Why I regret getting an upgrade
NOTHING puts a shine on the start of a long haul flight quite like an upgrade. So when I was told I had been upgraded to Premium Economy from Santiago to Sydney I was a happy traveller indeed.
But when I stepped on the plane and realised I was in a middle seat I paused. I usually go to great lengths to avoid middle seats and hadn't even thought that by accepting the upgrade I'd be giving up the aisle seat status I'd selected months ago.
After a brief flirtation with the idea of moving back to economy I decided to roll the dice, took my place and settled in.
If we had taken off on time things may have been different, but thanks to some problems with paperwork we spent the next two hours on the ground. When we were first told about the delay I got up to talk to a friend, who happened to be sitting two rows in front with his wife.
A little while later I got up to go the toilet. Then an hour or so after that I wanted to talk to my friend again. Which is when the man next to me rolled his eyes, sighed dramatically and declared, "I've never known anyone on a plane to get up so often."
Feeling the burn of shame for stretching my legs, I could feel the prison walls close in for the rest of the flight. After take off I needed to go to the bathroom but couldn't face asking him for my freedom so I sat there, legs crossed, uncomfortable, regretting those bubbles in the lounge before the flight and willing him to get up to go to the toilet so I could do the same.
I can't be sure exactly how much time passed, but it was more than the length of two movies before he finally moved and I leapt for the bathroom, swearing as God was my witness I would never fly middle seat again.
While the world is divided into window seat and aisle seat people, I've yet to meet anyone who prefers the middle seat, and in the past I've paid a pretty penny to avoid sitting in that spot.
On my last trip back to Sydney from London I found a flight on a good airline that was around $400 cheaper than the next best option. On closer inspection the conditions of the ticket didn't allow seat selection. That was far too high a risk of Dreaded Middle Seat for me so I felt the pain, paid the extra money and locked in my aisle seat.
That said I do love looking out of a plane window so if a flight is under two hours, or if I'm lucky enough to be flying business or above and can easily get in and out then I'm very happy in a window seat.
For longer flights in economy or premium economy I'll take my freedom over a view any time.
And I'll always smile as I get up to let the person next to me out to stretch their legs.