This Is the Safest Place to Sit on a Plane

IMAGE Esquire UK

At any given moment, there are thousands of people on airplanes, taking trips for business or pleasure.

While air travel is considered the safest mode of transportation, where you sit can make a difference. A recent TIME study may have put to rest whether the aisle or window seat is better. It turns out the answer is neither of them; middle seats in the rear of the aircraft are the safest place to sit.

The centre seats farther up in the aircraft are a different story, though. "The middle of the cabin, historically, has the highest overall fatality ratesmore specifically the middle aisle seats....The fatality rate [in middle seats near the back of the plane] is 28%, compared to 44% [in the aisle seats in the middle of the plane]," says the publication. Other safe spots are the two rows closest to the emergency exit.

Why? The study's hunch is that those seated there could exit the plane more quickly if they had to. Still, the publication notes that these findings aren't the be-all and end-all. First, the data merely found a link between those locations on the plane and death rates; it doesn't mean that those seats caused or prevented death. Plus, the results are based on 17 crashes over the past 30 years, which is a small sample size. TIME also reminds readers that following safety instructions and keeping your seat belt on can increase your odds of surviving an emergency, wherever you sit.

This story originally appeared on


* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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