Skip to Content

Here’s Where To Sit On A Plane If You’re A Nervous Flyer

Share The Article

Last Updated

There are plenty of things to stress about in everyday life, and flying is no different. Experts estimate that 25 million American adults have a fear of flying. The reasons behind the fears and the reactions individuals display in response to those fears can vary greatly. Luckily there are actions one can take to manage and even overcome a fear of flying while on board a plane. One such measure is to choose the correct seat when booking a flight. Some seats are better than others depending on the reason behind the fear, and that is what we will discuss here.

Aisleway on an airplane with passengers in their seats

Why Are You Nervous?

In order to choose the best seat, nervous passengers first need to identify what exactly is causing their anxiety. While that is sometimes easier said than done, knowing the root cause of a fear can be helpful.

Airline passengers can be apprehensive for any number of reasons. Worries range from anxiety about getting sick during the flight to the worst-possible-case doomsday scenario, and everything in between. Some of the more common reasons why people are anxious about flying include:

nervous flyers tightly grip the armrests of their airplane seat
  • Fear that the plane will crash
  • Nervousness about take-off and landing
  • Germs or sickness being spread onboard
  • Dislike of turbulence
  • Fear of heights
  • Claustrophobia

The Safest Seat

Passengers who worry that something catastrophic will go wrong during the flight either mid-air or during take-off or landing should know where the safest seat is. The exact spot will vary by plane size and type, and can also change based on which type of accident we are talking about. But in general, experts agree that the middle seats in the back of the plane are safest.

Top 5 Travel Insurance Plans For 2023 Starting At $10 Per Week

Easily Earn Points For Free Travel

a crowded plane is frightening for many passengers

Best Seat For Germ-Free Travel

Anyone who has flown in the past 3 years will know that there are plenty of precautions they can take to reduce the risk of getting sick on a plane. We’ve all masked up, sanitized every inch of our seating area, and distanced ourselves from fellow passengers. Now that many airlines have dropped mask requirements, passengers who are nervous about getting sick might feel more vulnerable. If you want to avoid germs onboard a plane, studies have shown that window seats have the lowest rates of exposure.

Man wearing a mask on airplane

The Smoothest Seats

So many airline passengers tighten their grip when turbulence hits. While some bouts of turbulence can be nerve-racking or even uncomfortable, it is rare that it becomes severe. Flyers who want to ensure a smooth ride should select seats in the rows directly over the wings. Because the wings provide the plane’s stability, the seats closest to them will offer a smoother ride. If those seats are not available, the next best place is towards the front of the plane. It is best to avoid the back if turbulence will cause you distress, as it is the most susceptible to bumpiness.

Plane Wing View Flying Over Rome With St Peter's Basilica Below, Italy

Where To Sit If you Have A Fear Of Heights

Being fearful of heights is a very common phobia. While not all people who are afraid of heights have a problem flying, many do. Unfortunately for those people, there is no getting around the need for the plane to fly high. Passengers who are nervous about being so high in the sky should choose aisle seats or rows in the middle of the plane where views out the window are obscured. Another tactic is to stay focused on a book, screen, or other distractions to avoid thinking about how high up you are.    

Interior of large passengers airplane with people on seats and stewardess in uniform walking the aisle.

Best Seats To Avoid Claustrophobia

If being packed in a plane with lots of other people gives you anxiety you are not alone. So many travelers struggle with this fear, so the best way to cope is to find a seat with plenty of space. The least crowded section of the plane is first or business class. But if upgraded flying isn’t in your budget there are still options. Try sitting in an aisle seat in an exit row towards the front of the plane. These seats typically have more legroom, are easier to get out of, and also reduce the number of other passengers in your view, making the space feel less crowded.

A passenger sits at an exit row on an airplane and looks towards a bright window

↓ Elevate Your Travel↓

Sign Up Now For Travel Off Path Premium! No ads, VIP Content, Personal Travel Concierge, Huge Savings, Daily Deals, Members Forum & More!

✈️Join Our Travel Off Path Community Forum: Where travelers unite, ask questions, share experiences and even find like-minded travel buddies!


Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path's latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.

This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Friday 10th of February 2023

I conquered my fear fo flying by learning to fly. If that is too large a commitment then people should read up on the principles of flight. Fear is caused by lack of understanding and control. When you know what is going on and what causes turbulence etc and how planes fly, it is the best way to conquer your fear.


Saturday 11th of February 2023

@Rich, I did the same.