10 passengers we love to hate: Day 10 – Aggressive seat recliners

Dear passenger in front of me – I appreciate that you’ve taken the captain’s suggestion to “sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.” I’m trying to do the same thing myself. Heck, we’re stuck in this metal tube together with nothing to do but sleep and watch movies for the next several hours. But I gotta be honest – you’re getting just a bit too aggressive with your seat recline.

Sure, I can appreciate that seat recline button is there for a reason. By all means, use it to get comfortable. But you’re reclining that thing like you’re competing for a medal in the X-Games. Was it really necessary to recline your seat back BEFORE we even took off? The flight attendant even asked you to bring it upright for takeoff and landing, but you went and put it immediately back down again. Is that even safe? It’s not like this coach seat reclines into a bed and we’re busting out our pajamas.

And would it kill you to ask me first if you’re going to drop that comfy airplane throne down on my face? You don’t always have toddlers or Verne Troyer sitting behind you. Those of us over six feet tall have trouble even fitting our knees behind the seat, letting alone getting comfortable, and now your seatback is all up in my meager personal business. And forget about using my laptop – with your seatback so aggressively reclined, my laptop is looking more like a giant Dell-brand oyster that’s clamped shut on a pearl. How am I supposed to squeeze my hands on the keyboard?

Maybe I’m just that angry guy who likes to rant for no reason whatsoever. I am kind of cranky today. But I suspect, if you were to ask any other passenger in my position, they would feel the same. It’s a tight space to begin with – cut the rest of us some slack and ask me before you recline that La-Z Boy like it was nobody’s business.

Read about ALL the passengers we love to hate.

AirTran will Sell Upgrades after Take-Off

Low-cost carrier AirTran has found a novel approach to the whole a la carte pricing scheme that some airlines seem to be intent on imposing on passengers. No, they won’t be charging you extra for using the lavatory or being fat. The airline recently announced plans to sell upgrades after boarding. Passengers who are seduced by business class during the boarding march to economy can purchase an upgrade from a flight attendant with a credit card. It will not be that expensive, either: $49 to $99 for a one-way upgrade to business class from the economy trenches.

All this depends on if there are any upgrades remaining after boarding. Passengers who like the idea of seats that are 4 inches wider and a half-foot of extra leg room should upgrade early to ensure that there are still seats available. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution summarizes the new strategy: “AirTran will continue to sell upgrades at the time of booking, at check-in, at the ticket counter or at the gate, and continue to give complimentary upgrades to elite travelers. Flight attendants will make announcements on board if any upgrades remain and are for sale.”

[Via Today in the Sky]

To Upgrade or to Break-up

I recently witnessed such an interesting airport dilemma that I could add a travel-related chapter to the bestselling self-help book “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.”

Two of my friends-a couple-were flying from a vacation in the U.S. back to Europe together. He was a frequent flyer gold card holder and got upgraded to business class for free. They don’t always upgrade, especially on trans-Atlantic flights, so he jumped at the opportunity. She is not a frequent flyer and did not get upgraded. She was mad at him for taking the upgrade and leaving her behind in economy class. He felt slightly guilty, but not guilty enough to sit in coach and completely give up the seat, or to shell out an additional $650 to get her upgraded as well. He offered that she sit in business class instead of him, but she refused.

Her argument was that he didn’t even consult with her and just announced it to her. She never said it bothered her, and just stopped talking to him.

He viewed her reaction as ungrateful. After all, he paid for the whole vacation, including her ticket. Now she wanted a paid upgrade too? Didn’t she want him to be comfortable and use those quickly-disappearing frequent-traveler perks? Plus, when he offered he would switch seats with her, she was not interested.

Any Dr. Phils out there who have an answer to this? Should you give up an upgrade for your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse so you can suffer with them in economy class?