A guide to choosing the best Economy seat on the plane for those who like to sleep on a flight

When it comes to those ungodly-early-morning domestic flights or long-haul international journeys, getting the right plane seat can make the difference between managing to nod-off or being extra cranky at your destination.

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For most of my career-life I have flown every which way, every time of day to most airports across South Africa and a few beyond our borders - and through it all I have learned that there are few things as precious to me as being able to have a shut-eye on the plane.

Unfortunately, I have never had the opportunity or funds to try out the flatbeds of Business and First Class (one day...), so in the dredges of the Economy Class I have developed a whole system for choosing the best seat when I really need to have a nap or proper sleep.

This is especially necessary on those six in the morning flights from Cape Town to Joburg and you have a whole day of activities planned for when you land.

Here are a few tried-and-tested methods (they work most of the time) that might help the sleepyheads on their next flight.

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Look for that open middle seat

When selecting your seats online, always have a lookout for rows where an aisle seat has been selected, the middle seat is free and the window seat is free. 

When selecting the window seat, if the plane isn't full, you're more than likely be sitting next to no one, which means lots of space for twisting your feet diagonally.

Even numbers for domestic flights

While it depends on the type of plane, in SA the domestic routes tend to have similar arrangements, and in my experience the even-numbered window seats tend to not have a window right next to your shoulder.

Instead, you'll have the little bit of extra plane-wall that's just perfect for leaning against while having a nap, instead of awkwardly leaning into the window. 

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Odd numbers for international flights

On the bigger planes used on international flights, it's a little different, where the odd numbers tend to give the best leaning position.

Avoid the seats by the wings

If you want the least vibration and noise from the engines, you're better off opting for seats near the front or end of the plane, unless you want to stretch out in the expanse provided by the emergency exit rows.

But know that the back of the plane experiences the worst turbulence, which may interrupt your peaceful slumber in the sky.

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