Where you sit on a plane is all-important. It can be the difference between having a pleasant flight with plenty of leg room, or a stiff neck and a constant wrestle with your neighbour for the armrest.
But a pilot has revealed that it could be even more important than that.
In a post to a forum on Quora, Magnar Nordal explained that where you sit affects the plane's weight and therefore how it is controlled.
He said: "If the [systems are] set wrong, then the aircraft may crash at take-off.
"Four passengers seated themselves forward from their assigned seats before take-off.
"My first officer was flying, and he experienced problems when he rotated the aircraft: It was very heavy.
"This was a very critical situation, because the runway was very short, and we would not have been able to stop."
This warning was backed up by fellow pilot Darren Patterson, who told the BBC that someone moving 10 rows of seats can alter the aircraft's balance.
He explained: "The smaller the aeroplane, the more dramatic effect any shift in weight can have.
"On a large, wide body aeroplane, a single person can move 10 rows of seats and the effect on the balance is negligible.
"Have that same person move just a few rows on a regional plane or turboprop and the effects are far more dramatic; possibly even exceeding the limits of the envelope."
Darren added: "All aeroplanes operate in an envelope of stability. To continuously stay in this envelope, from take-off to touchdown, all weight and its location have to be accounted for."
Many of us might have our favourite spots on a plane, whether it's a nice window seat to enjoy the view, or somewhere close to the front or back so you can nip for a wee without too much hassle.
However, according to Nick Eades - who is the world's most experienced Boeing 747 pilot - your best bet is somewhere near to the emergency exits.
Speaking to LADbible, Eades explained that there isn't necessarily a 'safest' place to sit, saying: "Sitting at the front of the plane is as safe as sitting at the back, and vice versa."
He continued: "Always offer to sit by the emergency exits because - as long as you're able-bodied - I think probably the best seats are the ones closest to the exits.
"Then if there is an abandoned take-off [or] there is catastrophic failure, you can either help people out or be the first to get out of the aeroplane yourself. You're in a very good position.
"It's common sense if you think about it."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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