If you book a window seat for a flight you expect… well, to have a window.
But in the weird and wonderful world of airlines, that’s not actually always the case.
Some ‘window’ seats are actually windowless, so instead of scenic views, passengers are left stating at a boring grey panel. Not exactly ideal.
In fact, passengers have been taking to Twitter to share their woes upon discovering their bland view for the next few hours – it’s even sparked its own hashtag, #Wheresmywindow.
So, why do planes feature these odd seats?
It’s really mainly to do with the cabin layout. While manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing provide the planes, it’s the airlines which choose the layout of their cabins inside.
It’s why you may spot the windowless seats on certain flights but not others, even if the airlines use the same aircraft type.
Often the panel is there because it forms the main body of the aircraft, so it can’t just be changed to feature a window.
For example, Virgin Australia explained on its blog that seat 9A on its Boeing aircraft is usually windowless, because the panel is used to hold the air conditioning distribution ducts which lead to the vents above passengers’ heads.
Unfortunately, even if you’ve paid to select a seat because you specifically wanted the window, you won’t be getting your money back, as to most airlines, a seat is a seat.
It’s worth noting that some airlines do try and flag to passengers when booking that their seat choice doesn’t actually have a window.
For example, Ryanair has a small pop-up message that warns customers. (Oh, and if you are booking with Ryanair, it’s worth noting that the windowless seats often tend to be 11A and 11F, in case you have paid to select a seat).
Alternatively, it’s worth checking out websites such as SeatGuru which lets you check the seats on your flight and points out any that may be windowless.
Still, it’s not all bad.
The silver lining is that if you do end up with a windowless seat, at least if you’re feeling sleepy there’s something to lean on when you have a snooze…