If you hate airplane turbulence, here are the best places to sit

Anxious airline passengers, especially those who are worried about turbulence, should aim to sit closer to the front of the plane.

That, according to several reports and airplane pilots, is the best place to sit if turbulence triggers anxiety. 

Tens of millions of people took off for a trip during Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to the summer travel season. The surge in travelers last weekend foreshadowed how busy this summer will be at airports nationwide.


Earlier this month, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it is prepared for a record number of passengers at airport security checkpoints nationwide. 

A FedEx Boeing 767 aircraft approaches San Diego International Airport for a landing on a flight from Memphis on March 31, 2024. (Kevin Carter / Getty Images)

The TSA said it will expect to screen more than 3 million passengers nationwide in a single day at some point this summer for the first time ever. 

While flying is safe, the recent incident involving a Singapore Airlines flight that had to make an emergency landing in Bangkok following "severe turbulence" has sparked heightened awareness on the dangers of turbulence. 


Weather.gov describes turbulence as "one of the most unpredictable of all the weather phenomena that are of significance to pilots."   

To date, more than 25 million adults in the U.S. have a fear of flying, otherwise known as aerophobia, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It can range from mild, where people may become anxious, to severe. In severe cases, people may refuse to fly for years, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Certain experiences could trigger this fear, including, though not limited to, news stories about terrorism, crashes or violence on airplanes as well as turbulence. 

To help nervous fliers, an airline pilot, Jimmy Nicholson, posted a video on TikTok explaining that passengers sitting in the front of the plane will experience less turbulence given that the rear of the aircraft will swing more. 

It's not something American Airlines pilot Capt. Dennis Tajer has heard people talk about a lot, though he agreed that "often the ride in the back of the airplane feels less stable but depending on the movement of the air, the ride may feel different." 

Sitting near the wings can also help. 

"The wings are more closely located to the center of gravity of the airplane, therefore, the ride while sitting near the wings may feel less turbulent than near the tail of the aircraft where vertical input is felt the most," Tajer added. 

Still, David Slotnick, The Points Guy senior aviation business reporter, noted how the "difference is mostly for more mild turbulence, and can be helpful if you get anxious or motion sickness."

Regardless of where you sit, "having your seat belt on will be the difference between safety or injury. It’s just that simple," Tajer said. 

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