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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Flying the friendly skies

Recently, a friend of mine flew from Philadelphia to Orlando. She had an interesting encounter while on the flight. Her boyfriend had the window seat, she had the middle, and a very large woman was sitting in the aisle seat right next to her. The woman was so large, she took up her own seat and half of my friend's seat. This forced my friend to sit halfway on her boyfriend's seat, making the 2 of them very uncomfortable. Not to mention all arm rests had to be kept up to accommodate this situation. At one point, my friend tried to put her seat back, which involves a button on the side of the armrest. She literally had to reach behind the woman's back/shoulder to get to this button and the woman had the audacity to flash her a dirty look. SHE was annoyed? Did she not see the inconvenience she was causing to the other people in her row?

My friend and her boyfriend decided to suffer through it and not to say anything to her or the flight attendants as it was a full flight and there was, most likely, nothing that could be done. My friend, being the nice person she is, also figured it would probably hurt the woman's feelings and would do more harm than good. When she returned home from her trip, she decided a letter to the airline was in order. After all, she had paid for a full seat, not the half seat she ended up getting. She did not ask for a refund of any kind (although she may be hoping for one), but merely felt the need to voice her opinions to the airline. The airline has not yet responded.

Hearing this story made me think. Should a person who takes up more than 1 seat have to pay for more than 1 seat? I think so. Should a person who only gets half a seat be required to pay for a whole seat? I think not. I will be flying in a few weeks and if this were to happen to me, I would be livid, especially since we will be travelling with small children. The way I see it, it's not about discrimination, but about what's fair. It's not fair that my friend and her boyfriend, who paid the same amount of money for their seats as this woman did, had to endure an uncomfortable 2 hour flight, while this woman was totally comfortable taking up a seat and a half. Disgraceful.