Highways and Byways

Set a Spell

As the airlines continue to nickel-and-dime passengers at every opportunity, enjoying where you sit (even if you have to pay for it) has become a small luxury for many travelers. But not all seats are created equal.

Seat with a View

airplane-windowWindow seats, of course, afford scenic views, but they also allow the passenger to relax with limited to no interruptions. Sitting in this seat, you won’t be bothered by fellow passengers getting up to use the facilities, etc. You won’t even get the reach-around from the flight attendant serving drinks across the row of seats.

On the other hand, if you need to use the restroom yourself, you’ve now become the annoyance you worked so hard to avoid. At takeoff and landing, your face will be mere inches from your fellow passengers, who scramble to catch a glimpse of the scenery through the postage-stamp-sized plastic window.

You will also likely be one of the last people off the plane — as rude and entitled passengers ignore basic common courtesy and barrel right past, while you stand — neck craned by the overheard comparment — waiting for an “out.”

Last Call

The middle seat is the chump seat. There are only a handful of reasons why someone would get stuck with the middle seat.

  1. you waited until the last minute to make reservations
  2. you somehow ended up last in the queue at boarding time
  3. on this trip or a previous one, you successfully angered a flight attendant
  4. you’re the youngest kid in the family, so naturally got the short straw
  5. you’re a glutton for punishment

Simply put, the middle seat is among the worst places on earth.

Goin’ to the Outside

aisle-seatAisle seats are a good option for the traveler who foresees frequent bathroom breaks, or simply wants the opportunity to “stretch their legs” free from the irritated and indignant glares of their selfish fellow passengers.

However, this seat also brings the unfortunate reality of having to get up every time some psychotic — who can’t seem to grasp the idea that downing a Big Gulp in the minutes prior to an hours-long flight may not be the best course of action — has the incessant “urgent need” to visit the broom closet that passes for an on-board restroom.

Which is to say nothing about the indifferent flight attendants who merrily whack your elbow with the drink cart and act like it was an accident, or the sociopaths who (seemingly on purpose) stomp on your feet — every time — on their way to wherever the hell it is they think they’re going on an enclosed vehicle, miles in the sky.

Bringing up the Rear

Sitting in the back of the plane gives passengers the advantage of being among the first to board. It also, of course, means that you will be among the last to leave (unless you are one of the previously mentioned social misfits). These seats also have the potential to be enveloped by the load roar of engines, and are often situated next to the “service station/storage room,” where you will most surely hear the most catty of remarks from the most skanky of stewardesses.

To the Front, To the Front

The seats in the front of the plane (right before the first-class section) are actually among the best in the house. Advantages of this section include:

  • ample distance between the restrooms and seats
  • easy access to the widest emergency exit
  • enough leg room to fully stretch out (even for a fee, that’s worth it)
  • chance to be among the first off the plane

The only passenger disadvantage to this section that I can see is that — given their coveted nature — these seats are often more expensive and among the first to go.

Don’t Panic

emergency-rowIn the wake of recent plane crashes (major and minor), sitting in the emergency row has become a greater responsibility than ever before.

Gone are the days where you could half listen to the safety procedures, and hastily (and indifferently) agree to the “required verbal response” question about your ability and willingness to assist during an emergency.

With today’s idiot pilots and inept air traffic controllers, it’s not a question of if, but when your plane will go down, or otherwise experience “technical difficulty.”

Given the current prowess of air crews to (early and often) present passengers with potentially-fatal scenarios, the knowledge of a quick “way out” might be the peace of mind many travelers today are desperately seeking.

Well, uh, That Was Just a Lie

To that end, the entitled, out-of-touch, apathetic ego-maniacs in first-class will be among the first to die or get seriously injured when (not if) a plane crash occurs. And that’s a situation where all the money and power in the world isn’t worth a damn. Just ask the rich elite who perished with the Titanic. Oh, that’s right. You can’t.

Plant It

In the end, the choice, is, of course, up to the passenger and their personal wants, needs, and willingness to pony up the airline extortion funds that are so prevalent today. Just don’t come complaining to me when your seat choice ends up turning into a nightmare!

by Angel “Boz” Terwilliger
Residential Life Magazine


1 thought on “Set a Spell”

  1. I detect a (not so subtle) tinge of resentment toward passengers in this essay. Maybe *you* are the reason for such awkward situations!

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