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On a recent flight on a Boeing 737, I asked a cabin crew member which seat would be best to take to minimize the audible exposure to engine noise as I was nervous about flying. He responded with 'It's impossible to say, we are a new crew', which did little to settle my nerves.

I ended up sitting in seat 23 C, which turned out to be very loud compared to my other option of 7 D.

So, for future flights on the Boeing 737 and my other usual the A320-200, which seat(s) will be quietest?

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    Just a small note; from a cabin crew point of view, one aircraft model is not particularly different from another. Sure, a B737 is different from a B777 is different from an A320 is different from a MD11, but in terms of what the cabin crew can ever reasonably expect to need to deal with, including most kinds of emergency situations, they are similar enough that skills should readily transfer from one to another. However, that knowledge wouldn't answer your specific question, as that would require highly specific knowledge about the type. – a CVn May 8 '18 at 18:28
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    You might get a better answer to this on travel.SE. Different airlines have different seat layouts and interior features that can affect the noise levels and comfort in general. IMO that's more passenger-related than aviation-related. – Pondlife May 8 '18 at 19:25
  • I agree with Pondlife. According to the [on-topic page for Aviation]() questions about passenger issues on airlines are not on-topic here. However, this seems perfectly on-topic at Travel.SE to me (as a somewhat regular user of that site also.) – reirab May 9 '18 at 9:32
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    I'd rather listen to a CFM56 than screaming babies, but maybe that's just me. – Mike Harris May 9 '18 at 18:09
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Anything level with the engine or rearward thereof will be noisiest during almost all phases of flight. They don't call it the "business end" of the engine for no reason!

Some people have complained about increased ambient noise (not necessarily engine-related) at the very front of aircraft, so I would suggest something not first few rows but no further back than the engines would provide the quietest ride. Also, an aisle rather than window seat is definitely better, in terms of engine and wind caused noise.

JetBlue were asked this question enough to produce a video: http://blog.jetblue.com/where-are-the-quietest-seats-on-a-plane/

If it is not just noise, but comfort, I have heard many anecdotal reports of over the wings being the most stable place to sit, where you will feel less turbulence. But that will come with some increased noise as noted above.

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    Can also get some noise cancelling headphones, they take a lot of noise away. – CrossRoads May 8 '18 at 14:44
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    The 'business' end of the engine should be the front because business class is generally located in front of it. :P – reirab May 9 '18 at 9:33
  • @reirab ha, perhaps you're right. I call the "blowey" bit the business end, but perhaps its the "sucky" bit for the reason you mentioned. – Jamiec May 9 '18 at 10:30
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    @WGroleau I dont know where you get that turbulence is greater at the wings roots. Its well known to be the opposite - centre of the aircraft being most stable (Aircraft balance tends to pivot around about the wing roots) – Jamiec May 10 '18 at 13:55
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    @WGroleau The wing box is the center of mass which will tend to move less than the extremities when the aircraft pitches or yaws. Since roll happens on the same axis as the fuselage, it's the same throughout. Same on a sea going vessel where midship is generally best if your prone to motion sickness. :( – Johns-305 May 11 '18 at 11:02
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The only noticeably quieter ride I've ever experienced has been the very front rows of an DC-9/MD-80 family aircraft (or similar) because of the tail mounted engines.

In every other aircraft, 737 & A320 families included, the noise level has been essentially the same throughout the cabin, so...

The quietest place on the aircraft is the one where you're wearing noise-cancelling headphones.

  • This doesn't actually answer the question... sorry but downvoted – Cloud May 10 '18 at 11:59
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    @Cloud Well, except that it 100% does answer the question in that I address noise within the aircraft and provide an example of a rare difference. But thanks for the example of a wrong Downvote! – Johns-305 May 10 '18 at 14:34
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    @Cloud Sorry but this is absolutely an answer. The question is "Which are the quietest seats?" John's answer is that there are no meaningfully "quietest seats" because they're all basically the same. If you believe this answer is wrong, by all means downvote it. But flagging is not for "this answer is wrong", unless perhaps it's dangerously wrong, which this clearly isn't. – David Richerby May 10 '18 at 16:48
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    I've flown a lot on both aircraft types (A319 more than 320 but it's the same plane, just shorter) and I'm inclined to agree with this answer. It might be slightly noisier immediately behind the wings but not to a degree that it's noticeable. On the other hand, turboprops like the Dash 8-Q400 are noticeably quieter behind the engines, especially at the rear of the cabin. – Jim MacKenzie May 10 '18 at 17:00
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    @Cloud, please provide evidence that Johns is lying about his experience. If you have none, please delete your accusation. – WGroleau May 11 '18 at 8:20
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An article on Daily Mail reveals that aisle seats in the front rows are quiter. The numbers of quite rows for Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 are also explicitly mentioned in that article.

For passengers flying with a budget airline, they will need to be in the first 14 rows on Ryanair’s fleet of Boeing 737s, or in the first six to eight rows on easyJet’s Airbus A319 or A320 aircraft.

Since those row numbers are for low-cost airlines only, they are very likely to be expensive (e.g. business, first class) for the other airlines.

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Not to denounce engine noise, but i have kids and they now put all the screaming kids in the back of the airplane just fyi. Stay away from the back of the plane if you are worried about noise in general, not just engine noise.

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    Not true. Many flights let the passengers choose their seats. On others, I have noticed kids in all directions. – WGroleau May 10 '18 at 8:17

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