Everyone familiar with me knows that I hate to fly. Understand I am not afraid to fly, I just despise the experience. I know that I am not alone. If I am on a plane, it is because this is the last resort for my transportation needs. I will search all other options before I book a flight. Twenty five hours on a train or three hours on plane: the train wins. Indeed, when I travel to Atlanta and I don’t have time to take the train, I actually fly into Charlotte and take a bus the rest of the way. Really, four hours on a bus, for me, is more enjoyable than an additional thirty minutes on a plane.
It is that unholy experience of being strapped into a small seat with little wiggle room. My backpack with my flying needs under the seat in front of me as I sit literally trapped in this hideous machine of last resort.
I long ago decided that anyone who takes a window seat and pulls down the shade should be relegated to the bowels of Hell. It is an obnoxious habit that makes the whole experience even worse.
I only take a backpack with me, so I always stay out of the overhead bin lottery that is the prize for the savvy traveler on the flying tube of torture.
When I travel, I have one non-negotiable: an aisle seat. This way I can get up and down as much as I want or even you want because that is the one freedom I have on board. Please do not worry that you are bothering me by asking me to get up so you can go to the bathroom, or check your luggage. It does not bother me at all. I am happy to stand up, because I can.
If you are having a meltdown, the man in the middle seat has bad breath or your spouse is sitting in another seat and you want him or her next to you, or whatever reason and you ask me to change seats, unless it is to another aisle seat, the answer will be no. Not, by the way, “I am sorry, I can’t,” or “Forgive me but that is not possible.” It will be the short, curt two letter word: “No”.
I will not change seats with you. No, I don’t want a window seat. Yes, I realize it is unfortunate that you are unhappy where you are, but that is why they have seat selection tables when you order your ticket. I am sorry your spouse cannot sit next to you for the duration of the flight, which since I am on it will not last more than two hours, but, no, I will not change my seat with you, unless you too are in an aisle seat.
I guess you can say two figures you do not want to see sitting next to you on a plane: The Grim Reaper or me. You will probably get along better with the Grim Reaper because nothing says he has to say no to your need for a seat change. Everything says I will, please do not ask.
Once we deplane, I will be happy to do anything for you, help you with your bags, let you out first to catch your next flight, mind your bag while you are in the bathroom. I can be a good person, but when on board special neighborly requests are not honored, do not expect you to be the exception. You aren’t. I hate to fly, I am on the plane because no other forms of transportation were possible for this trip. (Yes, you can be sure I checked.) So I chose this seat specifically to deal the best way possible with the pure misery that is flying—no other alternative will be an improvement. Please ask someone else. Preferably one who has a tremendous enjoyment of flying no matter where he or she sits. That person, in case you have not figured it out, is not me.