Humor: Typical Airliner Seating Chart

Humor: Typical Airliner Seating Chart

I have been a long time fan of the xkcd comics, the author Randall Munroe has been posting since 2005 a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language. Occasionally I come across one of his comics that comments on aviation and somehow I always have a good chuckle.

His comic posted December 1st was again another one that made me pause and chuckle, and when you look even closer you see just how absurd and funny it is.

Typical Seating Chart

xkcd/Typical Seating Chart

Let's break down everything we see here because it's a lot:

  • Cowcatcher: Usually found on a train, the cowcatcher is meant to be a way of deflecting objects from train tracks. For an airplane however I'm sure it'll mostly be deflecting clouds. Fun fact: A cowcatcher is nicknamed a "pilot"
  • Please only pick these seats if you're a pilot: Obviously these are the pilot seats and should only be booked by qualified pilots. But maybe if I could select them I would just for the fun of it.
  • Main stage: It looks as if they've turned the First Class section of this plane into a concert where at the very front we have the stage.
  • Mosh pit: Because of course if you're going to have a concert in the sky you need a mosh pit.
  • Various fancy classes: Airlines and people like to differentiate the different classes of service (First, Business, Economy+) but it's quite humorous that they all just get bundled together.
  • Some airplane companies waste this space: This gave me my first pause and chuckle as I'm quite certain if airlines had their way they would figure out how to put passenger seats on the wings and sell them.
  • Passenger has to pedal: Another airline cost saving measure, if they could I'm sure they would sell cheaper tickets to passengers who could help power the airplane along.
  • Lookout: This is absolutely where I would be sitting. Right on the edge of the wing, you get a great view of everything but you have the added responsibility of looking out for traffic.
  • Hole for trash: Now going beyond the fact the airplane wouldn't be able to pressurize with a giant hole in it. A centralized way to dispose of trash would make the airplane lighter as they fly.
  • Sidecar: Everyone knows that an airplane is just a larger motorcycle. And what does a motorcycle need? A sidecar. Yet another way to bolt on more seats to an airplane.
  • Extra middle seats: Nobody wants window or aisle seats, it's all about the middle seats so you can fight over the arm rests and try to climb over everybody when you need to go to the restroom.
  • Bumper car seating: Now this objectively sounds pretty fun, put some seats on wheels and let them roll around during flight and bump into each other. This would probably be pretty fun if you encounter turbulence or break hard after landing. I'm not sure how much I would like it during meal service through.
  • Penthouse: This would be another desirable seat for me. Sitting at the very top of the rudder looking down on the entire airplane would be pretty fun. You can already kind of do this with the cameras built into the A350 and A380, but having a physical seat would be better.
  • Extra legroom: Again the practicality of the seat comes into question, however strap in, because if you fall at altitude it's going to take awhile to hit the ground. Also bundle up, it could get as cold as -40C outside at altitude.
  • Tail gunners (Must protect plane from pursuers but earn extra miles): Listen it's a cutthroat world in the airline business. If you have a rival airline trailing, you have to shut them down at all costs.
  • Fighter escort: Something I'd love to experience, except if you ever see a fighter jet next to your aircraft that means something is not right. If you look closely, it looks like that fighter jet can hold quite a few people in the airplane.

Final Thoughts

xkcd has some hilarious weekly comics, while they don't have many aviation themed ones, when they do they always leave me with a chuckle. Another favorite of mine is #726. I love this because the comic has so much going on that you can dart your eyes around and chuckle at all the silly details. Maybe we need an xkcd just for aviation comics.