It is hard for me to remember the last time I flew in the middle seat alone. Sure, I have sat in a middle seat when flying with someone else and being the nice guy, I let my travel partner have the prime seat. It has to be five, maybe even ten years since I actually sat in the middle seat between two total strangers. Well, that is until two days ago when I got stuck in the middle seat on my four hour Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle, WA to Austin, TX.
Normally I am quite vigilant on getting my window seat. If I don’t get one when I buy the ticket, I keep on trying. First, I will keep checking my reservation every few days to see if an aisle or window opens up. If that doesn’t work, I will arrive to the airport early and check for a better seat. In this case neither of those things worked.
I was even willing to pony up another $100 bucks for a gate upgrade to First Class, but that wasn’t an option either. What kind of Airline Reporter am I stuck in the middle seat? I know a third of passengers on a full flight will be in the middle and thousands of people fly in the middle seat everyday, but man it just sucks. Oh well, I figured it would give me a unique perspective and if I had a bad enough experience, maybe even a blog.
First off, Alaska Airlines had nothing to do with non-fun experience. Actually everyone with the airline were very nice and the service was great — it actually made the flight endurable. It is nice that Alaska seats having an adjustable headrest which allowed me to get a little shut eye without head bobbing into the person next to me.
Okay, maybe being in the middle seat is a bit worse for some than others. I am 6’1″ and about 250lbs, not a small guy. I can manage to stay in my seat comfortably with others sitting next to me the same size or smaller. Of course in this instance, the person sitting to my left wasn’t smaller than I was — quite the opposite. To my right was a younger woman who felt she owned half of my room. Argh, here we go.
The flight had Wi-Fi, but no way was I getting my laptop out (even though it is a small one) to try to do any work. I had a hard enough time just sitting up against two other people. I felt a lot like T-Rex, having to make little arm movements to do anything like read my book or eat my snacks.
The worse part was the woman at the window closed the shades before we left the gate and didn’t open them until just before landing. That is so annoying. I can spend a whole flight just staring out the window, but oh no all that natural light and beauty just gets in the way of watching some lame movie on your laptop (breath David, not everyone cares about the view).
Just because I love airlines, flying and traveling doesn’t mean I love every flight. Although a bad experience, things could be much worse. When I was getting ready to get off the plane a gentleman behind me started talking to his seatmates about Afghanistan. I turned around and he was in Army uniform and saying how happy he was to be home. He was sitting in the middle seat and didn’t seem to care at the least. So, although the middle seat does suck, things could always be worse.