Tag Archives: flying

aisle or window

Do you prefer the aisle or window seat when traveling? Why?

on planes like this it doesn't matter

I think my preference has evolved a little over the years. When I first started flying as a young adult I always wanted the window. Didn’t everyone at an early age? The excitement of looking out the window at 32,000 feet. In amazement of where you are, how fast you are going and how fascinating it all is.

But eventually you get tired of crawling over people to go pee.

And if you’re like me you start to develop a preference for the aisle so you can get up and walk around whenever you want without feeling guilty. You know, around age 24, when you start to develop restless leg syndrome?

If we’re throwing another person into the mix however, like a boyfriend, and we’re going on a long flight, I would probably choose the window and the middle for the two of us so we could cozy up together and settle in, without having to worry about someone crawling over us to go pee. I’ve traveled with other companions and we sat in two aisles next to each other. So we could still chat and be comfortable, with either one of us having to sit in a middle seat.

What do you say? aisle or window?

Aeropuerto emptiness

Is anybody workin' here?

By no means am I the world’s most frequent traveler. But I do my fair share of flying, averaging about one round trip every month or so it seems. I’m kind of surprised then, that I just now had my first overnight, stranded-at-the-airport experience.

After several delays in Grand Rapids, I missed my connecting flight (which was the last of the night) from Minneapolis to San Francisco by about 5 minutes. (I ran across the airport after landing only to watch my plane push back from the gate and cruise into the moonlight.)

The next flight out? 7:15 am the next morning… an approximately 9 hour, overnight layover. ugh. I called a few hotels nearby but they were all sold out. So I accepted my fate and settled in for the night.

Rather than immediately try to go to sleep on what we all know is bound to be one of the most uncomfortable make shift beds (you know the rows and rows of airport waiting seats), I decided to boot up the old laptop and do some work.

To my surprise, the conditions yielded great amounts of productivity. I uploaded about a hundred pictures from my iPhone to Flickr, put a nice dent in my post-vacation inbox, teed up a few new blog posts, caught up on Facebook and started planning a weekend camping trip.

Who knew a creepily dead airport at 2 am would be such a great workspace?

(Author’s note: This post was gleefully written at 4:44 am with 2.5 more hours of waiting on the horizon, followed by a 3.5 hour flight AND a full day of work ahead.)


Making friends on planes

While I’ve had some pretty redonkulous flying experiences the last few weeks I thought it was worth mentioning that I’ve had a few great experiences too.

On our flight home from Puerto Vallarta to SFO, Dave sat in the aisle seat (and I across the aisle) next to a very friendly couple heading home to SEA. It all started when the woman saw Dave reading The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest (he finished The Girl Who Played With Fire earlier in the week). She was reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I had just finished the trilogy and a few days before I told Dave I was going to give away Played With Fire to one of the many people we saw at the resort reading Dragon Tattoo. (I’m trying to share and give away books more.) Since Dave was having such nice conversation with the woman we decided to give it to her. We offered the book, she was extremely gracious and almost shocked by our generosity. I told her it was my way of getting her hooked on the series which I loved.

A few days later I flew to JFK for a work trip on a midweek redeye. I was dreading the flight because I had a middle seat. I ended up being between an older couple for Santa Rosa who booked the aisle and window in hopes of having an empty flight and having an extra seat for stretching out. As soon as I arrived at my seat however, they graciously offered me the window.

We started chatting and we ended up having really great, comfortable conversation for about 45 minutes while our plane sat delayed, waiting to take off. We talked about everything from our jobs, the importance of education, getting MBAs, and advertising, to restaurants in SF, musicals and museums in NYC, and their two twenty-something kids (they were going to visit their daughter who was interning in NYC for the summer).

Our flight eventually took off and we all went to sleep. When we woke up we started discussing our hotels and we realized we were staying in neighboring neighborhoods, so I offered to share a cab (thus offering a free ride for them since I would expense the ride for work. They graciously accepted. (I told them I was repaying their goodwill of giving me the window seat.) We continued our great conversation through the morning, in the cab ride and into Manhattan. We exchanged cards and threw out the possibility of meeting up for drinks or maybe to visit my favorite museum (the Whitney) together. In the end, we never connected, but I am planning to email them to see how their trip went and to see if they ended up going to see Promises, Promises (which I recommended).

While many people dread plane chat and do anything to avoid small talk with travel neighbors, I thoroughly enjoyed both these encounters. Meeting nice, interesting strangers can be one of the most enjoyable parts of traveling.

Here we go again

Fresh on the heels of the public shaming of the crazy woman on the flight from GEG to SFO that basically refused to turn her mobile phone off during takeoff, we have another guilty rule breaker.

On a flight returning to SFO from JFK, a young and annoying girl next to me blatantly ignored two or three requests by the flight attendant over the intercom to turn off all portable electronic devices. This time no one with authority noticed. She played with her phone right through take off until she lost service, at which point she defeatedly put it away. I was so tempted to tell her she needed to turn it off but I hate confrontation, especially with bratty girls I don’t know.

Instead, I will out her and all other future offenders on this blog:

Why is it so hard to follow the rules?

We were flying back to Oakland from Spokane and noticed a quirky woman sitting across the aisle from us. We were flying Southwest so, as you probably know, it was open seating. She was sitting in an aisle seat and was trying to get pairs to sit next to her and fill the middle and window seat. I told Dave she either was trying to make friends or she was trying to recruit normal people to avoid getting stuck next to a couple freaks. The latter strategy, if true, being quite admirable.

But as it turns out SHE was the freak.

As soon as the flight attendant announced that it was time to shut down electronic devices she proceeded to turn hers on. She plugged in her heinous looking Blackberry earbuds and started scrolling through her Blackberry music library which probably holds 50 songs. Dave and I obviously noticed all this and started to glare at her (me more than Dave). I was hoping she would glance over so I could scold her (I really was going to), but she never did. She sat through the safety announcements trying to slyly put in her earbuds. Everytime a flight attendant looked out from the front of the plane she’d yank them out of her ears in attempt to not get caught.

Eventually a flight attendant doing safety rounds noticed her Blackberry was on and told her to shut it down. Of course she explained that it was on airplane mode and of course the attendant told her that it had to be shut all the way down (like anyone who has ever flown once in their life knows).

She obliged and the flight attendant went back to rounds. Of course you can already guess that she didn’t actually turn it off. She just put it in standby or sleep mode and as soon as we took off she started listening to her music.

Seriously, what is wrong with people!