As I felt her foot in the middle of my back as she kicked my seat for possibly the 200th time, I made a vow this would never happen to me again.
We were en route from Sydney to Los Angeles, and every few minutes, the passenger behind me would cross her legs, stretch out or wriggle about.
As she did, her knees or feet would smack bang in the middle of my seat. I was jolting my way to the USA.
“Excuse me,” I said as politely as I could manage as I leant over the back of my seat. “I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but you keep kicking my seat. If you would please be careful, I would be grateful.”
“No, yeah, um, I just can’t get comfortable,” came the disinterested reply. “Can’t promise ya nothing, mate.”
It just kept happening, so I buzzed the flight attendant and explained the issue. “Sorry, but we can’t stop another passenger from making themselves comfortable, and we don’t have any spare seats, so you’re stuck with it this time,” was the brush-off.
But it was not the first time this happened, as the same thing went on months before on a flight to Bangkok.
As I later walked down aisle to the bathrooms, I spotted the solution in the look of contentment from the people in the back row of the cabin.
For the first time, I noticed those seats had a wall behind them, and no one was getting kicked there. No wonder those people looked relaxed!
In that instant, I decided the back row would be the only place I would sit on a long flight from now on. Sure enough, on my next flight to Europe, I booked into the back row of the cabin and, even better, my seat was the one next to the window.
As I nestled into that corner, I discovered what true airline love is about. I had just found the best seat on the plane.
I have happily paid extra to book the back-row-of-cabin-in-the-corner-seat and, on occasion, even changed my travel dates to secure it.
Depending on the cabin configuration, there can also be a number of these seats available throughout the craft.
So I’m always astounded when other travellers call my favourite seat the worst seat on the plane, with a long list of whines. “But the back row has no recline?” they cry.
As a matter of fact, on most of airlines I have flown, they do indeed recline. “You’re in front of the toilets and can hear it flush!” is another. Ever heard of earplugs and noise-cancelling headphones?
“But you are wedged in and it’s claustrophobic?” I enjoy being away from the traffic, so that’s fine by me.
“You have to climb over other people to get out!” No one has ever said no or huffed about me needing to attend to bodily functions. Then again, I always ask nicely.
When debating where to sit on a plane in the past, I used to determinedly stick up for my favourite spot, but not any longer.
I don’t want this overlooked gem to suddenly find itself in hot demand. That seat with the image problem suits me just fine.