The other thing which was annoying was the number of empty seats. We know it was sold out within 3 hours but there were dozens/hundreds of the best stall and box seats empty. Grrrr!
I was in a box where one of the seats was unoccupied. A lady in front of me spent the entire concert alternately flicking aimlessly through her programme and playing solitaire on her phone. Meanwhile by the start of the third movement another person in front of me was fast asleep! As you say - Grrrr!
I must say I was a bit surprised at the easy availability of returns. I had planned to queue for the Arena while my friend, who was dashing from Gatwick on the afternoon of the Prom actually booked a weekend Gallery pass – which was the only pre-booking available the day after booking opened – against the very strong probability that he would arrive too late to secure a day ticket. When the stewards handed out the warning slips to day prommers on the Friday I figured that I would just have to start queuing especially early but then I met someone I’ve chatted with a few times in the arena queue over the years and he said he had bought a ticket and that the box office had plenty of returns. This turned out to be quite true so I made a decision on behalf of my friend and bought two stalls tickets at £28 each. They seemed to have returns at all prices from £20-£32, though none of the cheaper seats (not that I’d have wanted to chance the Circle for this event).
It does seem rather strange that such an instantly attractive Prom which (unlike last night’s) hadn’t undergone any significant changes of personnel should suddenly have lots of spare capacity. I speculated on this and my favourite explanations were:
Lots of people liked the idea as a bit of a novelty but their enthusiasm waned as the time neared, they thought of other things they’d prefer to do and sent their tickets back for resale.or;
Very few debenture holders were interested and their seats became available after the ‘sold out’ was announced or (my favourite):
Lots of touts found themselves with handfuls of tickets for which there was less demand than they anticipated. This would also explain why the online booking facility was showing ‘no tickets available’ on Sunday morning and yet there were quite a few empty seats.
As for the behaviour of people in boxes: I have often noticed them eating, drinking, talking and moving around (though not, as yet, sleeping) during the performance. I suppose it’s the behaviour of people for whom the performance is not of primary interest That said, though, the last time I was actually in a box I found the people there extremely decent. It was for the Proms Walküre
with Domingo, Meier, Terfel etc (another instant sell-out for which I got a ‘return’ with surprising ease) and the seat I was sold was at the back of the box, almost in the cloakroom area (the boz office don’t tell you this, nor is that seat any cheaper than the others) and the other people in the box actually rearranged their chairs so I could get a better position.