Cramped seats and no miles

On the JFK AirTrain, headed in to the terminal.

Just another day on the road. This particular trip – New York City to Frankfurt and return in 48 hours – is a bit different than all of my previous trips for one particular quirk. It is the first time I’ve flown as a non-rev passenger. Yes, I’ve flown on reward tickets where I wasn’t earning additional points, but this trip was booked by the airline on my behalf and earns no miles and receives no benefits. Well, none other than the opportunity to enjoy life at 36,000 feet.

The flights were mostly uneventful though I have a newfound respect for the seats Continental offers in coach. Often derided as cramped and lacking in padding, the Continental seats come off as Lay-Z-Boy recliners compared to that which Lufthansa offers passengers in their 747-400 cabins. I was fortunate for the overnight flight to grab seat 33K, a window seat with nothing in front of it. That meant plenty of legroom to help stretch out while sleeping. The return flight was just another coach aisle, 41G, in a coach cabin that was packed rather full. My seatmates were friendly enough and the eight hour flight passed reasonably quickly, but it certainly was not anything close to a luxurious experience. Then again, travel in economy rarely is.

Sure, the perspective makes it look even smaller than it is, but the space at 33K wasn’t all that great even without the awkward angle.

The good news is that the business went well in Germany and I’m optimistic for future additional business opportunities and future trips. But we’ll definitely need to negotiate the travel details a bit better for the future trips.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Couldn’t agree more. I flown 28+ airlines in the past 5 years (though in all honesty, most of it was Long Haul) and Lufthansa 744 seats are in my opinion the most cramped by far. Lay-Z-Boy is exactly how I thought United or Continental economy seats were after that… 🙂

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