Bulkhead Seats: An Ultimate Guide

Traveling on an airplane is an enjoyable and convenient activity that allows us to enjoy the many beautiful places in this world relatively easily. We can get from one side of the planet to the other in less than a day, which is amazing! However, to make the best of airplane travel, we need to be aware of some of the features and benefits that are available to us onboard an airplane and one such feature is the Bulkhead Seat.

In the following article, we will examine some of the main questions that are generally asked about bulkhead seats in airplanes.

Airplane seat and window inside an aircraft

What is a Bulkhead Seat?

A Bulkhead seat is any seat located directly behind a partition in the airplane. Whether it separates the business class from economy class or is immediately behind the bathroom area.

Bulkhead seats do not have any seats immediately in front of them, which is one of the main things that distinguishes them from other types of seats.

These types of seats are preferred by many passengers for different reasons, whether it is because of the increased leg room that they afford or if you want to avoid the passenger immediately in front of you reclining their seat too far back into your space.

Advantages of Bulkhead seats

Bulkhead seats offer many benefits to discerning passengers like yourself:

  • If you like to be among the first set of people to exit the plane, the bulkhead seats are generally located close to the front of the plane and will facilitate a quicker deplaning process.
  • Also, when snacks, meals or beverages are served, it is likely that you will be among the first to be served since flight attendants generally start serving from the top of the row and this is where most bulkhead seats are located.
  • Bulkhead seats, especially those close to the business class tend to have less traffic which will result in greater peace of mind for you, allowing you to relax, especially if it is a long haul flight.
  • Bulkhead seats are also located relatively close to bathrooms allowing easy access for you, one of the most annoying things when flying is trying to get from the back of the plane to use the bathroom, choosing a bulkhead seat will largely eliminate this.
  • Some bulkhead seats, especially the ones closest to business class offer more legroom, giving you the freedom to stretch your legs out without disturbing a passenger in front of you by touching their seat.
  • Also, no seat immediately in front of you means that no one will recline their seat into your space, which is a huge plus for people who are either claustrophobic or if you just do not want to deal with that discomfort on your long flight.
  • Finally, the fact that no passenger is sitting immediately in front of you means that no one will leave a reading light on when you are trying to get some sleep!

Disadvantages of Bulkhead seats

Bulkhead seats also have disadvantages that should be considered based on your individual preferences before you decide to choose a bulkhead seat for your flight.

  • One of the things that can be an issue with bulkhead seats is that there is no under-seat storage for your purses or smaller carry-ons which forces you to store everything in your overhead bin. This can be a little disconcerting for passengers who are used to keeping small valuables very close to their person.
  • Also, armrest for these seats is fixed, which eliminates the possibility of folding them out to lay down or relax.
  • Another possible challenge with bulkhead seats is that they are normally given to families with small kids and you will be sharing the row with them. This becomes a problem when you have to deal with crying babies or restless toddlers for the duration of the flight, which can make the flight experience a little uncomfortable for you.
  • Bulkhead seats are often close to bathroom and galley facilities which will result in increased traffic in the vicinity of your seat, whether from people going to and from the bathroom or Flight Attendants using the galley area.
  • Another possibility is that there might be an odor emanating from the bathroom, which will surely be discomforting if you are close by. Unless of course, you’re traveling with Asian airlines, which are considered the cleanest airlines in the world.
  • Also, for airplanes that have a projector screen upfront, you will always be subjected to the glare from the screen, which might affect your ability to get some well-needed sleep.

Bulkhead Seat vs. Exit Row

Exit Row seats are the rows of seats that are next to an emergency exit. These seats normally have a little more legroom than the regular seats on the plane, however, to sit in one of these seats, you must agree to assist in case there is an emergency on the plane.

There is often a debate as to whether Exit Row seats are better than Bulkhead seats, but this is a matter of personal preference.

Exit Row seats have the traditional tray placement and under-seat storage while Bulkhead seats do not. However, Bulkhead seats have more legroom and are closer to the front of the plane (Exit Row Seats are closer to the back of the plane).

You are also not burdened with the responsibility of helping out if there is an emergency on the flight.

These are some of the main differences between the two seating types, and you should consider some of these possibilities before deciding on the type of seat that you want on your next flight.

How to Reserve Bulkhead Seats

To get the Bulkhead seat that you have always wanted, you will need to understand the policies of the airline that you are traveling with.

Some airlines charge a premium for reserving your seat of choice so you can take advantage of this to secure your bulkhead seat ahead of time.

Other airlines allow you to select your seat 24 hours before departure; you should try to select your seat as soon as possible, which will increase your chances of landing that bulkhead seat.

Also, some airlines offer discounted paid seat assignments at the check-in kiosk at the airport so you can check with them regarding getting your bulkhead seat.

If you travel during days that generally have lower traffic, like Tuesdays or Wednesdays, it is likely that your flight might have some empty seats, some of which might be Bulkhead seats.


Finally, Bulkhead seats are cherished by many passengers and conversely despised by many others.

If you desire the benefits of more legroom, want the opportunity to deplane quickly, or if you are traveling with your young family, the Bulkhead seat might be perfect for you.

It is, however, always a good idea to find out more details about the Bulkhead seats on the specific airline that you are traveling on before making a final decision.

Happy Flying!

Are bulkhead seats good?

The bulkhead is often regarded as one of the best seats for improving a sleeper’s comfort. In first-class or business class, it is often used as a seat with the widest footwell cutout. Due to the lack of row space in front of bulkhead seats, they have more legroom than other seats of the same cabin. Also, they tend to be more open and roomy.

Are bulkhead seats more expensive?

The more legroom that a seat has, the more it will cost. Also, since bulkhead seats do not have rows in the front, they have a different configuration when it comes to tray table. On some airlines, infants are allowed to travel in the bulkhead seats. On other airlines, these seats are reserved for families with lap infants.

What are the worst seats on a plane?

The worst seats on a plane are usually in the last row, says David Duff, a content specialist at SeatGuru. While it may seem like a luxury to have your seat reclined during a flight, it can be very rude.

Are extra legroom seats worth it?

The extra space between the seats can’t prevent the front seat from reclining. However, it can help keep the front seat from moving forward. In Old Norse, bulki meant “cargo.” In Europe during the 15th century, builders and sailors figured out how to prevent cargo from moving when docked. They called this structure “bulkheads.”

Do seats in front of bulkhead recline?

bulkhead seats can be noisy due to their proximity to the galley or lavatories. Although there are certain seats that are more advantageous than others, the main difference between the seats on a plane is that they’re closer to the front. An aisle seat is ideal for people traveling short distances.

Which row in first class is best?

Row One in first class is best for people who are at the very front of a plane. You have the most room and no one in the back. Many families like to sit at the back of the plane. I prefer to sit up front since it’s easier to get to/off the plane and the front seats have extra legroom.

Which seat is best in flight with infant?

If you’re flying with a friend or family member, you might want to book a window or aisle seat in an attempt to avoid having to share it with someone else. An exit row seat can provide much-needed relief from the noise and pressure of the cabin.

Does the middle seat get both armrests?

Experts have agreed that the person in the middle seat gets the control over the armrests. In terms of comfort, the average seat pitch has increased by about 30 inches since the 1980s. This guide shows you which planes and seats have the least legroom.

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