The Best Way To Tell If Your Airplane Window Seat Is Actually Windowless

Which is the best airline seat for your travel style? The window, the middle, or the aisle? According to a survey, the window seat wins the majority vote, with 53% of respondents saying it's their first choice on a plane. However, some window seat fans may be disappointed to locate their spot in the cabin only to find there's no window at all.

Yep, you read that correctly: Some window seats have nothing but a bare wall where the window would usually be. It's an unfortunate surprise you might not discover until you're already boarding, as happened to @gabipaonessa on X (formerly known as Twitter) and u/anmiko on Reddit. Thankfully, you can prevent this from happening to you by researching your flight's cabin in advance.

Airline seat maps don't always show which seats have windows, so head to aeroLOPA for a more detailed seat plan. The online tool shows window placement, as well as other information, such as the location of the lavatories. Keep in mind that aircraft can vary, so aeroLOPA may not be completely accurate for every flight. However, as the website shows, you can generally expect windowless walls to be placed in the back of the plane and next to the exit row seats.

Why do windowless window seats exist?

Windowless window seats aren't just some evil trick to frustrate unlucky passengers. They exist on many planes for a couple of important reasons. First, the space in the wall where the window is missing may be where sections of the plane are fused together. If a window was placed there, the aircraft may not be strong enough to hold itself together. Consider the lack of a window a good thing, even if it means you must sacrifice your view of the clouds.

Windowless window seats are often situated next to important wiring, mechanical pieces, and other aircraft components. Nicky Kelvin (head of The Points Guy UK) explained to MailOnline, "They're often due to the manufacturer using that space to feed through certain avionics (aviation electronics) or essential components such as air-conditioning ducts." Just as important, emergency exit seats might not have a proper window since the design of the exit door takes precedence over pleasant views, Kelvin added.

What to do if you get stuck with a windowless seat

Researching the flight's cabin layout when booking seats can reduce your chances of getting stuck with a windowless seat. Still, you may end up next to a bare wall if your assigned seat changes or the airline swaps its scheduled aircraft for another at the last minute. If you see an open seat available, you could ask the cabin crew to be moved. Otherwise, a little (gentle) complaining might help your situation. One anonymous Delta flight attendant told InsideHook that she's empowered to offer free airline miles or other perks to passengers placed in windowless rows or otherwise inconvenienced during their trip.

However, it also pays to see the silver lining of the windowless window seat. For one, you have a place to rest your head without having to worry about harmful UV rays damaging your skin (one reason you may not want to book the window seat in the first place). Another perk is that you might get more legroom in windowless aisles (depending on the aircraft) without having to pay for the upgrade. Sometimes, a bad plane seat isn't so bad after all.