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What is the Role of Bulkhead Seats in Aircraft?

As flights can regularly be a lengthy endeavor, passengers often seek the greatest seat they can for optimal comfort. While many debate over whether the window or aisle seat is better, some are major proponents of the bulkhead seat. The bulkhead is the wall that serves as a divider between business and economy classes, sometimes coming in the form of a curtain or screen. Bulkhead seats are known for offering a passenger more legroom as compared to others of the same class, alongside other benefits. Despite this, there are also various drawbacks to such seating as well. In this blog, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of bulkhead seats from the perspective of a passenger, allowing you to know if they are a good fit for your needs..

As bulkheads serve as a separator of seating classes, the bulkhead seats will typically not have any seat row that is placed immediately in front of them. As such, there is often more leg room and no passengers that can recline their seat far enough to take up a majority of a given seating space. Because of this, such seats are known for being more open and comfortable to some. Despite the middle seat often being the dreaded choice of many due the possible constant movement for aisle access, the foot room given in bulkhead rows can allow for any seat to easily get up and use a lavatory or access overhead compartments. While not always common, some airliners may even provide bassinet hooks on the bulkhead itself, permitting parents with infants to take advantage of bedding.

While these benefits make such seating a desirable option for some, such rows are not without their drawbacks. As discussed before, bulkhead seats most often do not have any seating closely in front of them, meaning that there is also a lack of under seat storage space. As such, passengers in the bulkhead row must store all their items in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing, reducing the amount of items one may be able to bring on board. If one has an animal that is capable of being stored under a seat, such animals may not be allowed when requesting bulkhead seating.

If entertainment is a must, then bulkheads also have the disadvantage of lacking access to standard seat back entertainment systems. While a screen may still be provided on the bulkhead itself or may be stored in the armrest, such screens are often immovable or may be farther away from the seat. While maybe not a deal breaker to some, armrest screens can also be harder to use and may make the armrest unadjustable. Similar to entertainment systems, bulkhead seats may also only have armrest tray tables, making such pieces bulkier and more difficult to use.

With these various advantages and disadvantages of such seats, the bulkhead row may be extremely desirable or a row to be avoided depending on one’s personal preferences and needs. If you are interested in the bulkhead seat, many airliners will permit the selection of seats on a map when purchasing tickets, permitting the choice of bulkhead seats as available. It is important to know that bulkhead seats are fewer in number and may differ in price as compared to other seating in the same class.


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