flight seat selection

So, today was the day for my seat ion on my Virgin Atlantic flight. We fly on a Boeing 747-400. I looked at the seat guru and couldn't get my question answered. I'm looking at the back of the plane where there are just two seats side by side. The seat guru says there is extra space where the window seat would have been. My question: Is there a window? Can you see out? Has anyone sat there, are they ok? It is just two of us and my dad would like a window seat to look out, but we hate to disturb people by climbing over our isle seat neighbor.

Posted by Sherry
Campbell River, Canada
198 posts

Hi, We flew home from Heathrow on BA last May and chose the 2 seats in the back of 747-400. Yes, there was a window and space beside the seat where thewindow seat would have been. We picked the 2 seats farthest forward from the washrooms and it was great to be able to get up without disturbing other passengers. We hung out near the galley quite a bit when we got antsy. Funny, never a problem sitting for 9 hours outbound but coming home I get antsy and need to move around.
Would choose those seats again coming home even tho we had to pay. Hope that this helps.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

I don't know about the configuration of that plane. But you should know that you usually can't see much of anything out of an airplane window. 1. For most of the flight, the plane is too high up to see much on the ground. 2. For a lot of this flight, it will be over water (so all you can see is grey ocean). 3. When you're at cruising altitude, you're above the clouds, and these will block any view. 4. A good part of the flight from the US to Europe will be at night.
5. The windows are often scratched, so even when you are below the clouds, over land, during the day, and have something in view, it's not a clear view. I'd hate for your father to be counting on the kinds of views you see in the movies when people look out an airplane window; those are done with special effects, and bear no resemblance to the real thing.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
400 posts

Those seats are the best of both worlds - aisle & window with no third in the middle! Not every day is cloudy - sometimes you can see even from 30,000 to 40,000 (or higher) feet. The views during take-off and landing can be great too - especially at night.

Posted by Kim
San Francisco
119 posts

oh thanks for that tip! i may try to nab those seats when we go. we have 4 (with 2 kids, ages 9 and 11) and I think we would be better off sitting 2 and 2 than 4 across the middle.... not sure, still deciding! Thanks!
Kim

Posted by Susan and Monte
Granite Bay, CA
681 posts

So, you think from that middle seat we can still look out some? My dad loves to fly and many years ago had his pilots liscense, so looking out is really fun for him. I'll grab those seats if you think he will be able to see out. Yes?

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6729 posts

Susan, are these the seats in the rear as the fuslage narrows? Here's a link. http://gyazo.com/9f723a10d617a13c793d2e9d431341fe I was in those seats on a United 747 flight to China several years ago. I was amongst a group of elderly Chinese women with their shopping bags full of cartons of American cigarettes. Very comfortable in the row as you didn't have climb over people from the window seat. As I recall, you can see directly out the window but that's about it. You really can't see down, left or right very much. I'm a nose against the window kind of guy to see as much as I can. The fuslage is also part of my pillow when sleeping. Can't do either with these seats. If I were your father, I would really like business class from my wonderful daughter.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

SeatGuru marks those seats as green, meaning they are good. If there were no window they would say so and would not mark them as green. They do note that you cannot lean your head against the wall. Also, the aisle set, coded yellow, has something underneath the seat so you cannot use it for storage. As for what you can see out the window, if is during the day, you might get lucky and see Greenland as you fly over (if your route goes that way). It is incredibly beautiful. So are the Canadian Rockies, which we have also seen, along with our own Cascade volcanoes as we approach Seattle. We fly BA out of Heathrow and my nose is glued to the window from the time we take off until we are well out over the Atlantic. I try to wake up to check for visibility over Greenland, but sometimes miss it. On the way over, it gets dark shortly after takeoff, but in the morning I also love to see the English countryside and spot landmarks as we come in to Heathrow. Fortunately my husband is content toilet me have the window seat.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3209 posts

Susan and Monte, We always get those seats. They are our absolute favorites in economy. We don't like the very last row b/c the seats don't recline, but the 2nd to last or 3rd to last are our favorites. We've flown in those seats going and coming back for the last 5 trips from SF to Paris or London. They have windows exactly like all the other economy window seat windows. We can see out them perfectly well, and enjoy looking out at everything and anything. There is space between the seat and the window but not enough for a whole other seat, but enough that it makes it difficult to lean against the plane to sleep. Not impossible, but more difficult. That space allows you more room to store stuff there too, rather than in your feet space. We love those seats, no climbing over anyone and we like being close to the bathrooms but no so close that people are standing next to our seats waiting for them. As someone else said, we also enjoy all the room there is at the very back, I get up a lot during a flight and there's enough room at the back to stretch and move around a bit and not be in anyone's way. I also like hanging out with the flight attendants and chatting with them if they're up for it. The only negative is that we are always the last to be served a meal and they usually run out of our 1st choice by the time they get to us.

Posted by Susan and Monte
Granite Bay, CA
681 posts

Thanks so much! I love this sight because you all help me with the smallest details! I got the seats! Great information, thanks!

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4766 posts

I am only amazed that Harold thinks you can't see much of anything out of the window of a plane! I love looking out of the window, even at night time with the moon, stars and clouds or the lights of the cities down below. Daytime you get to watch the sunrise or sunset, the cloud formations, bodies of water with boats and ships, farmland and the myriad designs to be seen, during the fall and spring you get to admire the beautiful color of the trees, and even the change in architecture & roofs that you pass over when in Europe. Have seen the white cliffs of Dover from a plane, and if you are flying over the Med, the colors of the water are gorgeous. I actually find it hard to read a book as I keep looking out the window.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
400 posts

@Susan - "The only negative is that we are always the last to be served a meal and they usually run out of our 1st choice by the time they get to us." Ask the flight attendant to save you the meal you want as they are passing by to go to the other end of the cabin - most will do it! @Jo - Not sure what window Harold is looking out of either! I've always seen plenty too!

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3209 posts

Thanks Christi, tried that last time but was told they couldn't do that. And sure enough, they'd run out by the time they got to us. Will keep trying though :)

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

I will amend my post above to say that I have had at least two very memorable airplane window experiences: When I flew into and out of Los Angeles in the evening, the carpet of lights seemed to go on forever; this plus the undulating terrain made it quite lovely. When I took a red-eye from Las Vegas back to New York, at one point we passed over Detroit. The plane made a slight turn, and suddenly the view was EXACTLY as the city looks in overhead maps. I had not been sure what city we were over, and suddenly I knew. So, I'm not saying you can never see anything out of an airplane window. But I stand by my statement that for a trans-Atlantic flight, much of its duration has little for me to see (particularly from New York, when we are over water for most of it). Obviously, others have had different experiences; let's hear it for diversity!

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
916 posts

Seats at the back catch more noise from engines.
Some flight attendants now insist, at least in economy, that window shades be pulled down during daylight for the sake of the dim and dinky little entertainment screens.