Why some Qantas ‘window seats’ don’t have a window

Not every window seat is actually next to a window, so here are the seats to avoid…

By David Flynn, April 4 2023
Why some Qantas ‘window seats’ don’t have a window

When is a window seat not a window seat? When that large view to the world below, the blue skies and fluffy clouds is replaced by the blank slate of a boring beige wall panel.

Almost every plane has them. The reasons are varied, but most often it’s because the space where a window would otherwise be is needed to fit in everything from thick looms of avionics cables to air-conditioning ducting.

In the case of the Boeing 737 workhorse flown by Qantas, Virgin Australia and Regional Express, there’s a specific point on the sidewall of the fuselage where Boeing places ‘riser ducts’ connecting air conditioning unit in the plane’s belly up to the ceiling, where a series of distribution ducts pipe air throughout the cabin.

The size of these ducts makes it impossible to install a window. On larger and longer twin-aisle jets such as the Boeing 787 there can also be points where different sections of the composite carbon-fibre fuselage are joined together.

(There are also seats which don’t have a complete window next to them – that can happen when the airline’s layout of seats doesn’t perfectly align with the position of the aircraft’s windows, so the windows are offset in front or behind the seat.)

Not everyone considers the ‘windowless windows seat’ to be the short straw of flying: for some, it’s preferable to lean against that smooth wall and catch a quick nap en route.

But if you do want a pew with a view, here are the seats to avoid on different types of aircraft flown by Qantas, Virgin Australia and Rex.

Qantas Boeing 737: seat 9A is missing a window

Qantas Boeing 787-9: seats 44A, 44K, 57A and 57K are all missing a window

Qantas Airbus A330-300: seats 28A and 28K are missing a window

Also read: How to unlock the best Qantas seats using the ‘T-80’ rule

Virgin Australia Boeing 737: seat 9A is missing a window

Regional Express Boeing 737: seat 9A is missing a window

Regional Express Saab 340: seats 2A and 2C are missing a window

Window seats without a view aren’t limited to economy class. The business class ‘window’ seats at the front of British Airways’ Airbus A380 – these being 50A and 50K – are adjacent to a blank wall, as are seats 16A and 16K on Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 787-10.

The quick way to avoid a windowless window seat is to visit the SeatGuru website. Its seating charts for most airlines flag seats with some kind of disadvantage such as a missing window, limited recline or close proximity to the lavatories.

(While you’re avoiding those red-coloured seats, SeatGuru also suggests the best seats in any cabin by colour-coding them in green.)

If you’re unsure which type of aircraft you’ll be flying on, check your ticket or use the FlightAware website to search for your specific flight number.

FlightAware shows information such as the flight’s current location as well as upcoming and previous flights: the column labelled ‘Aircraft’ lists what sort of bird you can expect to be on.

Additional reporting by Chris Ashton

13 Sep 2022

Total posts 5

I mistakenly booked seat 9A on the Rex 737 on a flight from SYD-OOL. Once I realised there was no window, it was too late to change because the flight was full. Fortunately, on the return trip, I had seat 8A, which had a window perfectly positioned.


09 May 2020

Total posts 555

For those who book specific seats either at time of booking or changes after booking, the Qantas interface actually tellers your when the window seat actually doesn’t have a window, so frankly this is not a big revelation and pax can’t say they don’t know when they allocate themselves a seat (those who didn’t or can’t select seats, just pretend this is no bigger deal than the mental preparation of getting a middle seat). 

What experienced flyers also know, and for those uninitiated, the seat guru does give more information about this, is that some window seats have windows, in fact 2 windows, ie the seat is located at the space between 2 windows, which meant you get the sunlight and the heat, but you can’t see much through the windows partially blocked by the seat in front and your own seat. Worse is that structural reinforcement between the windows, which give you less space on the window side than usual, and harder to rest on it if you are tall or big or both.

01 Jun 2017

Total posts 3

This site is a good place to start :-)


22 Jan 2019

Total posts 8

The number of offset windows or no windows on E190 due to the spacing of the windows is bugbear of mine.

Aegean Airlines - Miles & Bonus

16 Jul 2019

Total posts 27

Interesting insights especially about the cabling and aircon. I personally dislike window seats without a window, especially if it means putting up with that for an extra legroom seat on longer haul aircraft like the A380 and 777s. 

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 99

SeatGuru will tell you that on Qantas 737 aircraft both 9A and 9F have no window.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jun 2013

Total posts 24

AeroLOPA is a great site for checking seats. They offer all the variants of each airline, whereas Seat Guru doesn't have up to date info on some models.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

20 Dec 2013

Total posts 33

I've read articles recently that Seat Guru have not been keeping their plane seating maps up to date and that there are now better websites e.g. AeroLOPA to use.

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