#Wheresmywindow: The woes of air passengers who pay for a window seat without a window
'Some got angry...'
Next time you marvel at the mountains, ocean or city beneath you at 35,000 feet, spare a thought for the passenger who assumed they’d be doing the same.
Except their window seat does not actually have a window.
Delve deep into social media and you’ll find a common occurrence of travellers arriving for their flight, having booked - and sometimes paid for - a seat with a view, only to find the cold, grey cabin wall.
There’s even a hashtag, #wheresmywindow. Sometimes the passenger might receive a slither of light from the seat in front or behind, but either way - it’s not a window.
Some passengers wallowed in the absence of natural light.
Some got angry. But others got creative.
Why do these window seats not have windows?
The quirk is a result of cabin layouts and differs from aircraft to aircraft and airline to airline.
We contacted the world’s two largest aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing, to ask if they had any control over whether all the window seats actually had windows.
Airbus said it’s down to the airlines as they “are the ones with seating maps for their specific cabin products”, while Boeing added that each carrier kits out their own planes and that is where “the decision on interior layout… are made”.
So, basically, they just make the windows.
They shouldn't call it a window seat if there isn't a window. Boo. pic.twitter.com/HemuWjNQnx— Nolan DeWispelare (@ndewisp) August 31, 2017
Luckily, for those who want to ensure they’re never de-windowed, the aircraft reviews website Seat Guru details which aircraft feature seats without windows, and how to avoid them.
An easy one to evaluate is Ryanair as it uses the same aircraft and layout across its entire fleet - 403 Boeing 737-800s.
The airline lets passengers pay to reserve their seats - as has been the talk of the town over the summer - so 11a, which has no window, will set you back €7 each way, though the airline does warn on its site: “This seat has no window.”
It will cost €1 more than the seat behind - 12a - which does have a window. The same is true on the other side of the aircraft for seat 11f.
In a statement Ryanair said:
“There are three seats on all Boeing Next Generation 737-800s that do not have windows. Customers who choose to purchase these seats are advised of this fact during the booking process on the website.”
Norwegian, Southwest and TUIFly, among others, have the same issue on its Boeing 737s. A spokesperson for the manufacturer said it is because of “some ducting risers forward of the wing” on the 737 create a larger gap between windows in that area.
Easyjet, on the other hand, operates two different aircraft - the A319 and A320 (this in two different layouts) - and avoids having windowless window seats in the middle of the cabin, however, some of the seats at the rear of the aircraft are lacking a full view.
It costs £3.99 to reserve this seat - the same as it does all the other seats in the same section (extra leg room and “up front” cost more). A spokesperson for the airline said it does not describe any seat as a window seat, as such, only that you'll be closest to the cabin walls.
The situation reoccurs on the Boeing 777 - used by, for example, Emirates. Seat 15a or k are the ones to avoid.
Indeed, it even seems to happen to those who turn left on entering the aircraft - towards first class. According to Seat Guru, 12a (and 12k), a Club World seat on BA’s configuration of an A380, the world's largest passenger plane, “might be missing a window”.
Reserving that seat could cost passengers £83, in addition to the fare, on a flight to, say, Singapore. A spokesperson for the airline, however, said that the seats do in fact have windows.
Similarly, seats 21a and 21k on Virgin Atlantic’s A330, which serves a number of long-haul destinations, such as New York, appears to lack a view to the outside.
“The window is not present due to structural design of the aircraft,” says Seat Guru.
A spokesperson from Virgin, however, showed on a virtual tour of that aircraft that the window is there, just slightly set back from the seat.
“Due to the structure of the aircraft, windows can sometimes not be directly adjacent to the seat,” the spokesperson said.
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