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Friday, July 19, 2024
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Flying Middle Seat Blues

It’s election day and everyone has an opinion. I’ll keep my thoughts on that to myself at this time and voice it on a more pressing issue- this six hour flight from JFK to SEA on Alaskan Airlines.

When I booked the flight the only factor I considered was the cost. Last minute, the flight was cheap enough to warrant using cash money, not points to fly. The flight was also scheduled for 715am, something that is equally miserable and perfect for flying across the country. The misery comes from having to leave the City at 515am after a night of beer pong, a game that is outside my athletic abilities. The perfection comes from knowing that I will pass out for the duration of the flight.

I checked in online and discovered the terrible news, I was assigned a middle seat. I got to the gate and was told more bad news, the flight was completely full. TPOL has a couple rules. If a flight is under eight hours, I can rationalize flying coach. If a flight is under five hours then I can mentally handle the middle seat. This one fell in the unsweet spot, leaving me question if this ‘good deal’ booking was what I thought it to be.

With no status, I was forced to rely on my charm with the gate attendant in the hopes that something would open. In the event that didn’t work, I reviewed the Kama Sutra Protocol of surviving a 17 hour flight, something I haven’t had to implement since my last flight from Addis Ababa to DC.

‘Now boarding all rows,’ came across the loudspeaker and I began my dramatic walk to the jetway. Right before I got on the plane, another announcement was made, ‘TPOL please come to the desk for a special message’.

As luck would have it, a nice aisle seat had opened up free of charge. Delighted, I made my way on board, ready to pass out from gate to gate. The only obstacle in my way is to convince myself that this crying baby is a white noise ocean playing a nonstop tune of relaxation.

See you in Seattle.



  1. Nothing so deep. Just an observation on the continuing practice of packing more seats into a plane, which makes for more middle seats.

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