This post will be a bit of a departure from my usual points and miles jibberish, but it’s fresh in my mind so I figured I’d write about it. The other week, Katie had a last minute work trip to Chicago, and I was able to find a round-trip ticket on AA for $107, so naturally, I tagged along. It was actually a pretty great weekend because if you’re following Chicago weather, you’d know the normally frigid city has been experiencing a warm front, and for our trip, the average high was 69F. Coming from Florida this was incredible, even though we had brought our winter jackets out of storage just in case. Katie’s originally from the Chicago suburbs, so we hit up all the mainstays: Portillos, Lou Malnati’s and few new places on Hubbard street. Since we’re making a concerted effort to focus our hotel earnings on SPG, we stayed at the Aloft City Center and were pleasantly surprised. Our last trip to Chicago had us staying at the Gwen, which is definitely a much more upscale property, but the Aloft I would say had the better location if you’re looking to go downtown, as it’s central to just about everything. Plus, the staff was incredibly friendly and the restaurant next door, Beatrix, was always packed.
Enough about the hotel, onto the rant. On the flight back, we were able to enjoy a little bit of time in the AA lounge at O’Hare, thanks to Katie’s Citi Prestige card that comes with Admiral’s club access when you’re flying on AA (I lost my Platinum status on AA 🙁 ). So we get lucky and have our row of 3 to ourselves, and since we’re both fairly small people, we don’t require much room, but any space you can get on an airplane is a luxury. So it’s after takeoff and the flight attendants are just beginning drink service, I fire up my kindle to read a bit, and go to recline my seat when I immediately start hearing the loud protests of the gentleman behind me. I turn around, thinking that maybe I accidentally made him spill his drink or hit his knees, basically that I did something wrong. But really, the problem was that he was just a big guy, probably 6’3 or so, and that the reclining of my seat made him uncomfortable because his knees touched the back of it. As I mentioned before, I’m not a big guy. At 5’5 and 145lbs, there aren’t many spaces I don’t fit into. So I’m a bit annoyed at the fact that because this guy is too big for his seat, now both of us have to be uncomfortable for the remainder of the flight. Now maybe I’m being a bit insensitive, but my thinking is that when you buy an economy ticket, and you’re an above average height person, you pony up for the extra leg room. I’m not saying it’s fair, but it’s just the unfortunate tax you have to pay. It’s like when I go to a concert and would like to get floor seats, but I can’t, because if I do I’ll be staring at the back of a guy’s head for 3 hours, so I pony up for the lower level seat where I know I’ll have a good view. It didn’t help that we were sitting two rows behind the exit rows, which were empty, and he could have easily paid the $20-30 for that seat, or even moved up there for free if the flight attendants were feeling generous. There are few advantages of being a man under 5’9, but air travel is certainly one of them, and perhaps deep down that might be why I like it so much. Now if the airline doesn’t offer the extra legroom option, different story. When you’re hurling through the air at 35,000 feet you’re all in it together. But this man had a choice. He knew he was going to be uncomfortable in the economy seat regardless, he could’ve paid extra to have a bit more comfort, or he could selfishly choose not to, and not only cause himself discomfort, but also the person in front of him. To me, it just represents selfishness, and perhaps maybe I’m being a bit too hard on the guy. I mean he was older, so I didn’t really make a big deal about it, but this is definitely not the first time this has happened to me. A similar situation happened on a flight from Boston to Dublin, only this woman shoved my seat forward without even an apology, just expecting me to be okay with it. In that instance I was able to get another seat, I’m not spending 7 hours without reclining. End of rant, but I’d love to know other people’s thoughts on this, please sound off on the discussion below.