Does choosing a window seat make you a selfish person?

Like all great conflicts in history there is no middle ground. In this case, there’s only a middle seat- and it’s safe to say that no one (in their right mind) would ever want that. Window vs. Aisle is a question as old as flying time and people get surprisingly worked up about it. A recent Telegraph article even alleged that window seat people are selfish. Let’s take a closer look…

By The Numbers

An Expedia study found that 55% of passengers preferred window seats to aisle seats, whereas a Quartz survey found it was almost dead even, with just a 1% tip in the window seats favor- and data to suggest more frequent travelers prefer aisles, oddly. Airlines say it’s about even as well. Interestingly, the same Expedia study cited that 35% of passengers were willing to pay to reserve a window, whereas only 15% were willing to pay for an aisle seat.

Arguments For And Against Window Seating

As window seat fans ourselves, we’re biased here. We enjoy the window seat because.

  1. views make the experience feel less crowded, tranquil.
  2. the window and fuselage make a nice surface to rest against for sleeping.
  3. it’s not the middle seat.
  4. in control, no one climbing across you.

Against: have to climb over people, slower to get off the plane.

Arguments For And Against Aisle Seating

Aisle seating certainly has it’s advantages and we don’t hold a grudge, we just don’t agree.

  1. direct access to aisle and restrooms. Don’t need to step over people.
  2. quicker to get off the plane
  3. often served more promptly.
  4. not the middle seat.

Against: people climbing over you, not in control of your own sleep.

Science Says Window Seat People Are Selfish

Behavioral Scientist Dr. Becky Spelman believes there’s far more to your seat choice than which side you prefer to sleep on. Spelman equates the choice on a deeper, psychological level to being passive or aggressive. She claims window seat people are more selfish, because they are happy to be the one disturbing someone, in control of their destiny. To which we say, ummm exactly. Aisle dwellers on the other hand are behaviorally less confident flyers. They would prefer to be disturbed than disturb someone else, and are less confident with the goings on in the air. Similar thoughts are echoed by another leading behavioral studies psychologist Jo Hemmings…

“Champions of the window seat tend to be more selfish,” she says. “As well as less anxious, seasoned flyers who are more confident in disturbing others. Aisle passengers are often more sociable and definitely more amenable as people. They are also more likely to be restless flyers and less adept at sleeping on planes.”

No One Wants The Middle Seat. So Here’s How To Avoid It.

Not getting the middle seat is a science in itself. Virtually all the data gathered in these studies and by psychologists suggest we want window or aisle- never middle. But someone always gets the middle. We wrote an extremely useful (if we don’t say so ourselves) post about a cool app that helps you hack your way to the best seats in the plane, notifying you when the next best seat opens up- tailored to your preferences. Check it out here. Selfish or not, we all just want to get some rest and make it to our destination.

HT: The Telegraph