Exit row seat extra legroom rear of MD-88 airplane
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Three Reasons I Was Glad to Sit Near the Back of the Airplane Today

sat three rows from the rear of the airplane in a window seat on a flight today — and there were three reasons I was glad to sit near the back of the airplane even though I strongly prefer to sit as close as possible to the front of the airplane.

Changing Flights Was a Better Idea Than I Thought

It all started when I arrived at the airport early enough where there was another flight to the same destination which was scheduled earlier that the one to which I was originally supposed to be a passenger.

When I arrived at the gate for the earlier flight, passengers had just started boarding. It appeared as though the airplane was going to be crowded for the earlier flight; and there was a possibility where I might be upgraded to a seat in the premium class cabin on the later flight.

“I was thinking about switching flights,” I said to the gate agent, “but this flight looks like it is crowded.”

“Well, you only have a few more minutes to make your decision,” the gate agent responded. “If you want to change your flight, go to the help desk over there.”

I went over to the help desk — which was conveniently located between the gates of the two flights — and successfully changed to become a passenger on the earlier flight…

…and just after that happened — I mean literally minutes after I was assigned a seat abroad the airplane for the earlier flight — an announcement over the public address system revealed the news that the flight on which I was originally a passenger was going to be delayed at least 45 minutes. When I checked later after I had already arrived at my destination, the flight on which I was originally supposed to be a passenger would up being officially delayed by one hour and 27 minutes; and the airplane arrived at its destination one hour and 24 minutes late.

I truly lucked out — but that is not all.

Why I Liked the Seat Near the Back of the Airplane

“I hope my seat is not somewhere in the back of the airplane,” I said to the gate agent when I returned to the gate to board the airplane for the earlier flight.

“That is all we have left,” the gate agent responded.

It really was no big deal. The duration of the flight was expected to last one hour and 57 minutes; so it was a fairly short flight.

33A was the seat assignment printed on my new boarding pass. Oh, well — at least it is a window seat, which I usually prefer; and the weather was nice outside. I boarded the McDonnell Douglas MD-88 aircraft — and I find this seat after I placed my bag in the overhead storage bin and settled in:

Exit row seat extra legroom rear of MD-88 airplane
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.


There was no seat in front of me. I had more legroom than any other passenger aboard the aircraft — except when the flight attendant sat in the jump seat in front of me during take-off and landing. Even then, I still had ample legroom — certainly more legroom that the passengers within the immediate vicinity.

Two other minor negative aspects of seat 33A are that there is no seat in front of me — which means no tray table unless it is pulled out of the armrest on the right side of the seat; and even then, hoping that the passenger seated in the middle seat was not using the armrest when wanting to pull out the tray table — and that the seat was only one row in front of the row next to the engine on the left side of the aircraft; so there was more noise than usual.

Early Arrival

In addition to catching an earlier flight, the airplane arrived at its destination 15 minutes early. That was a nice bonus. Need I say more?


There have been times where I have also regretted deciding to take the earlier flight on those occasions when the later flight actually departed earlier after there was an announcement that the airplane on the earlier flight suddenly is having mechanical difficulties; so taking an earlier flight does not guarantee that you will arrive at your destination earlier.

Unless you only have a few minutes to arrive at a decision, always research your options carefully. Factors include but are not limited to the duration of the flight; the weather along the expected flight route; whether or not there is a tight connection to another flight; the likelihood of being upgraded to a seat in the premium class cabin versus sitting in the economy class cabin; a comparison of the benefits and disadvantages of both types of airplanes; and the number of passengers which will seem to be on either airplane.

In my case, the two airplanes were both of the same type; and the flight itself was smooth and uneventful because the weather was nice. Thankfully, everything worked out well for me earlier today.

All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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