Monday, 23 March 2015

Plane recliners - shitful?



This is the discussion of the day online. Should people be allowed to recline their seats in economy? on domestic flights? on long haul flights?

I could literally feel a panic attack coming on even as I considered it.

I am claustrophobic in the extreme. Sometimes I have a little panic if I have trouble pulling off a jumper, and I always travel with a doctor's note, but too often that makes no difference.

I was having this discussion recently with a fella I know and yes he is taller than me. He said the first thing he does when the seat belt sign goes off is to fully recline the seat, and I said if he did that I would spend the flight swinging from the headrest as I made my way in and out of my seat - as a statement yes and also cos I would not be able to sit there flicking off his dandruff and dissecting the thread count on the seat protectors. He said if I did that he would punch me!

So there is no middle ground.

Where possible I part with the cash for an exit row or premium economy or business and I like to do this well in advance cos until it is all settled and I know exactly where I am gonna be seated and under what conditions I will be travelling, I cannot look forward to going where I am going.

Having a full blown panic attack on a plane is just not a happy experience, FOR ANYONE.

We were flying Munich to London one evening and had as always sorted the seats and for some strange reason the German counting system was different and instead of an aisle seat on the side, my seat turned out to be in the middle of the middle section. I saw it immediately we walked onto the plane. The realisation hit me like a red mist and so when we got to the steward I said to her the only thing I could think to say, ' If you make me sit there I will cry.' Yeh I know what a spoilt little princess! She said, 'You vill sit!'

I squeezed passed the lady one the aisle and Steve squeezed in too.

I was out of control immediately. I could not get a breath. I rocked back and forward. I hid my face in my hands and as promised, I cried. Firstly quiet little sobs as I tried in vain to maintain some decorum and then I washed my whole face and my chest good and proper.

We took off and then the steward came to get me. I was completely nuts by now. I thought she was gonna pop me somewhere akin to jail and I wouldn't move at all until she made it clear that we were both gonna be bumped up to business seats.

Steve was thrilled to bits. He ate drank and was very fucking merry. Me, well as is the case after a full blown panic attack, I was just exhausted and after some sense of calm was restored I slept.

It was a truly shitful flight.

This is not an isolated event. I have stood up on many flights because there just was not enough air in front of me. Once on a plane I think to The Gambia, I trawled around the plane and sat with my legs up the walls in any spare space until I was told to move on. We played cat and mouse. I sat with legs ups, they said move, I moved somewhere else and lay there with my legs up and they said move. It was a circle dance. Sitting in the seat was just not possible. It's a long way from London to The Gambia.

So now I am thinking about 2 trips this year. One to Sydney and that's pretty simple cos I go with Virgin and pay for the exit row. It's only a few extra bucks but worth it, except that last year they bumped me out of the aisle exit seat and stuck me in the middle and Steve had to jump up and down until they fixed it. Turns out they were just trying it on cos it was one of their own travelling for free.

And then there's the small matter of flights to London in September. This I haven't yet reconciled. Steve is happy to sit at the back of the plane, have a couple of beers and snore his way  home. But I just cant think about it. I reckon I would have to be so sedated that I doubt they would let me board.

I am hoping for some super deals closer to the time.

So No reclining for me. And please if someone ever tells you on a plane that they will cry, give what they want if you can, cos crying might well be the least of it.