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The more people fly, the more they prefer the aisle seat

  • David Yanofsky
By David Yanofsky

Editor of code, visuals, and data

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

US airlines are filling empty seats in record numbers. In 2013, they filled 83.1% of their passenger capacity according to the US Department of Transportation Statistics. In June, domestic routes were 87.4% full a monthly record. The increased load not only means fewer empty middle seats but also stiffer competition for a window or aisle.

And when it comes to picking a seat on an airplane, most Americans would prefer the window, according to survey commissioned by Quartz and SurveyMonkey.

The poll was fielded on September 2-3 and results were collected from a representative sample of 500 Americans using SurveyMonkey Audience.

The preference for windows doesn’t change based on how often Americans fly. But American travelers who fly more than once a year prefer the aisle more than the rest of the population.

Those frequent flyers aren’t exclusively business travelers. Americans who travel primarily for business still prefer the window. It’s the travelers who split their time flying for both business and personal reasons that like the aisle most.

Americans from households making at least $150,000 annually have the weakest preference for the window and the highest preference for the aisle compared to other income groups.

Finally, men are more likely to prefer the aisle than women.

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