I love sitting in the back of a long-haul flight. Here's why I'd choose that row any day.

I love sitting in the back of a long-haul flight. Here's why I'd choose that row any day.
  • The back row of an airplane has a bad reputation, but I actually prefer it on long-haul flights.

  • Many long-haul aircrafts don't have bathrooms in the back, so it's the quietest area on a plane.

  • Plus, it's close to the galley for stretching, and it's my best chance at sitting near empty seats.

Picking a seat for a long-haul flight is daunting.

It's a tiny little space that I'll call home for eight-plus hours. And every time I book a long-haul flight, I'm stuck weighing the pros and cons.

Do I want a window seat where I can rest my head against the plane's wall? Maybe, but then I'll have to bother strangers when I need to use the restroom.

Do I splurge for a higher cabin class? Probably not. While business class is a luxury, I'd rather spend my money on my trip — not on my flight.

The one decision I don't struggle with is picking the row I want to be in. For that, I head all the way to the back of the plane.

An overview of the economy cabin on a Boeing Dreamliner.
An overview of the economy cabin on a Boeing Dreamliner.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

I've discovered the last row is one of the quietest spots on the plane

On shorter flights, one of the biggest gripes about the back row of a plane is the bathroom. Constant flushing, concerning noises, and unwelcome smells often accompany the last row of a domestic flight.

But that isn't the case for many long-haul flights I've taken.

For example, on a flight from Denver, Colorado, to Tokyo, I boarded a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with three bathrooms for economy-class passengers, all located at the front of economy.

This means that every passenger walks to the front of the cabin instead of the back to use the bathroom.

Since I was sitting toward the back half of the cabin, only a few passengers disrupted me by walking through the aisle for the 12-hour flight.

I realized that if I had been in the very back row, it would've been even quieter. The only people heading to the back would've been flight attendants and passengers stretching their legs.

The seat next to Insider's author was empty on a recent flight.
The seat next to Business Insider's author was empty on a recent flight.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

There are other perks of the back row, including more storage

Through experience, I've learned that my best chance of getting accessible overhead storage is when I'm in the back of a plane.

A handful of times when I was seated in the front, I discovered all of the overhead storage was filled near my seat. Since there wasn't overhead room above or in front of me, that meant my bag had to go behind me.

When the plane landed, I needed to wait until all the passengers disembarked the aircraft. Finally, when no one was in the aisle, I could scurry past my seat and grab my bag. This left me frustrated since I didn't even experience the major perk of sitting in the front — quick disembarkation.

Sure, it's a minor inconvenience, but I'd rather chill in the back of the plane and wait for everyone to deplane without getting frustrated over when I can get my bag and get off the aircraft.

Plus, if I'm seated in the back, I can put my suitcase anywhere. While I always aim to put it directly above me, there have been a few times bins were full, so I happily placed my bag closer to the front.

There's also more room to stretch in the back

Another perk of the back of the plane is galley access. For long-haul flights, I like to get up every few hours and stretch my legs. It helps my body adjust to the cramped quarters and keeps me from feeling claustrophobic.

Typically, I do some light stretches in the plane's galley (as long as the flight attendants don't mind). If I'm seated in the back of the plane, I can assess the best time to stretch. I'm able to hear and see if flight attendants are prepping for meal service — a busy time when I wouldn't stretch.

If I'm in the front of the cabin, I might not realize the galley is crowded and head back there anyway.

Finally, I love the back of the plane because I think it's my best chance of sitting next to empty seats.

From experience, it seems like airlines typically fill seats from front to back. If there are any open seats, they're usually in the last row of the plane.

I'll happily take the gamble of sitting in the back if it means I might have an empty seat next to me.

This has paid off a couple of times. On my flight home from Tokyo, I was in the back with an open seat in the middle — and I spent the whole flight celebrating the extra legroom.

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