Summer Travel 2014: Travel Quirks to Be Proud Of
Sitting in the Back of the Airplane
I like to sit in row 26. It’s easy to reserve, because most people in coach want to sit up front (or, if work’s paying, in business class) so they can disembark faster. But when it’s time to board, I just want to get on. Milling around at the gate is a torture matched only by other passengers’ strange seating rituals, as crews force guests assigned to nearby rows to jostle for the same overhead space. The airlines must know they’re doing it wrong; a 2013 Boeing study found that boarding has slowed 50 percent since 1970. A Dutch carrier recently tried “smart boarding,” wherein seat numbers flash one by one. It was quicker. Until it’s adopted here, you know where to find me. I board first. The rows are less full, and the lavatory is nearby. And what’s the difference if I get off the plane five minutes later? That taxi line still awaits. —Margaret Lyons
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