Seating Preference

Pokhara - An airport with no planes until this one landed

Sometimes there are thoughts that arrive, which won’t go away, no matter how much I tell myself it’s not even remotely interesting enough to write about.  And it seems that the only way to dispense with it is to write it.

Today, it’s not even my fault; I blame the daily prompt from wordpress.  Most days the prompts are so dull they are easily dismissed.  Today’s wasn’t any less mundane, but somehow it’s stuck to the sides.

Do you prefer an aisle or a window seat?

I used to do so much travelling for work, had so many ‘frequent traveller’ registrations that it was on file in several databases that I preferred an aisle set on a plane, a solo seat on Eurostar, a non smoking hotel room and champagne whenever there was any going.

In the times when travelling was still a rarity, I was scornful of those business travellers who demanded the same as last time for every trip; but over the years of going somewhere most weeks, I gradually morphed into one of those people.

I had a routine for each terminal at Heathrow usually focussed on sourcing a bacon sandwich; I allowed enough time at St Pancras for breakfast, knew you had to double back on yourself to find the business lounge at Barcelona airport, greeted the BA ground crew at Newark by name, and learnt to avoid the food at Gare du Nord.

It was a survival mechanism; without it, all the hours in transit would have been intolerable.

It was an aisle seat because I always want to be able to get up without waiting for someone to let me out.  I feel rather claustrophobic otherwise.  Also, I always thought that in the aisle I would have a better chance of saving myself if there was an accident.  I think there may even be statistics that support this belief.

Like most regular travellers, I rarely pay much attention to the life jacket demonstration, but I always count the number of rows between me and the nearest exit so I could make it in the dark if necessary; and I always have my shoes (never the ‘high heels that might tear the evacuation slide’) on at take off and landing, as when the plane is on the ground is the only time you can do anything  to save yourself.  For the rest, the ‘safety briefing’ seems to be just so much PR.

It’s been a delightful respite not to have been to an airport for nearly a year.  The downside is that in that time I think I may have lost the veneer of insulation that smoothed my way through most journeys.


Leave a comment


  1. Rowena,

    Heh, sometimes when you think the subject is mundane-it’s the most interesting topic of all. Well, for me:)

    Your experience has more or less mirrored mine, and by the time I quit flying, with various “elite flyer” programmes I was able to ensure aisle seat/exit row. I’d almost always get that unless I was upgraded. As a very high mileage passenger, gimme the aisle seat/exit row rather than the upgrade.

    Aisle seats are safer.

    I never quite fussed about the food so much. Travel food ain’t brilliant, protein bars in the bag. Soon as we’re up and level, I’m out:)

    I don’t miss it, happy to have me feet on solid ground and I don’t miss the ever-loving security ONE bit!


    • Thanks Brendan. You’re right – I’m not missing ‘security’ either. And good to know I’m not so dull after all!


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