Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Flying the Crowded Skies

You've all grown tired by now of my grousing about all the reasons flying is not fun any more, a lengthy list which includes...

* The pat-downs at airport security by bored and humorless TSA drones;

* Morons who think "one carry-on bag and one personal item" means a suitcase the size of an upright piano and a steamer trunk;

* Flying from Washington Dulles Airport and realizing the only place you can afford to park is in West Virginia; and,

* Realizing that the price quoted for your flight doesn't include extra, unmentioned-up-front charges for all sorts of things, like a fee for each checked suitcase, a "9/11 surcharge," takeoff fees, landing fees, in-flight fees, McAfees (no, wait...you pay those to protect your PC anyhow), and the ever-popular extra charge for an aircraft with the correct number of wings.

Yes, I hate flying for many reasons. However, one small victory seems to have come the way of the average traveler, even though it was prompted largely by airline revenue concerns and not by your comfort and safety.

According to this report, United Airlines will now require "passengers requiring extra space" to either move to a seat which has an adjoining seat free, or purchase a second seat on another flight if such space isn't available.


I truly do sympathize with overweight flyers. Coach class seats are miserably cramped and uncomfortable for people of "normal" size, much less for those who are ... well ... larger than average, for whatever reason. But when my seat that's already too small is reduced by a third or more because the person in the next seat has to raise the armrest and spill over and squeeze me even more tightly into my space, something's just not fair.

I applaud the new policy, even though the flyers most affected will certainly object to it.

Now, if only I could get the policy changed that prevents travel agents from booking travelers like Julia Roberts or Alyssa Milano (heck, even Fiona!) into seats next to mine, we'd really be getting somewhere...

Have a good day in an uncrowded seat. More thoughts tomorrow.


P.S. - Reader Jersey Girl has generously passed on a new blogging award to yours truly: I am now the proud recipient of The Friendship Award, which she describes as being "...given to blogs that are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement."

Thanks, Jersey Girl! I'm not worthy. Particularly since the "not interested in self-aggrandizement" part doesn't quite track with my long-term goal of world domination, bwah-ha-ha-haaaaa!

Oops. Must be careful not to let my guard down before the coronation.

Tomorrow, I'll pass this award on to other deserving bloggers. For now, it's time to go to work. Sigh...



The Mistress of the Dark said...

You've rationalized my fear of flying for me. Thank you.

Amanda said...

When I heard that news about overweight passengers, I felt as if we were closer to what I've always thought would be a fair way to calculate baggage allowance. I think they should calculate the TOTAL weight that a person would bring onto the aircraft - body + baggage.

John A Hill said...

Careful Amanda, that sounds an lot like common sense and common sense is not tolerated the DC area where Bilbo lives.

Melissa B. said...

For some reason, I'm always pulled aside for the extra "security checks" by the TSA. I don't think I look particularly sinister, but then again...

Leslie David said...

I'm so glad I don't have to fly for business anymore. It's such a trial and the airlines can't be depended on to get you to your destination on time. Overweight passengers--last time I took the red eye from LA to Dulles there were two HUGE people, and I thought, I hope they don't sit next to me...guess where they ended up?

fiona said...

(heck, even Fiona!)
I'm taking this as some kind of "Bilbo" complement...lmao

I always get stuck with the Tubbies. It's horrible if your in the aisle seat and have to get up every time they need to use the restroom.
Witnessing the "fulb" maneuvers as they try to extract themselves from the wee seat into the wee aisle...yuck

Congrats on the award darlin ;-)

Mike said...

"overweight flyers"
Watch out. This is the 'foot in the door'. Don't be surprised when you get on a plane and find 4 seats on each side instead of three and find out you're now in the overwieght class.

Hey, I wonder if I can patent that idea?

Mrs. Geezerette said...

I will fly first class only. Bigger seats. Oh! but not that I need bigger seats. Anyway, since I can't afford to fly first class, I don't fly. I am sure I am missing out on a lot of fun.