Travel can be rough if you’re disabled. Issues with airlines, hotels, taxis and more can reduce the enjoyment of travel for some people. But occasionally, we’re treated to some perks that we probably wouldn’t receive were it not for our disability.

Last month, I took my first-ever flight with the low-cost carrier Norwegian Air. It’s an airline that makes you pay for everything—seat selection, luggage in excess of 10kg, snacks, drinks (including water!) and so on. But at check-in for my flight of 6 hours, 15 minutes from Providence, Rhode Island to Dublin, Ireland, I was given a truly special perk.

“The flight is extremely full today, but I’ve put you in seat 21F and blocked the seats next to you.”

Norwegian isn’t the first airline to have done this for me on a long flight in economy class, but it was the most surprising.

Selfie on the Norwegian Boeing 737 MAX 8.
Selfie on the Norwegian Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Naturally, I was thrilled. I had a makeshift lay flat bed on a transatlantic flight that I had paid only $103.90 for. It was totally cool and an “Alleluia!” moment. But once everyone had boarded the aircraft, I realized that “incredibly full” meant totally packed save for the two empty seats next to me.

After takeoff, I repositioned myself and laid down across the entire row. My crumpled up jacket served as my pillow and I napped for several hours.

Initial approach into Dublin Airport in Ireland.
Initial approach into Dublin Airport in Ireland.

When I awoke, we were just over halfway to Dublin, and I could see discomfort in the eyes of the passengers around me. Norwegian uses a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft on the Providence-Dublin route, and the majority of seats offer only 29 inches of pitch. Seat pitch is the distance from a point on one seat to the exact same point on the seat in front of it). My fellow passengers were packed into small seats while I lounged in an entire row to myself. It was definitely awkward.

But I remembered that each of the passengers around me could stand up, stretch their legs, walk around and access the lavatory during the flight. Since I can do none of those things, I probably shouldn’t have felt any guilt.

What do you think? Has an airline ever treated you to a full row?
How would you feel being singled out for special treatment?
Let me know in the comments below!

Featured image courtesy of Boeing.

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