Glossary of Airline Seating Terms

AC Power
If your seat is equipped with AC Power, then all you'll need is the standard wall power brick that came with your laptop or other electrical device. The power on the plane is typically 110V AC and features a semi-universal receptacle. Read more in our Guide to In-flight Power and Adapters.
Audio and Video on Demand is the newest personal entertainment system available. If your Personal TV is equipped with AVOD you will have the ability to start and stop television, movies and music programming.
Bassinet Location
Aircraft that travel on longer routes often provide bassinets (upon prior request) for passengers traveling with small infants. These bassinets can only be used at certain bulkhead areas on the airplane.
A physical barrier often found separating service classes. Read more in our Bulkheads 101 article.
Cigarette Power
aka DC Power
Usually reserved for First Class passengers, this is a small area that accepts hanging garment bags or other odd-shaped items. Use of the closet is at the discretion of the flight attendant (so be nice!)
Crew Rest
An area of the plane that is a reserved rest area for the Flight Attendants or Pilots (i.e. the Crew), but often only for very long flights. It can be a special area or just regular seats that are not pre-assigned to passengers.
DC Power
This is the same type of power port available in almost every car. On an airplane, it typically features 15V DC Power at up to 75 watts per outlet. To use your laptop with it, you may need a special adapter. Read more in our Guide to In-flight Power and Adapters.
Technically defined as a flight that travels within the same country, this website however, defines Domestic flights as ones in the USA.
Emergency Equipment
Oxygen containers, rafts, flashlights, and other emergency equipment that is often stored in a designated overhead bin, which can make it hard to find room for your bags if this equipment is directly above your seat.
EmPower is the most widely installed in-seat power system in the skies today. EmPower features 15V DC power at up to 75 watts per outlet. To use your laptop with it, you may need a special adapter. Read more in our Guide to In-flight Power and Adapters.
Entertainment Equipment Box
On planes that feature a Personal TV or In-flight Power connections, a small metal box is often mounted underneath each seat containing the electronics for those amenities. This box can inhibit your legroom.
Exit Door
A full-sized exit door just (just like the one you use to board and de-plane entered the plane). An emergency slide is often packed into the door and creates a bulge on the interior of the plane. This can be bothersome to the seat directly next to the door because it intrudes on your personal space. Also, it can get colder by these doors.
Exit Row
When an Exit Door or Window Exit is found in the row you are sitting in, your entire row is designated as the Exit Row. Exit Row seats are often reserved until the day of travel and there are requirements that must be met to sit in this row.
Flight Attendant
An acronym to help you remember that American Airlines serves its first class customers from the Front on Even numbered flights and the Back on Odd numbered flights. Being served first usually results in getting your first choice of meals.
Flat Bed Seat
When fully reclined, these seats are completely horizontal, creating a bed that is fully flat. These seats always receive high accolades for being comfortable both as seats and beds. This type of seat is only available in Business and/or First Class of certain airlines.
Foot Cutout
Some Bulkheads contain a small area near the floor that has been enlarged to allow you to place your feet for extra comfort. Occasionally, the entire bulkhead stops about one foot from the floor which can allow for both baggage storage and foot room.
Technically defined as a flight that travels between two countries, this website however, defines International flights as ones that travel outside the USA.
Jump Seat
A special seat used by airline flight attendants and crew members during take-off and landing. Typically the bottom of the seat folds up when the seat is not in use. Passengers are not allowed to use these seats.
Often found only on planes that travel Internationally, this is a device that allows for ones legs to be supported and extended. It is rarely found in Coach or Economy, and more typically in Business or First Class.
Lie-Flat Seat
While airlines often market these seats as having 180 degrees of recline, in their fully reclined position they are slightly angled and do not lay completely horizontal. Passengers often find these seats to be extremely comfortable for relaxing and working, but not conducive to sleep when in the fully reclined position because of the awkward angle. This type of seat is only available in Business and/or First Class of certain airlines.
Lumbar Support
Extra support or padding for the lower back that is built into a seat and can typically be controlled manually or electronically by the passenger. Typically in Business or First Class.
Misaligned Window
Windows are a set distance apart, but seats can be spaced in many different ways. Sometimes this will result in a seat being between two windows. You'll have to lean forward or recline to get a good view out of this type of window.
Missing Window
There are areas of the plane where air ducts or wires are run behind the wall. When this is required, it is not possible to have a window in this location, so instead, a solid blank wall will be there instead. Yes, airlines still advertise the seat as a "Window Seat" even though there is no window.
An "Operational Upgrade" occurs when the Economy section of the plane is oversold, but there are seats available in a premium class, and the airline gate agent will be forced to move an Economy passenger to the premium cabin. This is basically a "free" upgrade.
Overhead Bin
The shared place above your seat that allows for bag storage. Airlines restrict the size and weight of bags in these compartments. Be sure to check the restrictions before your flight.
Overhead TV
A television or screen that can be viewed by multiple passengers. It is typically located overhead and is spaced every 3-4 rows apart. Only one program is shown at a time, though the soundtrack is often available in multiple languages.
Personal TV
A small television screen located directly at your seat. You'll often have a selection of movies or television shows to choose from during your flight.
Pilot Rest
An area of the plane that is a reserved rest area for the pilots, but often only for very long flights. A pilot rest is typically a premium seat, such as a First or Business Class seat.
Power Port
A power port, usually located in the seat arm rest, enables you to plug in electronic devices such as laptops and portable DVD players while on the plane. If there is a power port location at your seat it will be noted by a black dot on the SeatGuru seating map; the Seat Map Key provides an illustration. Read more in our Guide to In-flight Power and Adapters.
Recliner Seat
These seats do not offer the significant recline of the Lie-flat and Flat Bed Seats, but still offer excellent space and comfort. This type of seat is only available in Business Class of certain airlines.
Seat Pitch
Seat Pitch is the distance from any point on one seat to the exact same point on the seat in front or behind it. While it is not the exact equivalent of "legroom", it does give a very good approximation of how much seat room you should expect. Bottom line: the more seat pitch the better.
Seat Width
Seat Width is typically the distance between armrests on a seat. If there is no armrest, the seat cushion is assumed to be the seat width. Bottom line: the more seat width the better.
Service Cart
A specially designed rolling cart that fits in the aisle of the plane and is used by the flight attendants to serve food and drinks to passengers.
Standard Seat
A seat with no differentiating qualities.
Stationary Armrest
When the armrest can't be lifted up, it is called a stationary armrest. These are typically found on the aisle, or when a tray table is located inside the armrest at a bulkhead.
These are small areas of the plane that are most commonly used by Flight Attendants to store safety equipment or service items.
Tray Table
The small table often found on the back of the seat in front of you. Sometimes the tray table is located in your armrest.
Upper Deck
Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A380 aircraft have an Upper Deck with passenger seating. This seating is often Business or First Class. The Upper Deck is accessible via a staircase from the main cabin area.
Window Exit
Typically located over the wing, this is a smaller opening than an Exit Door and is only used in an emergency. While passengers who sit near the window exit often enjoy additional leg room, there can also be downsides like reduced recline, lack of an armrest, cooler temperatures, or reduced seat padding.