Greg Ferro - Work to Live

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Virgin Atlantic - New Seats So Close I Can't Work

Flew from Gatwick to Las Vegas on Flight VS43 in economy yesterday and was delighted to see new seats to replace the crappy the old ones. Got a bit excited at the new entertainment system and started to think the trip might be OK.

It took about 10 minutes before I realised how much closer the seats are together. Gut feel is that they are 5cm closer together. I am average height at 175cm tall , and my knees were right up against the chair in front. Then the person in front put their chair back and it was right in my face. Really, I measured it with my ruler, 10 inches from seat back to my face (or just a bit more than one iPad wide).

I could not open my laptop. I could not work. 

I look forward to the time on the plane to think and work on special projects. If I can’t work, the travel time is wasted time.

I could not easily read my iPad with the table up or down or see the TV properly. 

When I put my chair back to get some space, I am looking at the ceiling and can’t see the TV screen properly.

I could have used the time to catch up on reading & research. I could have made use of the quiet time to think but wasn’t able to open my notebook and use a pen because of the angle of the seat in front or because I was reclined so far.

The food on Virgin Atlantic is much worse in recent years and, effectively, inedible. I no longer eat on long haul flights, I buy sandwiches and snacks from the airport instead.

I will ignore the fact that the audio jack in my seat didn't work properly. That happens.


The burdens of air travel are getting worse for me.

The cost of Airport parking and car travel have risen to about  20% of plane ticket ( £100 return in car costs, £100 per week to park. A return flight to SFO is ~£1000)

Airports are giant shopping malls that crush my soul and I loathe being there. Lets not talk about healthy food and clean air.

Flying has become such a miserable experience that:

  1. I'm going to stay at home and do less air travel so I can use my time efficiently.
  2. I'm going to use the Internet for business and replace travelling to events as much as possible. It is cheaper, I have more work time.
  3. I'm going to try other airlines when I fly next and see if seats are workable.