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I am planning to travel from Madrid to Mexico City on IB6409, and I want to choose a seat with lots of leg rooms, I think they're called bulkhead seats, the seats that are next to the emergency exit. But since I will be traveling only with carry on and a small backpack, I was wondering if choosing this seat is the best option.

Do these seats have overhead storage for the carry on? what about the backpack, no seat in-front, so where does this go? (valuable items which I prefer to be close to me).

In the attached picture you can see the seating options from Iberia website. It costs 76$ to upgrade to the seat marked in blue. Is it a good seat?

14-37 38-53

  • 3
    seatguru.com – CMaster Sep 8 '15 at 13:12
  • It appears that the row showing up as 40 in the pictures above is shown as row 37 on SeatGuru's page for Iberia's A340-600. – reirab Sep 8 '15 at 19:23
  • Interestingly, flightaware lists the equipment for this flight as sometimes being A346 and other times being A345, but neither SeatGuru nor Iberia's website seems to make any mention of them even having any A345s in their fleet. – reirab Sep 8 '15 at 19:36
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That looks like an exit row, no? Check seatguru.com to make sure. I've never sat in a plane where they've LET you put your bags in the exit row. I've regularly sat in that row, and it's considered a safety hazard during takeoff/landing to have your bag there.

So steps:

  1. Check for space above you - there WILL be an overhead bin.
  2. If that fails, check the one behind or next to you.
  3. If that fails, one of the staff will find a place for it for you.

If it's bulkhead, they might still be iffy about you putting it on the floor, usually it has to go in an overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. As you might not have one, you can follow the above three steps again.

Short answer - don't worry about your bags, decide if the seat is what you want first. If you can't find somewhere for you bags, the staff will help you.

  • On some flights they don't let you have your backpack anywhere except in the storage units. Even some small bags aren't allowed laying around, regardless of exit row or not. Though you can hide this from them. – insidesin Sep 8 '15 at 14:49
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    Having a bag under the seat in front on an exit row has never been an issue the few times I had one flying American. A thread on flyertalk suggests that it's commonly allowed by US carriers but not in many other parts of the world. – Dan Neely Sep 8 '15 at 15:07
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    @DanNeely It's certainly disallowed on Iberia, and AFAIK on all European flights. – gsnedders Sep 8 '15 at 19:19
  • @gsnedders Yeah, the SeatGuru page for this aircraft mentions that it's not allowed for the seat in this question (which SeatGuru shows as row 37 instead of row 40.) – reirab Sep 8 '15 at 19:27
  • @reirab Assuming the SeatGuru diagram is to scale; the gap between rows there is a lot larger than the few extra inches in the narrow bodies MD80s I've gotten exit rows on. Putting your bag under a seat a yard or two forward would be more inconvenient than putting it in a nearby overhead bin. – Dan Neely Sep 8 '15 at 21:19
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Just to follow up on what Mark Mayo said: in these seats you will not be able to put your backpack under the seat, so it will have to go in an overhead bin. This is an exception to the common rule that you only get to put one carry-on bag in the overhead bin and the other must go under the seat.

This means you will have to stand up to access that bag, and this will not be possible during takeoff, landing or turbulence, when the seat belt sign is on. It also means your valuables will be a little further from you. So if you choose such a seat you should plan accordingly.

Also, if the overhead bins near you are full when you get on, your bag and backpack may have to be put in a bin somewhere else in the cabin, so that you'd have to walk to reach it.

And if all the bins on the plane should be full, your bag and backpack may have to be gate checked. They would give you the opportunity to take out medicines or anything else that it is essential for you to keep with you.

  • It may be wise to wear something with plenty of pockets for takeoff/landing, especially as takeoff can last quite a while. – Chris H Sep 8 '15 at 15:34
  • "This is an exception to the common rule that you only get to put one carry-on bag in the overhead bin and the other must go under the seat." - is that a common rule? All flights on which I remember something was said on the issue invariably stated that heavy items must be stored under the front seat and everything else must go in the overhead bins, with flight attendants usually trying to persuade passengers into putting everything in the overhead bin unless the passengers really insist they want to keep their backpack with themselves, under the seat in front. – O. R. Mapper Sep 8 '15 at 22:51
  • @O.R.Mapper: Well, it is in my US-based flying experience. There seems to always be an announcement to the effect of "Please place your personal item under the seat, using the overhead bins only for larger carry-ons." The idea is that, on full flights (which are common) the overhead bins are likely to fill, requiring some carry-ons to be gate checked. If passengers use the bins for items that could fit under the seat, the bins get even more full and more items have to be gate checked. So they want to ensure that maximal use is made of the space under the seats. – Nate Eldredge Sep 8 '15 at 23:08
  • @NateEldredge: Ok, I see. I'm used to safety instructions like this, this, or this, which amount to saying that light luggage should be put in the overhead bins, and heavy luggage should be put under the seat in front. Hence, there might be a difference in regulations; if those the videos I linked to are EU-wide, Iberia would probably be subject to the same procedures. – O. R. Mapper Sep 8 '15 at 23:52
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The seats you are looking at are exit row seats (actually exit doors). The aisle seat has lots of leg room, but the window side seat has part of the door blocking some of that leg room.

There should be a partial overhead bin above you, but not for large bags only small ones. You may need to put your bag across the aisle or over a row behind you.

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I can't speak for this plane/flight in particular but I've been seated in exit row seats where you're still able/expected to put your backpack under the seat in front of you. In my case I set my bag on the floor and pushed it under the seat with my feet. Getting it out is a little trickier unless you can loop the straps around your foot and pull. Of course, by the time you want access to the bag you can unbuckle and lean down to get it.

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A clarification that might be helpful: exit row and bulkhead are two different things: exit row means just that: a row where there is an emergency exit (door or hatch). These almost always have extra leg room. Bulkhead seats are those that have a wall or divider in front. These may or may not have extra leg room. Some configurations have much less leg room at the bulkhead, while others have more. Sometimes the same bulkhead row has one side with more leg room than the other. One advantage to bulkhead seats is that there isn't a seat in front, so no one is reclining into your space. Bulkhead seats do not have space under the seat in front, so all carry-on items must go in a bin for takeoff and landing.

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