Rookie Wednesday: To Delta bulkhead (seat) or not to bulkhead, that is the question!

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

We all know the answer to the ultimate question is 42, but that is not what today is all about. Today we are answering should you or should you not choose a Delta bulkhead seat. You may think you know the answer but it is not as obvious as it may seem. Let’s dive in.

You would think, if you get a 1st class upgrade, all seats are created equal – after all it is 1st class right? Not so fast! On the Delta 737-900er the left side A&B give you almost no leg room with only a tiny 50% cut out for feet on B. The C&D side are a little better but if you are tall you will not be pleased. Gone are the days of nice large foot well cutouts like you see just above.

And even when it comes to Delta One seats, where yes, even bulkhead seats are generally the same as the rest of the cabin, many feel very claustrophobic with the “wall” so close to them. I do not get air sick (or at least have not since I was a kid) but sitting in this row in Delta One I got a little queasy once. Maybe you are the same so keep that in mind.

Lastly when it comes to being this far front you may be bothered by the galley area either from light intrusion or noise or cooking smells or crew talking and all the other things that happen that far forward. Enough about 1st class.

Now in coach (or some domestic 1st class) there are several pro’s and con’s with the bulkhead. The main one is you may, against your will, have to move. Delta even warns you about this when you book it (well, most times anyway) that you could be asked (i.e. forced) to move if a bassinet has to be attached to the wall or someone with a disability requires that seat. Moving from a great seat to maybe a middle seat in the back is not much fun!

Next, as is often the case with bulkhead rows, is your seat will be less wide due to fixed arm rests that sometimes include the IFE on an arm inside the seat (also further making it smaller). You may or may not like fixed (and smaller) space or you may like this to ensure your own space is your space.

Lastly notice where the tray table is. Yep, in the arm rest not in the seat in front of you since there is not a seat in front of you. For some who have, ah hem, a larger mid area, the tray may not move far enough away from you for comfort (normally not an issue in 1st but on some jets even here).

Well so far it sounds like I am telling you bulkheads are all bad and to be avoided. Not really I just want to cover the negatives before the positives and why I almost always choose the bulkhead my self when I can.

I am a tiny bit claustrophobic as I have already mentioned. I really hate it when someone reclines into my face. Additionally, especially in 1st class, I want to have room to work on my laptop and someone reclining into me means work will not happen.

Next, depending on the jet, you may nor may not have to get up when your seat mate needs to get up. I always try to get up anyway but when with my wife she can crawl around me no problem on almost any Delta bulkhead seat.

Then we have space. Some coach bulkhead rows, especially on international birds, have some of the most generous leg room in main cabin seating. If you are tall you may really like this as it yields as much or more than exit row without being as cold as an exit row seat.

Then, as maybe a minor final plus, if you are in the bulkhead you are likely going to be getting off the jet sooner (with the exception of some rear ones clearly). Depending on your connection time this can make a difference.

So there you are. There really is a lot to consider before you click that bulkhead seat. Are you like me who tends to choose this if open or do you avoid these at all costs? You tell me! – René


Do you prefer Delta bulkhead seats?

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  1. I’m glad to see “No” is winning. I’ll endure the minor drawbacks of a bulkhead seat to avoid having a seat back in my face. Even if it means not having a meal choice on an odd numbered flight.

  2. I agree with Wayne and Chris — not having a reclined seat in your face is important to me!

  3. I like to tuck my carry on under the seat so I have it available if I want to dig out another book, my knitting or computer.

  4. What about those bulkhead seats that do not have a wall in front of them like in some economy cabins. I like those. More roomy to me.

  5. i like my carry in under the seat!!but also like no seat in my face??dilemma

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