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What is a Bulkhead Seat on an Aircraft?

Not all airline carriers are alike. They will usually differ in various ways – from the size of their aircraft to facilities and services that are offered in-flight. In some airlines, what you will also see is a certain type of seat layout that is located right after the sections of an aircraft. The airlines typically call these seats the bulkhead seats. What are they and what is their purpose? You will find answers to these questions and a lot more here.

In this blog, we will give you an insight into what are bulkhead seats on an aircraft. Also, we will learn about the pros and cons that can affect your traveling experience with the airline carrier.

Brief about Bulkhead Seats

In the aviation industry, the term “bulkhead” is used to denote a physical partition, such as a wall, curtain, etc., inside an aircraft that divides the seating layout into classes or sections. In addition, you can also find bulkheads that separate the front or rear row of seats from the lavatory and galley (kitchen) areas inside the aircraft. Different airlines will usually provide bulkhead seating near the window, in the middle (for wide-bodied airlines), or in the aisle.

The seats that are located right behind such bulkheads or partitions, are referred to as “bulkhead seats”. Thus, the very first seat that you see behind a partitioned wall, between cabins and other divisions, are bulkhead seats. Some airlines may have just one bulkhead seat on each side behind different partitions of the plane, while other airline carriers may provide more than one such seat on each side. The differences will, of course, vary from one airline to another.

A good example of a bulkhead seat is the foremost row with seats in a Business class that is located behind the First class cabin.

Why Do Airlines have Bulkhead Seats?

When you board a plane, you will pass through different sections, more commonly called a class of cabins, in order to reach your assigned seat. You will find bulkhead seats in almost all airlines.

Having bulkhead seats in an aircraft can often prove useful to some passengers, or may not be useful to other passengers. This may depend on the needs of travelers. Sometimes, due to the plane’s design and the seating layout, an aircraft with bulkhead seats in the front can also offer a little more legroom space than those that are placed behind.

Some airlines may also have aisle seats in a bulkhead row, depending on the layout of the aircraft’s design. Or, there may be a walking area that passes by a section of a wall.

Are Bulkhead Seats on a Plane Good or Bad for Travellers?

Now, the question of whether bulkhead seats on an aircraft are good or bad for travelers can be both a yes and no. There are a few advantages as well as disadvantages to bulkhead seats, which we shall learn about here.

Why I prefer Bulkhead seat/advantages of Bulkhead Seats

Below we have included a few advantages with regard to having a bulkhead airline seat on an aircraft.

A Bulkhead Seat Can Offer More Legroom Space: If you compare the layout of seats in any given cabin of an aircraft, you will immediately notice that the very first row of the seat(s), i.e., the bulkhead seating behind a partition, will offer a little more legroom space to stretch your legs comfortably.

But, bear in mind that the amount of legroom space may differ, mainly because of the aircraft’s design.

You Get Served First: Airlines may differ in how they serve passengers on the plane. While some airlines may have their flight attendants serve passengers starting from the front cabins to the end of the plane, however, this strategy may be the opposite in other airlines. But, the benefit of having your seat in the front row is that you are served before other passengers that are seated behind you.

So, you can hope to be served with meals, snacks, beverages, etc., sooner and don’t have to wait much longer.

Relax without being Bothered: Some passengers may often feel annoyed by the other passenger seated in front of them, especially when he/she reclines into their headspace.

So, here, you get an advantage too! If you are seated in a bulkhead seat, you can forget about your worries and relax in peace, watch films or work on your laptop computer. There will be no passengers reclining their seats in front of your face and taking away your space and comfort.

Make Quick De-boarding: Another great advantage of taking a bulkhead seat on an aircraft during your travel is that you get to de-board the plane first than the passengers that are seated behind you.

Because bulkhead seats are located right in front of the cabin’s partition, it gives you the advantage to exit the plane quickly.

Why the bulkhead seat is my least favorite/Disadvantages of Bulkhead Seats

On the other hand, we have also included a few disadvantages of bulkhead seats on an aircraft, which are given below.

Aircraft’s Width Affects Seats: An important thing to consider here is that the width of an aircraft can significantly affect the space and size of seats, including bulkhead seats.

So, for example, if you are seated in an economy cabin’s bulkhead of a certain airline, chances are, the in-flight entertainment facility provided in the cabin may have the screen stowed along with your tray table when adjusting your seat’s armrest. Thus, you will get less space.

Not Enough Storage for Baggage: Although bulkhead seats offer your a couple of added inches of legroom space to stretch your legs, however, a disadvantage here is that you may not have enough storage space for your baggage.

If you are carrying baggage and/or a carry-on bag that doesn’t fit well under your seat, then the best option is to put your belongings in the overhead bin. Also, you may place your carry-on on your lap, if that should not bother you during your journey.

Not enough space for legroom: In most aircraft, you don’t get enough space for the legs to stretch. You have to sit with compromise.

Annoyance from Passengers Frequently Visiting Lavatory: No passenger would like to be felt annoyed by other passengers walking up and down the path close to your seat, in particular.

Unfortunately, if you are seated in a bulkhead seat that is located facing the aircraft’s lavatory from either end, you may have to face the annoyance. Passengers frequently visit the lavatory and the path may also appear busy at times.

Inconvenient for fooding: Because of tray table which is not properly placed you could feel inconvenience and also seat-back monitor is not at the right place.

Annoyance from the Plane’s Galley: If your bulkhead seat is located close to the aircraft’s galley (kitchen), it is likely that you may feel disturbed.

The flight attendants are required to serve food and drinks to passengers, so it is understandable that they will frequently walk in and out of the galley, preparing and bringing food and beverage items to the passengers. And, if you are seated in their path, you may lose your moment of peace.


From the above information, we can conclude that bulkhead seats on an aircraft can be useful, although there are a few downsides to it.

It can be an ideal choice if you are traveling alone and don’t care much about the seat layout. Also, there are some airline carriers that include bassinet seats (bulkhead seats with a detachable cot), which can be handy for a parent traveling with an infant. The parent can use such seats in any cabin. so, it depends on the choices and the preference of the passengers which seat they want to prefer because their motive is vary when choosing a bulkhead seat.

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