Airlines Captain Dennis Tajer explained to Fox Business.

“The wings are more closely located to the center of gravity of the airplane,” he said in the 2 June article. “Therefore, the ride while sitting near the wings may feel less turbulent than near the tail of the aircraft where vertical input is felt the most.”

That said, keeping your seatbelt buckled is the safest decision a passenger can make, according to Tajer. “Having your seat belt on will be the difference between safety or injury,” he added.

However, for those interested in the best seating, David Slotnick, senior aviation business reporter for The Points Guy, noted that these tips were mainly for situations of mild turbulence.

“Difference is mostly for more mild turbulence, and can be helpful if you get anxious or motion sickness,” he told Fox Business.

Aside from Tajer and Slotnick, one pilot on TikTok has opened up about his recommendations for where to sit if you’re worried about turbulence.

In a May 2023 post, pilot Jimmy Nicholson spoke to his followers, suggesting they steer clear of the back of the plane.

“The front of the aircraft, you’re going to experience less turbulence. The back, it’s going to be a little bit more bumpy,” he proclaimed. “The rear of the aircraft will swing more. The front will swing less.”

“Sit up front of the aircraft,” Nicholson said, speaking directly to anyone who feels sick on planes.

He added: “If you do feel sick when you’re flying, look for a visual reference. So, look outside the window and stare at the horizon.”

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