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Left or right side of plane

Do you prefer seats on the right or left side of the airplane on flights to and from Europe? I've read tons of discussion on aisle vs window and side vs middle but wonder if there's a left/right preference.

Posted by
18055 posts

Not that I prefer it, but I've almost always been on the right. I request a window and that's where they put me. I've often wondered why. Maybe most people are preferring left side and that's what's remaining (so right is what's left?).

Posted by
1078 posts

I always do left side window because I sleep that way on the way over, and a forward aisle return to race through passport control.

Posted by
21327 posts

I absolutely near ever gave any thought to that question. I do prefer the couple seats on either side if available. It is mostly dark going over and you are so high you rarely see anything on the ground coming back.

Posted by
430 posts

You're flushing out my lunacy...

I like to sit in any aisle seat where my left arm is on the aisle.

I sit on the left end of couches.

I sleep on the left side of the bed.

Now you all know that I am nuts.

Posted by
9110 posts

POSH = Person Obviouslyingnorant of Sea History

Boats did not sail port out at all, they sailed in a compass direction having nothing to do with left or right. Nor did the urban myth had to do with which was the sunny side on a transatlantic voyage -- it had to do with sailing from England to India. Which was baloney anyway since it didn't account for either the season or the direction of travel along the African or South American continents, or the side of the equator a segment of the voyage was on.

The origin is the word is from British slang of a hundred years ago and refered to a pretentious person or dandy (posha).

But the whole thing is more baloney anyway.

Port is the left side of a vessel when seen by someone facing forward. The origin of the term stems from the long-ago use of a steering board which was always on the right side of the boat. (Starboard being short for steering board.) If you came alongside a pier or dock with the right side to, the oar was trapped and useless. Thus boats put the other side against the boat -- the port side.

POSH could also mean: Post Only Something Hapless (using the seventeenth definition of hapless -- wretched)

Posted by
5086 posts

If you enjoy watching things below (assuming you get a window seat), there's a slight advantage to being on the left side of the plane.

Standard traffic patterns at airports use left turns. In a left turn, those on the left side of the plane get a view of the surrounding countryside. Those on the right get a view of the sky. If you enjoy looking down at the world, you're better off sitting on the side that the turns are made.

Unfortunately, nowadays airspace and approach routes are quite complex (and most big airports have 2 or sometimes 3 parallel runways, each with turns going different directions), and there may be plenty of right-turns on any given approach (that depends on how congested the airspace is, local terrain and noise abatement considerations, which runway is in use, traffic density, and many other variables). That said, I think that one typically experiences more turns to the left than to the right.

I always try for a window seat on the left side of the plane for that reason.

Posted by
92 posts

I have a wonky lower back so I like to sit at a window on the right side so I can lean to the right (against the "wall") when I sleep, which is more comfortable than leaning to the left.

Posted by
3313 posts

I prefer sitting on the left side flying to Europe and the right side coming home. The reason is that I love looking out the window - despite what Steve posted, there can be quite a bit of the trip in daylight, depending on the time of year you fly.

In recent years, some passengers insist it is their right to have a completely dark cabin and demand that windows be closed. Well, I pay for a window seat so I can sit by - you guessed it - the window.

Having the window on the side away from the sun reduces some of the issues about glare.

Posted by
1167 posts

The way I heard it the POSH thing started with people from England sailing to and from India. Port Out put you on the land side as did Starboard Home.

Posted by
7974 posts

If you are flying in the summer, it is light in much of Northern Europe by about 0400 and stays light until about 2200, so plenty of light to look down and see the White Cliffs of Dover, the red tile roofs of the cities, ships at sea, or anything else down below, if the clouds part, and of course the sunrises and sunsets. I love looking out the window, even if it is just clouds.

Posted by
495 posts

Ed's already thoroughly debunked the "Port Out..." origin of posh but I'd like to add a general rule-of-thumb. Most etymologists agree that acronyms didn't come into general use until after WWI, Army terms brought back by returning soldiers, and only became popular after WWII - one of the fringe benefits of ruinous, industrialised war.

Something to remember next time someone tries to tell you what tips stands for...

Posted by
332 posts

I try to sit at a port/left/north side window on a night time flight to Europe. I saw the northern lights on my first transatlantic in 1973 and hope to see them again sometime.

I let my fellow passengers sleep and would never open a window shade after a flight attendant told everyone to leave them down. I would love to see a minor rule breaker taken off a plane in handcuffs for disobeying the command of a crew member.

Posted by
3313 posts

I let my fellow passengers sleep and would never open a window shade after a flight attendant told everyone to leave them down. I would love to see a minor rule breaker taken off a plane in handcuffs for disobeying the command of a crew member.

I disagree. Windows are meant to be open. And the compensation for having to sit squeezed against the wall is being able to look outside. It's not a safety issue.

So those wanting to sleep can use eyeshades.

Posted by
290 posts

I agree with Doug. If you enjoy looking out the window, there is some advantage to sitting on the port side going over and the starboard side coming back. I've had some amazing views of Greenland, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and was lucky enough to see the Northern Lights one winter several years ago.

Posted by
1 posts

who really cares....but since we are on the subject the nut who uses his or her freedom to take others freedom.....
"raising his window shade" is the reason for wars. We have to have respect for others in order for a democracy to make sense. This cute nut is the reason our system will fail someday and we will have a the least a system similair to that of Singapore.

Posted by
2788 posts

I sit on the right hand side coming and the left hand side leaving Hawaii so that you can see the Island as you approach or leave. Going to Europe every summer, I just hope to get either 2 seat side for my wife and I.

Posted by
180 posts

I try to sit on the right side of the plane on the aisle but the aisle to my left. It does also work on the right side of the plane buts on the seat in the inside seats on the aisle. Aisle is always to my left

The reason why I'm left handed, eat with my left hand, use my left hand and that way I'm not bothering the person to the right of me.

Another reason for a preference maybe people who have leg or knee problems and need to stretch out which ever leg is a problem

Posted by
102 posts

almost always book the left side of the plane. I don't know why. This trip going over on the left, coming back on the right...........change is good!

Posted by
3313 posts

I have never, ever, been called a "cute nut" before.

I kind of like it!

Posted by
10260 posts

It depends on where I'm flying into.

If going to Heathrow, I tend to sit towards the right side of the plane. The reason, if they're using a westerly approach, you'll get a great panoramic view of London.

Other than that, I prefer to have an aisle seat.

Posted by
11798 posts

I sleep on the way over so I really don't care. I prefer a window (most of the time it's closed anyway) because it gives me a little more shoulder room.

On the way back, there isn't much to see (clouds and/or ocean) so, again, the biggest benefit is the extra shoulder space.