How I like to fly

southwest airlines

Let’s talk flying. I usually take a few flights a year – not really enough to make me a frequent flyer. And I’m still learning things.

One thing I learned not long ago is that some airlines have displays that allow you see a live map of the plane’s progress during the route. Apparently this is common knowledge, but I had literally never heard of this before until Adventures with Ben pointed it out. Despite taking probably 30 flights over the years, I’ve never seen this even once. I guess because I’m usually on Southwest or US Airways, I’ve been missing out on all the cool stuff. Live and learn!

Sit up front or in the back?

What I’m really fascinated by are people’s personal preferences when it comes to being on the plane. Many people advise sitting up front to get off the plane first, something I’ve done many times. But then it occurred to me that I actually prefer getting off the plane last now. Am I the only wacko who feels this way?

baggage claim

I don’t like the rat race that ensues when the plane stops. I’d much rather remain seated until just about everyone has deboarded, then casually get up, remove my carry-on from the overheard, and head out at my leisure with the other stragglers. There’s enough stress in traveling already – who wants the hassle of fighting a hundred other people just to save three minutes? It really is just three minutes – maybe five if you’re on a huge plane. And if you get off too soon, chances are you’ll arrive at the checked baggage counter before your bags! Sit back and relax, I say.

This mindset allows me to willingly sit in the back all the time – especially on those Southwest flights with open seating.

Window, middle or aisle seat?

Like many people, I also prefer window seats. I’ve already accepted that I was a cat in a previous life, because I could stare out windows all day long. So of course, when I’m traveling I have to have control of the window. Especially when it gives me opportunities to see Mt. Rainier. Or downtown Miami:

miami from plane

I know many people like to be on the aisle, to have easy access to the bathrooms. I’m really curious whether anyone prefers the middle seat. Is there any reason at all why being in the middle seat could be advantageous? There’s got to be some reason, right?

I'm going to Glacier Country, Montana!

Airline preferences

Since I usually look for the cheapest price, I’ve ended up on the same airlines repeatedly. I finally joined Southwest’s frequent flyer program, though it looks like it will take me years to get enough points for a free flight.

I like Southwest’s open seating, where you just show up and choose your seat. It’s nice for people like me who want the window and don’t mind sitting in the back of the plane, because I can almost always make that happen. Then I get a clear view of Long Island as we fly into NYC:

plane long island

I only flew JetBlue once but I loved it because they have tv monitors behind every seat so you can watch live TV. Come to think of it, maybe they had an in-flight map, but I didn’t bother to check because I was glued to The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I didn’t even mind having to spend an extra hour on the tarmac in NYC during a delay because the visual entertainment was wonderfully distracting.

I’ve never flown Delta, Continental, Virgin or Alaska. Am I missing out on anything?

What are your flying preferences?

Sit up front or in the back? Window, middle or aisle seat? How about the exit row? What’s your preferred airline? Leave a comment and let me know how you like to fly – perhaps I can learn a little more.


  1. Virgin America is the BEST! They fly LAX-SFO, so I take them a lot. TV and radio is awesome. Way better then JetBlue (but then I didn’t have the best experience with them so I try not to hold that against them too much, but they don’t fly where I go anyway anymore, so it’s a non-issue)

    I usually like the front the best, unless I checked a bag, then I don’t mind the back as I’ll have to wait for it to come out anyway.

    1. I hope I get to try Virgin soon… they same some cheap flights to the west coast from Chicago, so maybe I’ll try it soon!

  2. Definitely JetBlue is one of my favorite airlines. Last August, a flight to Boston from Pittsburgh was three hours late. Not only did they supply us with beverages, snacks, and pizza during those three hours, but they also credited $50 to my TrueBlue account to use a on a future flight.

    I usually like to sit in the middle to the back. I honestly don’t really care but I definitely like sitting by myself (as antisocial as that sounds). I like that I have more freedom when I’m by myself. I’d rather be comfortable and relaxed on a plane.

  3. JetBlue does have an interactive map on one of their channels! I also love that they have satellite radio. And, they also have the best selections of snacks 😉

  4. You pretty much described me flying to a tee. The only exception is that I’ve never flown SW. I like to login to the rewards site and modify my flight so that I get a seat in the back by the window. I will fly SW for the first time in 2 days.

    One other reason I like to be in the back of the plane is that no one “wants” to sit back so you will more often than not have no one sitting next to you.

    1. Great point, Doc. Sitting in the back makes it MUCH more likely you’ll have an empty seat next to you! I’ll take not having a neighbor over being able to get off the plane first any day.

  5. Definitely a window seat for me. Love the view from the window — sometimes, I take photos of the ground below or the skies. I’ve sat in the aisle seat on a few occasions – I like it’s convenience and when the plane lands, I get to leave first. I like to get off as soon as I can when I arrive so my vacation can start.
    Unfortunately, I find most airline seats are getting smaller, the rows narrower. Too many times I feel passengers’ knees in my back. Seriously considering upgrading to business class!
    Like South African and KLM, hate Spirit!

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