New economy class. travel, flight, plane, aircraft, flying, cabin, inflight, entertainment, children, Handout by Singapore Airlines. Picture: Jean Leprini. For feature in Verve, The Star.

For those not lucky enough to be flying first class, there’s always been a battle for the next best seats.

Now researchers have offered some more precise advice – try to nab 6A.

The left-sided window seat has been named as the best spot to secure, following a survey of 1,000 passengers.

In a typical aircraft layout of 40 rows split into two banks of three, 6A offers both close proximity to the exit and a suitable distance from the toilets.

The least desirable position is 31E – a middle seat towards the back of the plane.

The poll, by flight comparison website Skyscanner, found that almost 60 percent prefer a window seat, allowing them to gaze out during take-off – and then rest their heads on the side of the plane to get some sleep.

Forty percent would rather be perched in the aisle, so they can stretch their legs or nip to the toilet without disturbing other passengers. Less than one percent would willingly sit in the middle.

The study supports previous research, which has found that passengers prefer sitting in the first six rows of a plane. In the Skyscanner survey, 46 percent of passengers picked places in this section.

Bizarrely, almost two-thirds of those polled said they would rather have an even-numbered seat than an odd one. Only seven percent plucked for the back row.

Skyscanner’s travel editor Sam Baldwin said: “Our poll shows that travellers are very particular about where they sit, with most people heading towards the front of the aircraft on the left-hand side.

“Some passengers seem to opt for the middle section near the wings, where they are less likely to feel turbulence, while others want to be near the front for ease of getting off the plane, less engine noise or even to get a better choice of food.”

He suggested that 6A is “well positioned for those wanting to disembark the aircraft quickly without being too close to the hustle and bustle of the front toilets”, adding: “The window seems a popular choice for those looking to sleep, especially for long-haul flights.”

He continued: “I think it’s easy to see why seat 31E is the most unpopular, as it’s an awkward middle seat, towards the rear of the aircraft, which is neither close to the exit doors nor the toilets.”

The battle for the best seats has not gone unnoticed by airlines. Many charge passengers for the right to reserve their favoured spots, and some demand more money for bookings at the front of the plane.

EasyJet demands £8 (about R100) for reservations in the first six rows, compared with £3 (about R40) for bookings further back. - Daily Mail