Choosing your seat on a plane is a science. As a fairly frequent traveller I take this job seriously as I tend to fly the cheapest, nastiest, most inflexible ticket available. This is particularly important on long haul flights, and in case you’re interested and ever find yourself booking a seat in World Traveller (Cattle) on a BA 747-400, Seats 52B/J are the seats to go for.
You have a window seat so are undisturbed, you have space to your left/right for bags and extra legroom into the row 51A/K space in front of you. I had seat 52B on the way out to Dallas, unfortunately on the return leg I was late selecting and ended up with seat 55G – that’s the right hand yellow coloured aisle seat on row 55 (see link below).
Hang on, you said you booked 55G Andy, but this blog is titled 55E?
Let me explain …
Upon arrival at 55G, the air stewardess asked me if the elderly lady in 55F could have my seat as she would need to ‘use the toilet frequently’ (she whispered this for full effect). The elderly lady was Indian and didn’t speak English so her son interpreted for her. Her son was in 55E, so they had the two middle seats on the back row. She looked sad and a little scared, rather frail looking too. I couldn’t say no, so I offered to swap with her, only to find the son took 55G, whilst elderly lady remained in 55F and I was left with 55E. Needless to say 55D was also occupied (by a middle aged lady).
The son of the elderly lady then proceeded to drink 7 (seven) cans of Heineken before the plane had even left American airspace, and was refused an 8th by the senior steward in charge.
It turns out the elderly lady didn’t need the loo but her son certainly did!! What a stroke of luck for him!! One minute consigned to a middle seat with a serious drinking habit and a slack bladder, only to find he had duped the English guy on the aisle into a swap!!
Being the back row, there is very little seat recline due to the wall of the toilets (for there are 4 of them) located directly behind, and in flight, there is a constant queue in the aisles on both sides of row 55 as rows 40-55 (3+4+3 = 10 x 15 = 150 – 10 = 140) stand in line to empty their bladders.
I calculated. If a passenger needed the toilet on average every 3 hrs then on a 9hr journey that’s 3 trips to the traps situated by row 55. Multiply that by the 140 passengers in that section of the plane and that equates to 3 x 140 = 420 toilet door openings, 420 toilet door closings and 420 associated chemical scented toilet flushes plus assorted peripheral odours *cough*.
And if, of those 420 trips, every 10th one was for a poo, that’s an additional 42 headily scented aromas thrown into the aromatic mix and ambience now permeating row 55.
Also, whenever anyone uses toilet L1 (upper left quadrant), the wall of said toilet wall at the back of seat 55E rattles each time the door opens and closes, and it judders/bangs the back of seat 55E.
If the four toilets are used evenly throughout the journey, that’s approximately 105 bangs x 2 (1 on way in and 1 on way out) = 210 on a 9hr flight from Dallas to London, so that’s 1 bang to the back of seat 55E every 2.5 minutes, for 9 hours.
If 55E and row 55 were for sale in an estate agents window it would say something like this:
“Adjacent to 55D and F, 55E has to be seen to be believed, and is within close proximity of the toilets which are ideally suited for the elderly, the insecure, the alcoholic and the infirm.
On row 55 you NEVER need waste another journey waiting in line for the loo. That’s because there are no less than 4 (FOUR!) toilets within easy reach, and should your eyesight be problematic, worry not because your nose and ears will tell you every time the toilet doors are opened and closed!!
And as well as neighbours on both sides, you are also treated to an endless stream of (bladder filled and gas ladened) visitors who form a permanent queue right by your row! Don’t be a stranger! Move to row 55 NOW and make many NEW friends!!!”
Incidentally, the yellow colour of row 55 on the seatguru site link above indicates there are “some drawbacks”. You have been warned.