Monday, 15 February 2010

Why is it SO difficult to find your seat on a train?

Pretty much every time I travel on a train which has booked seats - or indeed an aircraft ditto ditto, come to think of it - there are incredible scenes of confusion as people fail to find the seat they're meant to be in. Apparently it's really very difficult to: examine your ticket; see that you are in coach C, seat 23; walk to and board coach C; sit in seat 23.

Why is this? The actions outlined seem to represent a terrible challenge to people who seem otherwise capable, have made it to the station, and look like they know how to play tunes on their iPod. It's bizarre, and I should probably stop writing now before I collapse into horrible intolerance.

Just before I do, though, here's a little hintette-series for travellers on Virgin Pendolinos between London and Manchester (and perhaps many other destinations besides, but what do I know?):

1. You're standing there being clueless and helpless;
2. Even though you've found the right pair of seats, you still don't know which is yours.
3. You're looking at the little LCD screen above the window and it doesn't seem very helpful.
4. Here's my suggestion. Forget the LCD screen for now.
5. Instead, look at the labels on the "ears" which stick out into the aisle for people to hang onto.
6. Look Tamsin! Look Colin! The "ears" have the seat numbers on!
7. See the lovely seat numbers!!
8. Now here's the clever bit: the seat numbers are like a map of the seats.
9. The number nearest you represents the seat nearest you.
10. The number further away represents the seat further away from you.
11. I know it's tough but try to stay with me here.

12. Gosh, this is really a bit OCDish and bonkers isn't it? I must have been in a foul mood when I wrote it (makes a change). Hmmm. Revise, delete, ignore ... ?

Mobile, hence terse.

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