In Praise of British Airways

My recent trip to England is still very much on my mind. The food, the history, the wonderful people, and yes, the transportation to and from my destination.

I’d booked my flight through American Airlines, and because I tend to be frugal (since I don’t have tons of money, and therefore, little choice in the matter) I opted for the cheapest seats available on my flight to England.

So for about seven hours, (give or take a bazillion) I was crammed into a small seat—one of four jammed close together in the center section of the plane. And it wasn’t an aisle seat, so in order to reach my one allotted personal item (aka handbag) I had to use my feet to snag the straps and drag the bag up my shins until my fingers could finally grasp enough of it to pull it into my lap where there was just barely enough room to extract whatever I needed before returning it to under seat storage.

It was a laborious process, and since I’m a chronically disorganized individual (CDI), I repeated the steps at least two dozen times during the trip.

You might ask why I didn’t just keep the bag in my lap for the entire trip, and I’ll admit that I tried, but then was unable to use my tray table and by the time I’d gone through the rigors of retrieving my purse, I really needed a drink.

I won’t go on and on about the discomfort, but next time I’ll pony up the money for a better location. Perhaps beneath the plane. At least there I wouldn’t have to crawl over my fellow passengers to use the toilet, or to stretch my legs, or to take a full breath and exhale without encroaching on another human being’s personal space.

After my less than comfortable outgoing experience with American, I was really dreading the return flight. I’d not heard great things about British Airways, but what was I going to do? Hitchhike?

To my great surprise and immense relief the return trip was a dream. Same (cheap) price for seating, but the seats weren’t crowded so tightly together. I could wiggle. I could fetch my bag with ease. It helped that the flight wasn’t as full as the AA one had been, but even if it had been I’d still have had considerably more room than I’d had on the previous flight.

Plus, the seats had some support and reclined in a more ergonomic manner. Nice. The food was slightly better and I had room to actually chew.

One day maybe I’ll have sold enough books to fly first class. I’m not holding my breath, though. At least not on a completely full plane. There might not be room to exhale.

Note: Flight attendants were great on all my flights. These folks put up with so much and maintain their cool under trying circumstances. Cheers to the intrepid souls who care for us in the skies.

Peace, people!

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