Reconfigured And Stuck! – (The Journey, part 2)

I always buy my airline tickets online. And I usually try to stick with the same airlines, if their prices are anywhere near to being competitive. I invariably sign up for their mileage award programs, so while their prices are ok they have my loyalty as a customer.

On this occasion I was flying to the US from the UK. A fairly long flight, so I wanted to be as comfortable as possible, as far as you can flying coach these days.

I had reserved an aisle seat, as I always do. Easy for trips to the loo if necessary or just for a walk during the flight to break the monotony. Also with an isle seat you don’t have to annoy anyone else.

Did I say I reserved an aisle seat?

Yes I did. I did it as part of the internet booking process when I bought my ticket. It’s usually a good enough system.

Usually!

When I was reserving my seat I first looked at the the airplane seating configuration. It was a Boeing 767 and had an ‘ab-cde-fg’, 2 aisle configuration. I was in seat ‘e’.

It was perfect.

Right up until they decided to change the airplane at the last moment, without my permission, to one with an ‘abc-def’ single aisle configuration.

That’s the dangers with automated systems with no sensible humans to oversee them. I was still in seat ‘e’, right enough, but seat ‘e’ was now a middle seat in the right side of the plane.

Could I change? I did ask, but it was a waste of time. The person at the ticketing desk could read what on the computer screen, but could do little else. The flight was full so that was that. Nothing could be done.

I was angry. And disappointed. And horrified that with the way my luck was going, I would end up between two 6 foot 7 inch big hairy sweaty blokes on either side of me. I’m no minnow myself and I don’t make a good sandwich filler, especially of that kind. I’d seen this kind of thing many times in movies and now it seemed I was about to star in my own.

With trepidation I got on the plane, stored my carry on bag in the overhead compartment and sat down in the seat ‘e’. I was by myself in that row. Maybe no one else would show up? It was only a fleeting moment of hope. First of all seat ‘f’ arrived and I got up to let him into his seat. He was a young guy, early twenties probably, and had that thin studenty look. He was ok, he wouldn’t take up too much room.

Just so long as he wasn’t a ‘bouncer’, you know one of those hellishly irritating people who feel that they have to keep adjusting their seat every ten seconds, or who think that bouncing back and forwards will maybe make the plane a bit bigger. Not only do they never manage to get comfortable themselves, but they make the journey unpleasant for everyone around them.

Nothing more happened for a while except for other people getting on the plane and taking their seats, but nowhere near me. Once again I found myself thinking maybe seat ‘d’ will be vacant and how great that would be.

Hope can be a very irritating human trait, because it invariably sets you up for a disappointment. And sure enough my disappointment was slowly walking down the aisle towards seat ‘d’. It could have been a lot worse. It was a girl, about the same age as the guy in seat ‘f’. In a machievellian moment I thought about introducing the two of them and offering to allow them to sit together, but they’d taken my bow and arrows off me at the security check so the Cupid thing was out.

After all that, it turned that there was about enough room, just, so I settled down for a sleepy flight to the States, only disturbed by a bit of turbulence a couple of times and by dinner which unusually I decided to try, buy as usual didn’t like and sent most of it back.

The question asked on airlines by the stewards and stewardesses, or whatever they’re called these days, “Would you like beef, chicken or pasta?” really needs to be replaced with, “Would like brown splodge, white splodge or yellow splodge with tomato sauce.”

End rant – get on with story….

I wasn’t too worried about missing the airline meal because I had about a 3 hours stopover before my connecting flight, so plenty of time to change planes and have a bite to eat as well.

Hmmm, did I say plenty of time?

Oh, dear!

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Have you had similar experiences? Send them along. Let the world know what is happening before it is too late.

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