Nearly every frequent flier on the planet has a preference between a window or aisle seat of an airplane. After all, the window provides a (somewhat) decent headrest as well as a scenic view, while the aisle makes for easy access to the loo and also provides (a little) extra legroom. As for the middle, pretty much anyone with a heartbeat avoids ending up there for obvious reasons.
Well, according to a few psychologists, your “window or aisle” preference is about more than just your comfort style — it may represent who you are as a person. And if you prefer the window seat, you might just be selfish.
“Passengers who favor the window seat like to be in control, tend to take an ‘every man for themselves’ attitude toward life and are often more easily irritable,” Dr. Becky Spelman, chief psychologist at Harley Street’s Private Therapy Clinic, told The Telegraph. “They also like to ‘nest’ and prefer to exist in their own bubble.”
Behavioral psychologist Jo Hemmings agrees. “Champions of the window seat tend to be more selfish,” she explains. “[They can also be] less anxious, seasoned flyers who are more confident in disturbing others.” Ouch.
On the other hand, those who opt for the aisle are more likely to be reserved, less irritable and more considerate of others, says Spelman. Hemmings adds that aisle passengers “are often more sociable and definitely more amenable as people. They are also more likely to be restless flyers and less adept at sleeping on planes.”
Yahoo Travel also looked into the psychology of the window-versus-aisle argument back in 2014 and came to a different, less harsh conclusion about the the two personality types. According to them, people who sit by the window are “nesters” and dreamers who are open to new experiences and value privacy, while aislers are all-business introverts who value freedom and like to be in the power position, but also tend to be claustrophobic.
As for which seat is more preferred, Airline Weekly analyst Seth Kaplan told The Telegraph that it’s pretty equal. “Based on one (anonymous) airline’s statistics, and having spoken to others in more general terms, the distribution is remarkably even,” he said. “In the case of the airlines’ figures, windows were preferred over aisles by just about one percentage point.”
Two different studies, conducted by Expedia and Quartz, both backed up Kaplan’s stats. The travel website found a 55 percent preference for the window and 45 for the aisle, while the news outlet found that just over half of those surveyed favored the window.
Another interesting discovery? According to Quartz, more men favor the aisle seat than women, meaning one of two things: Either women are inherently more selfish than men, or they just prefer gazing out the window.
What Do YOU Think?
Do you prefer a window seat or an aisle seat? Do you agree with the psychologists’ opinions about your preference? Why do you like the window or aisle?