Come fly with me…
As the average girth of the population increases, airlines take it upon themselves to sneakily reduce the seat size of working man’s economy. There is an inherent, old fashioned class-system on airlines. One is reminded that they cannot afford the luxuries others clearly can. Wealth is flaunted in the size of your seat, the amount of legroom, the type of refreshments on offer, the comfort of the headset, should I go on? The visual exchanges between business class passengers already seated and their fellow cattle-class travellers are telling. Some look at us like we are creating an inconvenience to them by walking through their superior section. We’re spoiling the mood.
Every time I fly, it seems like I have to fold myself into a smaller package than the last. You can imagine my delight when I discovered I was in the middle seat; in the middle aisle surrounded by strangers. Being prone to a very mild claustrophobia this is not my ideal scenario. I like to go to the rest rooms when I feel the need without having to do a dance with the unknown person beside me and have them judge me because I’m visiting the bathroom yet again.
My enthusiasm dropped further when I met my surrounding passengers. Lovely as they both were; they were each slightly larger individuals and as they sat and spilled over their seats into my own; I knew there was no hope of winning either of my arm rests. The lady to the right had a lovely shawl that draped over her arm and hung over my eastern boundary, taunting me with further consumption of my precious, ever dwindling aero-space.
On another recent flight, I sat next to a man with greying hair, oozing ignorance and intolerance. I tried to ignore his hand and leg protruding far beyond the small aeroplane seat border. He then proceeded to conjure an awful mucus cough just as I tried to eat my breakfast. He ended the nightmarish flight by practically having a fit when the man in front of him tried to recline his seat for the second time. Oh no, thought the old man, you’re not doing this again. Any rational person would tap their fellow passenger on the shoulder and ask: would you mind not doing that?
Not him though, he decided to launch a counter-attack putting the full force of his hands and body forward in a swift lunging motion. The other man reeled and turned surprised and got the unsubtle message. He put his chair back and released the tension of the seat, so that the old man fell back in shock, whacking my arm in the process. At this point, I stared daggers at him, waiting for my apology. It didn’t come. My teeth were gritted. Best not to get in an argument in the air, I rationalised in silence. The old man muttered and grunted under his breath. I really wanted to ask him to please, use your words, for heaven’s sake! You grumpy old bastard.
What to do? Maybe next time I’ll hire a private jet.