Airplanes and the Eternal Question – Window or Aisle?

October 12, 2013

domestic fox on a plane

Arsi (a domestic fox) traveling from Russia to his new home in the USA. Thanks to Featuring Animals for the photo!

I love travel. I love exploring new places, eating new food, and meeting new people. I firmly believe that travel is the best means of broadening horizons, experiencing new ideas, and destroying preconceived and prejudicial notions that’s available to us as humans.

As much as I love travel, however, I hate traveling. I hate taking my shoes off at security. I hate it when the ground crew drives into the plane, irreparably bending the landing gear and causing me to arrive at my destination 9 hours late on the wrong airline (true story). I hate fellow travellers who seem incapable of abiding by carry-on baggage limits (and I hate the airlines for charging for checked bags, thus initiating this flagrant abuse of the overhead bins).

Most of all, I hate the seating arrangements. Tech Support loves to look out the window, and I both understand why and support his right to do so. Unfortunately, this means that on any plane bigger than a commuter, sitting next to my husband involves being squished in the middle seat.

I hate the middle seat.

On my last flight, the aisle seat was occupied by a stranger who:

  1. stole my arm rest, requiring me to spend four hours working on my laptop with my elbows pinned to my ribcage
  2. slept through the entire flight…. and I had to pee.

I know what you’re all thinking: “Why didn’t you just wake him up and ask him to move?” Because I’m Canadian, and it seems rude.

Apologies to fellow Canadians who are not afflicted with this particular neurosis, but for some reason, disturbing people in the aisle seat so that I can get to the bathroom makes me intensely uncomfortable. For some reason, this mental discomfort has been winning out over the physical discomfort of being:

  1. severely dehydrated due to excessive rationing of liquid intake
  2. at risk of bursting before I can get off the plane and find a potty on the ground

I’m not sure what the solution is here, but I suspect that a funnel and a coffee can are NOT going to make it through security, and besides, their use would probably get me arrested.

What about you? What aspect of travel drives you up the mental wall? What do you wish airlines would stop doing right now? What’s the one travel nightmare story everyone asks you to tell at parties? Enquiring minds want to know!

Don’t forget that Fox Talk is now available as hardcover, softcover, and enhanced ebook editions! Ask your local bookseller, or order online through Chapters and Amazon.

4 Comments on ‘Airplanes and the Eternal Question – Window or Aisle?’

  1. Yeah, all the above drive me mental when travelling. I dislike just about every aspect of airline travel these days when you have to go through security and then get squished into small seats – and the middle seat is indeed the worst of the worst. If you sit in the aisle your shoulder gets whacked every few minutes by bodies and food/beverage carts. If you sit in the window seat – you don’t wanna have to go to the bathroom because you usually have to get two people to move. Twice. The only part of airline travel that I DO like is that it gives me an hour or seven to read newspapers from cover to cover – I’ll get a Globe and Mail, National Post, and the local paper. And then it’s pure heaven to read them – unless you’re in the middle seat!! For paper reading, the window is the best. Am loving all your recent posts Lindsey – keep them coming!!

    Reply | 
    1. Thanks, Alasdair, I’m so glad you’re liking the new blog! And I agree, the one good thing about being on the plane is the uninterrupted reading time. I usually bring nonfiction – like how-to writing books – that I never get around to reading at home because there are so many shiny novels waiting on my shelves. Lack of choice is a great motivator for getting that stuff done!

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  2. I am waiting for them to invent that “beam my up Scotty” thing. It will be wonderful. Hint: my husband takes the window and I take the aisle, near him or not. I lived with him for 45 years. I can be apart a couple of hours. We both land happy.

    Reply | 
    1. Your system is probably the best solution, Melissa! If we’re in the same row, it would still easy enough to share the contents of the carry-on bags. Might have to try that next time…

      Reply | 

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