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On a Virgin Australia Turboprop, the Last Row is First

May 27, 2014 at 4:55 PM | by | Comment (1)

When flying Economy on a narrow-body aircraft, we usually aim to sit as far forward as possible. Most importantly, this move generally gets you served first and off the plane first after landing. And there's the added bonus of minimizing the number of rows in front of you, which makes the cabin feel less crowded compared to a sea of heads between your seat and the cockpit.

That strategy might work in the majority of cases, but here is one example where it didnít. On a recent hop from Sydney to the Australian capital of Canberra, our aircraft was a Virgin Australia ATR72-600 Turboprop. The only aircraft doors (which incorporate steps, private jet-style) are actually at the back, just behind the last row (17). We originally had a seat near the front, but were asked while already on the plane to move to row 15, which worked out just fine.

This ATR72-600 is built by a French-Italian aircraft manufacturer, which in the all-economy configuration Virgin Australia uses seats 68 passengers with two seats on either side of the aisle. Virgin has 12 ATR72-600s in its fleet, mostly used for these kinds of short regional hops. The flight from Sydney to Canberra takes just under an hour.

We paid AUD82.70 (about $77) for our one-way ticket from Sydney to Canberra.

[Photos: JasonD]

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ATR by Design

I don't think it is special to Virgin Australia, but most of the ATR planes are designed to be like that. Delta used to fly ATR Turboprops to some of the nearby cities out of ATL. Indian carriers like Jet Airways fly them even now.

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