The Best Airplane Seat I Have Ever Had!

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Today I had the best airplane seat ever.  It wasn’t a first class suite or a lie flat bed or an upper deck all to myself.  It had very cramped legroom, required my seatmate to reach around my legs, and necessitated me to be pretty still and touch nothing for the duration of the flight.

Why is this the best airplane seat ever you may ask?

Because I was the “co-pilot” on our Cape Air evening island hopper out of San Juan today!  Really.  If you have done a similar flight before you will know exactly what I mean.  I knew we were in for a little prop plane, but this experience was quite different from other small planes I had flown on before.



I’m not sure I breathed for the 35 minute flight, but I’m sure I’ll never forget it!



The view from my “best seat ever”

Have you had a similar experience on a small aircraft?


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  1. Sunshine Air out of SJU that takes you to the BVI-and other islands…we had a very similar flight. So fun! And what happy pilots…

  2. My husband is a private pilot. I loved riding along with him in the little planes as the co-pilot/navigator. We gave up flying when we had kids (it’s an expensive hobby and I became a SAHM) and while I miss it, I’m happy with the trade-off!

  3. I did this once from MBJ-NEG on a single-engine four-seater and was allowed to “fly” the plane for a couple minutes. Very cool experience.

  4. Cape Air is great, we’ve done the SJU-STT-SJU before and I sat in the right seat. Cape Air pilots are great, know a few personally.

  5. I’ve had a couple neat small plane experiences. I’ve been in the copilot seat on a float plane in Canada with 55 gallon drums of gasoline as the other cargo. I had the opportunity to fly sitting in a cargo net on a float plane.

  6. Cape Air is actually a partner of AA. I’ve tried to figure out what the price in points is for their island hopper flights but to no avail. I emailed them to find out and I got a generic call in and we can help response and I never got around to it. You can’t search for Cape Air award space anywhere online that I know of. I’d still be interested to know what it costs though.

  7. I have had this happen before. Two different times. Once on a flight from EYW to Fort Jefferson on a float plane and the second time was on Florida Costal. Both times the pilot asked if anyone was a pilot. Once I told them I was, I was given the co-pilot seat. I presume that if no one was a pilot they just pick someone. However, I am absolutely sure it was a blast for you. No need to hold your breath. Prop planes are some of the best to fly.

  8. I’ve flown Cape Air a number of times. Normally a great experience, but it can be stressful in bad weather and some of the pilots look like they are 15 years old.

  9. My father was a pilot (USAF). When I was just a kid, I flew with him in a Cherokee 4 seater – which, essentially, is like an old school VW Bug with wings. My father also had a wicked sense of humor, and used to surprise/freak me out when we way high in the sky by saying things like, “Look! No Hands!!!” as the plane banked steeply to the left. He “forgot” to tell me that you steer a plane with your feet, you see. His dark sense of humor aside, my father was an excellent pilot, and flew his own personal plane until he was well in to his 70’s. It was from him that I got my love of flying and travel from.

  10. Next time you’re there, you should try the Wings Over Kauai tour. I was a little nervous about flying in an 8 seat plane, so I was extra freaked out when we showed up the owner (Bruce Coulombe) explained that it would just be three of us going up in his Cessna for an hour. It turned out to be a fantastic time in the co-pilot seat. So if you’re looking to repeat the experience (with Kauai scenery) I strongly recommend Bruce’s operation.

  11. I’ve flown in the co-pilot spot as well on Cape Air to Nantucket a few times. The first time it was for weight and balance (they needed a volunteer). After that I’ve asked and the pilot is usually fine with it.

  12. I used to fly the Boston to Plattsburgh, NY route often on Cape Air. I loved “calling shotgun” on the walk out to the plane. Great views of Lake Champlain.

  13. Very cool! I just became a private pilot on Friday, and I think it’s going to be a strange experience the next time I fly on an airliner. As much as I like the big boys, I’ve only been in the cockpit of light airplanes during my training the last few months. I’m going to want to sit up front!

  14. So cool that lots of you have done the same! I can’t imagine flying like that on a regular basis though! For those interested, this was the last leg of flight to get to STT (SJU-STT). It was a United ticket that cost $200 RT DFW-IAH-SJU-STT-SJU-IAH-DFW. Or as I like to call it, my last vacation run of the year. All in all a terrific bargain for some great experiences!

  15. I did a flightseeing tour in Ketchikan, Alaska. Very beautiful scenery and the weather was sunny. The tour was on a seaplane which is the same size as the Cape Air plane. Definitely an interesting experience. Getting on and off that plane was an adventure.

  16. I have a colleague in Europe who was flying Lufthansa or Turkish Airlines – I don’t remember – but the route was Istanbul to Munich. They had overbooked the flight and offered him the jump seat in the cockpit because he was one of the last people to check-in, single flier, and had status. Needless to say, he was thrilled!

  17. Some 20 ago, I lived in SJU and I flew back/forth to work everyday to STT for about 18 months. My ex was a pilot with Amer Eagle so I was able to fly standby as a D2. Occasionally I’d not be able to get home unless I got a ride in the jump-seat on an ATR or C-212;those were the good ole days when things were more casual. Occasionally I caught a ride on another airline because everyone knew each other and helped out when things got tight. Now and again I’d work all day, catch a ride an Airbus for a 16 minute flight, run through customs and then drive home, to get up and repeat the same sequence. Loved it.

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