Here's Why These Unwanted Seats Are Technically The Safest Spot You Can Be On A Plane

You open up your boarding pass and check your seat number: 43F. After checking out a map of the plane, reality sets in — you're in the middle of the very last row. Not only will you probably have to wait for the other passengers to deplane, but the seat probably doesn't even recline as much as the rest of the seats in economy class. However, while the people in first class cozy up with their complimentary blankets and the people with aisle seats get to stretch their legs without awkwardly tapping the sleeping passengers around them, you can at least reassure yourself that you might just have the safest seat on the entire plane.


Realistically speaking, there are probably more unsettling details about the safety of your in-flight meal than there is the risk of actually being involved in a plane crash. However, while the data is slim and only comes from 17 crashes, a 2015 investigation from Time found that the passengers who sat near the back of the airplane and had middle seats had the best chance of survival.

The back of the plane has the safest seats

Multiple investigations have found that passengers sitting near the back of the plane had the best chance of survival. As disturbing as it is to think about, when crashes happen, the front of the aircraft usually hits first, which makes those fancy seats at the front the last place you want to be in the highly unlikely event of an emergency. Sometimes, the back of the plane will actually split from the front, which sounds like it would be bad news for the people in the back, but in reality, it's also less likely to break apart.


While sitting at the back of the plane gets a bad rap because it can take a long time to get off the plane after you land, some passengers actually prefer it. That's not just because of its safety benefits. These seats are also cheap and close to the bathrooms. As an added bonus, if you sit in the very last row, there's no one behind you, so if the seat reclines, you can do it without guilt, and you don't have to worry about how to handle a kid kicking your seat through the entire flight.

You might be safer in the middle seat

The window seat might be the best seat to book if you need to get work done on a flight, and the aisle lets you stretch your legs on a cramped plane, so it's easy to see why they're the most popular choices. However, if you want to maximize your chances of survival in an emergency, you might want to choose the dreaded middle seat. According to multiple investigations, passengers in middle seats fared better in crashes with both fatalities and survivors.


The ultimate seat choice might be the middle seat in the exit row closest to the back of the plane. Not only does it grant you the shield of having a person on either side, but you might be able to evacuate more quickly. Just remember, the likelihood of being in a serious crash is extremely low — about a 1 in 1.2 million chance of a crash and 1 in 11 million chance of being in a fatal crash, according to a Harvard University study reported on by The Week.