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Airplane hacks for the best sleep in economy class

An airplane’s restrictive leg room and upright seats in economy class can make it hard to sleep on a flight.

For those who can’t afford the luxury of the full-reclining beds in first class, a stiff neck and cramped leg are all too familiar.

But there may be certain spots in economy that make for the best shuteye. 

A luxury aircraft interior specialist told Daily Mail Online his favorite areas of the plane for the most comfortable flight.

If you can’t afford the luxury of first class, sitting near the front of the plane and avoiding the middle seat offers the best chance for a smooth ride, according to an aircraft interior specialist

Ron Soret, Vice President of AERIA Luxury Interiors in San Antonio, Texas, suggests that it is important to pick your seats ahead of time. 

Leaving it up to chance can put you in the most restrictive, noisiest and shakiest part of the plane. 

Sit near the front of the plane 

When selecting seats, choosing a seat near the front of the plane will offer a smoother ride.

Soret said: ‘The front part of the cabin is typically the most comfortable. Turbulence will be felt throughout the airplane but is milder in the forward part.’ 

The wings keep the plane balanced, whereas the tail of the plane is more likely to bob.

So seats anywhere in line with the wings or in front of them will experience the least amount of turbulence.

Soret also added the forward part of the cabin is the quietest. 

‘Areas aft (near the back) of the engine exhaust are the noisier part of the cabin,’ he said.

Since the back of airplanes tends to be where the bathrooms are, that may also make it the loudest area.

Do not choose the middle seat

When choosing the exact seat, there is only one that you want to avoid – the middle seat. 


While it isn’t possible to avoid any chances of catching germs on an airplane, you can still help protect yourself by avoiding or sanitizing certain areas.

  • Toilet flush button 
  • Tray table
  • Seat belt buckle 
  • Overhead air vent 

These areas were found to contain between 230 and 2,155 colony-forming units (CFU) per square inch.

Both the window and aisle seats have their pros and cons. 

For Soret, he prefers the aisle seat for optimizing leg room and having easy access to the overhead compartments.

But sitting on the aisle comes with the obligation of constantly getting up when fellow passengers in the row have to use the bathroom.

That can come as an unpleasant wake up call if you’ve finally found the perfect position for sleep. 

Those who prefer the window seat have the luxury of leaning against the window as they rest. 

In addition, everyone else in the row is at the window passenger’s beck and call when they need to get up.

Optimize legroom  

Legrooms on airplanes vary from 28 to 34 inches in economy class with 31 to 32 inches being average. 

Soret’s favorite area for the most legroom is the bulkhead seats or first row with just a wall in front of you.

If that isn’t enough, he suggests optimizing leg room by spending a little more for an economy-plus seat that offers extra space.

Control the temperature  

Temperatures in the cabin are maintained between 68 to 73 degrees, which Soret said is similar to that of your home to maximize comfortability. 

Though the flight crew controls the environmental control system, the overhead vents are there for your convenience if the temperature is too warm.

And if you’re too cold, many flights offer blankets and pillows.

If you do get stuck in the middle seat, in the last row of the plane that doesn’t recline, bringing your own pillow, blanket and headphones may be the best way to block out noise and find comfort for getting some rest during your flight.