Productivity in a regional plane – from legroom to card games

When I entered one of these regional planes on my flight from Salzburg to Zurich the other day I stumbled upon a rather surprising seating arrangement. The seats of row one and two were facing each other, to be precise: seats 1d and 1f were opposite 2d and 2f. I was stunned: we were not talking about a bus or a tram, I was about to enter a plane – a small one though, however one which is renowned to carry the rich and famous from the Salzburg festival to other regional hubs in Central Europe.

I must have had this flabbergasted look on my face when I stepped on board of the plane as the air hostess immediately smiled at me and explained: “this is perfectly alright sir, the seats just demand the seat belts to be fastenend a little tighter, you need to sit back well in your seat”, white leather seats to be precise. For all airplane freaks reading this entry: we are talking about a DASH 8-300 – a turbo prop plane.

Seats facing each other, the new trend on planes?
Seats facing each other, the new trend on passenger planes?

My initial thoughts throughout the flight circled around questions of productivity and the first one obviously coming to my mind was about legroom gained for the passengers in the front rows. The friendly hostess tells me that the real gain is one row of seats, though she somehow seems to be astonished about my next question, why they haven’t continued to rearrange the other rows like that.

Beyond this productivity issue I begin to let my ideas fly: traveling with a larger family would allow to chat along, I can see my kids pulling out a set of cards to start a buckethead game, shoes off for sure. This would add to the productivity of parents being left alone for a while when being on a holiday trip.

Lovers would use the space for a certain cosy-ness with entangled legs. But the  real advantage compared to the cheap flights of the major airlines here in Europe would be the lack of legs pressing into your back throughout the flight in this constellation, a tempting thought for everyone above the 6ft mark like myself.

Safety concerns come to my mind – though I somehow remember a friend of mine, a real expert in train travels, mentioning that for safety reasons one should always travel backwards on a train, in case it would break all of a sudden. How does train safety compare to plane safety? I am not sure.

And there are some questions that still remain:
Will they continue to rebuild the other rows on the plane to gain even more space and room for playful plane rides?
When will they introduce tables for card games in the first rows, maybe a simple wooden plate to connect the foldable table on these four seats?
And how about the opposite rows, could we face each other from one side to the other side of the plane? Like in the tube in Berlin or London?

I will keep you posted.

Michael Brecht