#913 Having a whole row to yourself on the plane

It was like a mirage.

There I was, a few years ago, sitting in the middle seat of a plane set for take off, and there sat an empty aisle seat to my right. I was belted in and cramped and it just sat there vacant, while overhead bins were slamming shut, flight attendents were bringing out blankets, and people started thumbing mindlessly through inflight magazine articles about exotic hotel lobbies.

The plane looked full, the plane looked settled, so I quickly made my stealth, ninja-like swap into the empty seat like a champion. I moved and sat there with a big smile, lots of elbow room, and my legs comfortably extended into the aisle. Truly, it was heaven.

Then suddenly a big guy in a tight business suit lumbered down the aisle just heaving, sweat dripping down his forehead, tongue wagging out his mouth like a dog, eying my row from a distance. I knew the jig was up, so I moved back to the middle seat as he settled in. Turns out he slept through his alarm and had to race to the airport. Nope, no time for a shower, just a full day’s worth of grease on his glistening neck. I voluntarily sacrificed the arm rest when his forehead began dripping on me, and then tried to enter a cocoon-like state of flying hibernation, covering myself in a blanket, crossing my arms and legs, and trying to go to sleep.

And that’s sort of how most plane rides go for me.

But every so often, every once in a while, I’ll end up on a pretty empty plane and score an entire row to myself. And that’s when the perks start piling up. You know how it is:

  • Pee Freely. Yup, get up and go whenever you like, because you won’t need to awkwardly limbo past anyone’s drink tray. Bonus: No awkward crotch-in-the-face moments.
  • Window and aisle. It’s great looking out the window, but unfortunately the person sitting closest to the window gets all window-shade rights. They may close the window completely or block the view when you want a peek. When you get your own row though, you get both.
  • Rest your arms. All arms rests become yours for the taking. Left arm, right arm, it doesn’t matter. There’s no need to worry about getting the bump-off.
  • Go sideways. This isn’t always easy, but you might be able to pull off the ‘row nap’, where you flip up all the armrests up and turn three seats into a bed. Forget those pricey lay-down seats in first class — this here’s the econo-bed and it works just as well.

Yes, having a whole row by yourself on the plane is a pretty sweet deal. You can almost pretend that you’re magnificently rich and you paid for the other seats just to buy yourself some breathing room. Because seriously, flying ain’t always a lot of fun, and so that extra elbow room can make the difference between three hours of misery and three hours of bliss. And that’s something worth celebrating.

AWESOME!

The dream

Photos from: here and here

15 Comments

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15 responses to “#913 Having a whole row to yourself on the plane

  1. Never thought this would make it to the list here but yeah it is! :)
    HEAVENLY!!! :D
    And to me this happened on two separate flights on the same day!
    In the second flight I had ALL THREE SEATS to myself! All i wanted to do was haul the arm-rests up, stretch on the the seats and take a nap! ;) :P

  2. I haven’t flown often enough to enjoy this.

    In fact, the first time I got on a plane, it was one of those tiny regional ones that fit about twenty people and is likely to plummet from the sky if those twenty people move around too much.

    Good thing I had nothing to compare that flight with…

  3. Only had the pleasure of this once in my life, it’s amazing! Was on a transatlantic flight the other day and the plane was jammed full apart from the row across from me where a guy had an entire row to himself and was blissfully napping..how does that happen?!

    Second most awesome is scoring a seat either at the front with super-extra leg room, so good on 9-hour flights!

  4. Vin

    Oh i’m on the plan and i have one raw for me just now!!! It’s fantastic!

  5. umsami2010

    I am a bigger gal and always try to schedule of flight plans that tend to be not overfull. Once I was waiting in Detroit airport for a red-eye to Amsterdam and I noticed..Gee the waiting area by the gate sure didn’t seem that full. So I looked at the counter and saw a cute young perky blond gal, and a gruff looking older Arab guy working the counter. The line for the gal was long, for the guy short. I popped in the guy’s line and when I got to the front, I greeted him with one of the few Arabic greetings I knew, and he gave the biggest smile! I asked him if the plane was full and he said, no, only about half full. I asked then, “I am a bigger gal – is it possible to make sure my seat is next to an empty seat, please?” Click click click click on his computer, and he looked up and asked me, “Does it matter where you sit?” I said as long as I am on the inside, I don’t care. Click click click click. “There,” he says, “I have blocked off the entire last row for you, so no one can be moved there! The arm rests go all the way up – you can lay and have a bed to sleep!” I almost kissed him, but instead just profusely thanked him (and then noticed that the line for the gal was still long, and I could tell that many people were too intimidated to go to the Arab guy – this was in 2003).

    So, I got on the plane, went back to my row, and got comfy, and said a little prayer for Mohammad the detroit airport counter guy, for being a kind guy (who was probably just happy that a blond gal knew some arabic and chose his line!). Made my day, my flight, and a place in my heart!

  6. Sara Mc

    That’s happened to me a couple of times. It’s definitely not something anyone should take for granted!
    Is there anything more awkward than crotch/butt-in-the-face moments? It’s such a humbling experience for both parties.

  7. Jane Kulbida

    Even better is being the only one in the exit row! Awesome!

  8. Absolutely agree with you!! I haven’t been the only one in a row for a while – but I have been in rows where you at least get to share the middle with the person on the other side, so seat and a half – yay!

  9. Max

    I’ve never had a whole row on the plane to myself before. It seems really awesome though. I don’t like flying on planes, but I love traveling to new places. I need a jetpack or something. Or wings.

    • Jetpack or wings would be nice. I’ve never been on a plane, so I don’t know the joys of having a whole row to myself, but I’m pretty sure it is awesome.

  10. I hope some day to be such a worldly traveler that I get to experience this!

  11. Go to europe, fly in some low cost company and u ll have this pleasure million times… i had it like 10x this year, althought i didnt enjoy much

  12. why isnt there more information? im guessing it was a suicide as said earlier, but i would like to know what happened. i think students deserve to know what took place on campus. seems like the school is trying to sweep this under the bed, so to speak

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