Hey, we've made it to the last of the three London posts! Hurrah!
British Airways does this thing where you can't select a seat on the plane until you check in, which can only happen 24 hours before the flight departs. I sorta missed that boat (plane?) and reserved a seat closer to 12 hours before the flight departed, and since everyone else was more on top of things than I was, only the bad seats were left. Cue being stuck in the middle seat for 6.5 hours across the Atlantic.
I was smarter for the trip home. This time I actually remembered that I needed to check in early, and I was delighted to learn that my default seat selection was a window. However, there were a number of seats left, so I looked around to see if there was anything better.
That's when I noticed that the last row on the plane was empty.
At that point I remembered a previous British Air flight where I'd been assigned the back seat. It actually hadn't been bad. The window had been too far forward compared to the seat to actually be functional, but there had been a lot more space between me and the seat in front of me, and there were only two seats per row instead of the regular three due to the shape of the tail of the plane.
So I decided to gamble. I picked the very back row, noting that the aisle seat next to the one I'd selected was still empty. I figured there'd be an infinitesimal chance that it would remain empty and that just maaaaaybe I'd have extra space.
For the first time ever, I got lucky and my gamble actually paid off. Not only was the seat next to me empty, but the entire back row save one seat was empty. In addition, the seats in front of me were empty except for the aisle seat:
The result? It was the most comfortable I could have been unless I had been bumped up to first class. The flight was so relaxing! I actually got to sleep, because there was enough room to stretch out. Another benefit was that I could put my seat all the way back, since there wasn't another row of seats behind me. I could put my knees up on the back of the seat in front of me without disturbing anyone else, since there was no one there. You might even say it was luxurious.
I'm sure the flight attendants, who were all British, thought I was rather improper for having my feet up on the seat. It probably didn't help that I had put on the sweatshirt I'd bought near the Tower of London. It basically screams, I'M A TOURIST! so I made sure I took it off before I went through customs.
Though I love it...it will not be worn in London, ever. US equivalent? The "I ♥ New York" sweatshirts, no doubt.
Regardless, the point of this post is that while the back of the plane tends to be bumpier in turbulence and automatically ensures that you'll be the last person off, it has serious benefits. I'm not sure a small plane would have the added "seat can lean all the way back" feature in the back row, but for large planes? Hoooooo boy, it's awesome. You should probably try it next time you fly and tell me all about it.