What Are Bulkhead Seats?

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Bulkheads seats are those seats located right behind the bulkhead separators. Bulkhead separators are the physical partitions that separate different sections or classes on an airplane, such as economy and business. Bulkheads can also be found throughout the plane to separate seats from lavatory areas and the galley. Physical partitions making up a bulkhead can be a wall, screen or a curtain.

Extra Legroom

  • Extra legroom is one of the biggest advantages of a bulkhead seat. Some bulkhead seats are situated far from the partition in front allowing for plenty of extra space. In other instances, the bulkhead may not reach to the floor creating a cut-out and offering additional legroom space. In addition to being able to stretch the legs further, the cut-out may allow for storage of small bags that would otherwise be stowed under the seat in front.

Additional Advantages

  • Without a seat in front of you, there is no one to recline back into your space making it easier to enter and exit from the seat. If the plane has personal televisions, they will be stored in the armrest because there is no seat in front -- making it easier for you to adjust the screen for viewing. Getting off the plane can also be quicker for those sitting near the bulkheads in front. All bulkheads rows, however, are not created equal. Some planes may have a first bulkhead row that is cramped.

Disadvantages

  • Depending on the aircraft, a standard bulkhead seat will only be about a foot away from the bulkhead offering limited space to stretch the legs. No under-seat stowage is available for a carry-on bag and flight attendants will not allow bags to be kept on the floor in front during take-off or landing. The rule is applicable to all bulkhead seats regardless of the class or carrier, according to the Seat Guru website. Tray tables will likely be stored in the seat's armrest making the armrest immovable and possibly reducing the width of the seat. Having a television stored in the armrest may also reduce the width of the seat.

Traveling With Babies

  • Bulkheads may also offer bassinet positions. This is a convenience for people traveling with babies, but a baby may be noisy for anyone sitting near a bulkhead seat with a bassinet. Noise is also likely and may be disturbing for a sleeping baby because the bulkhead is located near the galley and there will be regular foot traffic to the restroom.

Additional Costs

  • Requesting a bulkhead seat on a domestic carrier may now be an additional cost. For those wanting the extra legroom of the bulkhead seat in coach, be prepared to pay more. A new seating program charges passengers more for sitting in the first few rows including the bulkhead seat. Passengers paying for these seats will also be provided with the convenience of being among the first customers to get on and off the plane.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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