Revealed: The quietest seat on a plane

A JetBlue pilot said sitting in front of a plane's wings and engines is like being behind a loud speaker. Photo / iStock
A JetBlue pilot said sitting in front of a plane's wings and engines is like being behind a loud speaker. Photo / iStock

Other than being sat next to a rude or annoying passenger, there's nothing worse than being stuck in an aeroplane seat where the outside noise makes it impossible to sleep.

Many travellers have wondered if there's a seat on a plane where they won't be bothered by noise from the rumbling engines and disturbed air.

New York-based low-cost airline JetBlue has set out to answer the question after being asked by its customers if there is a secret to finding the quietest seat on a plane.

It's rather obvious, as JetBlue pilot Christian P. explained in a video on the airline's blog.

He said passengers should choose a seat towards the front of the plane. Other experts said that seat should be on the aisle.

"There's less noise when you're sitting forward of the wings,' the JetBlue pilot explained.

"On most planes the engines are located under the wings.

"Sitting in the front of the wing is like being behind a speaker. All of the sounds of the engine and disturbed air are projected away from you. For a more peaceful ride find a seat in the front of the cabin."

Dai Whittingham, chair of the UK Flight Safety Committee, told MailOnline those who are bothered by the noise may want to opt for an aisle seat.

"As a basic principle, the seats forward of the engines tend to be quieter," he said. "Aft of the wings there is also likely to be some additional aerodynamic noise from the wings themselves.

"Window seats are noisier than aisle seats because you are closer to the skin of the aircraft - sound intensity decreases inversely proportional to the square of the distance from source."

Back in 2006, H. Kurtulus Ozcan and Semih Nemlioglu, from Istanbul University, published their findings after measuring noise levels within the cabin.

Their study analysed domestic flights on Airbus A321 aircraft and found that passengers in middle and aisle seats are exposed to noise that is four decibels quieter than what travellers in window seats are exposed to.

Sitting at the front of a plane, however, is a luxury on some aircraft and can be very costly on larger planes with premium cabins.

For example, passengers flying on a British Airways Airbus A380 - the world's largest passenger jet - would need to be in first or business class to be in front of the wings, according to a seating map on the website Seat Guru.

A first class return ticket for British Airways' London-San Francisco route costs more than $14,000, while a business class return ticket sells for $6193.

For passengers flying with a budget airline, they will need to be in the first 14 rows on Ryanair's fleet of Boeing 737s, or in the first six to eight rows on easyJet's Airbus A319 or A320 aircraft.

How much quieter these seats really are may be up for debate, and some aircraft are quieter than others.

Manufacturers have made strides in reducing engine noise and making cabins quieter to improve passenger comfort.

For example, passengers who are used to flying within Europe on budget flights will notice a huge difference when they fly on an Airbus A380 - the world's largest passenger jet and the aircraft that is considered the quietest in the skies today.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is substantially quieter than its competitors.

Whittingham said turboprop aircraft tend to be the noisiest due to the speed of the propeller tips.

- Daily Mail

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