Friday, October 3, 2008

Red Eye: Emergency Exit Row Blues

I flew back from Florida a week after I got there. I left at 7AM, the first flight out, not because I was that keen to escape or that enamored of early morning flights, but because it would have cost me about $150 for the privilege of getting another 90 minutes sleep.

There was no drama at the airport this time, although I wasn't flying the same airline I had in June, which, I might add, has still not sent any response to my complaint letter. (I'm talking about you, United Airlines.) Of course, I don't actually remember all that much because, hello, it was 6AM on a Sunday.

When I checked in, it let me pick my seats, and there wasn't much to choose from. However, for the long flight from Charlotte to Los Angeles, I noticed there was an aisle seat in an emergency exit row, but it was situated in the graphical display with a crapload of legroom. Boom! There I was.

Turns out the graphic was right. There were about 5' of legroom, and there was actually a seat in front under which to put my backpack, although I did have to get out of my seat to get to it. But at least that meant no dealing with the overhead bins.

The two seats next to me on my side of the aisle ended up being occupied by a pair of lovebirds. The woman looked.... high maintenance. Of course, I am rock-bottom-low maintenance, but even without comparing her to me, she was high maintenance. She was carrying a large, metallic silver leather handbag. As the flight attendant came to give us the "you are sitting in an emergency exit row" spiel, she told the woman she would have to put her bag under the seat (five feet) in front of her during take-off. She didn't take too kindly to that.
Flight attendant: It's just going to right there. No one can get to it.
Passenger: The person in the seat can touch it!
Finally, she gave in, saying it was "stupid."

All I can say is that it was a good thing there wasn't an emergency, because you know no one was going to get past her and out the exit until she had retrieved her handbag!

But at least I did have a crapload of legroom.

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