Here’s the seatmap for a flight I just booked. You’ll see I selected an extra legroom aisle seat, and opted not to select the bulkhead row. This is an American Airlines MD80.
Bulkhead seats often have better legroom than even ‘main cabin extra’ or ‘economy plus’ types of seating. At a minimum you don’t have anyone reclining into your space. As a result, bulkhead seats are very popular.
On the other hand, I avoid bulkhead seats when I can for three reasons:
- They’re narrower. They usually have tray tables in the armrests, so the armrests don’t move.
- Carry on bags have to go in the overhead, not at your feet. That means you may need to board earlier to ensure you get convenient space.
- Since you can’t put any bags at your feet, larger electronics have to remain in the overhead for takeoff and landing. If you use a laptop you have to get up to get it, once it’s permissible to do so, instead of just grabbing it within arm’s length.
A whole separate issue of course is whether to take the side with 2 seats (which have smaller overhead bins above them) or 3 seats (where there’s a chance of an empty middle seat next to you)…
Do you choose or avoid bulkhead rows?