Monday, 17 January 2011

On a “Cut & Shut” with the Invisible Man

As I type this I am at 36,000 feet  listening to Buddy Holly. Something about listening to Buddy in an aircraft seems very wrong!

As I climbed aboard Continental flight CO27 from Birmingham, UK to Newark, NJ I had mixed feelings. First the elation of being gifted an aisle seat. This was improved further when I realised that the two seats adjacent to me were occupied by the Invisible Man and his partner*. Yes, I had a row of three seats to myself – now watch and learn as I spread myself out . I know it’s not an upgrade to Business Class but I can live in Cattle Class when all around me are crammed in and I have a row to myself. There is nothing like space and other people’s discomfort to give me a warm glow. No, it’s not selfish, I’ve done my time and flown the miles, I’ve earned this. I still have the mental scars of a flight to Mexico stuck between two very fat women and my last flight from Newark to Boston was between the Halitosis twins – THIS ROW IS MINE.

The smug feelings were somewhat dampened as I took my seat as looked up at the overhead lockers. Imagine my concern as I note, and I kid you not, that the row numbers go like this …..31, 32, 34, 35 …..

Notice anything there? WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO ROW 33? I am not kidding there is no row 33 on the plane. Now I know that some people are nervous of things being numbered 13 and so I would allow for row 12 to smoothly transition to row 14, But I can see no reason for missing out row 33. That smacks of extreme carelessness.
Should I be worried?

Now I’m not a big fan of United Airlines / Continental but fly with them I must – as long as my employer is paying but a missing row really does give me some major concerns. I can see only two reasons why row 33 is missing and neither of them gives me a warm glow.

The first is that it was a manufacturing error. OK, so I am sat at 36,000feet flying at about 550 miles per hour with nothing beneath me but a cold Atlantic in an aircraft that has been built by some Boeing red-neck than has problems with counting sequentially when he reaches the 30’s. I want to be flying in a plant that has been hand built by skilled craftsmen out of unobtanium not some tit who can’t count.

The second and even more worrying scenario is that this Boeing B757-200 is what is know in the trade as a “cut and shut”, in other words a plane that has been assembled from the front end of one plane and the rear of another**. They would have got away with it if it hadn’t been for that meddling kid in 34C that noticed that an entire row had been lost in this botched union.

I have saved this to a USB stick and will tuck it inside the Black Box when I have finished.
 * I’m not sure whether the Invisible Man is married, gay or travelling with a business colleague on account of the fact that I couldn’t see either him or his partner.
** usually after accident damage!


  1. There is a row 33, however it is only on the 753. This is because row 33 is an exit row and no other narrow body aircraft in the fleet has this additional exit. In the new row numbering system, all exit rows are numbered the same for fleet commonality purposes. Rows 7, 20, 21, and 33 are all exit rows in the fleet.

  2. Hi, I'm not really sure that you really "get" this post.

    As an experiment I am tempted to leave your comment for the time being and ask that anyone who reads this entry takes a moment or two to leave a comment on your "apparent" lack of any semblance of a sense of humour.


    bad man

  3. EXACTLY, VERBATIM, my thoughts today as I waited for others to board and counted from row 27 back to my seat in row 37 only to discover I must be ticketed for the bathroom, as there were only 36 rows. The only additional reasoning I thought of was platform 9 & 3/4. I also considered if the numbering placards were exchangeable and bored stewardesses were fucking with us.

  4. Oh my final conjecture was that clearly a man had designed this phallic contraption so clearly it is measured in man length. "37 rows long I am!"