I took a domestic flight this weekend from New York to Portland. The thing that amazed me most about the procedure was the length of time it takes to get from one side of this country to the other: a good six hours.
Thanks to the power of modern technology I was able to check in online, and also select my seat with the help of that marvellous website seatguru. This site suggests which seats on a particular carrier's aircraft are better or worse than average. I snapped up 5E for the extra legroom it provided (forgoing a clear view of the movie screen).
They called the passengers to board from the back of the plane first, and by the time the last five rows were beckoned forward the plane was pretty full. As I made my way on board my heart sank.
The lady in 5D was enormous.
She was so big that she literally oozed into half of my seat. SeatGuru had already warned me that the middle seat in row five was a little narrower than normal, but that was a small price to pay for the extra legroom provided by the shift in configuration from steerage to business class at that point of the plane. It was going to be a long flight.
I eased myself into the seat, wedged myself under a large part of her torso, and tried to focus on pleasant thoughts. I think I managed to snooze for a while, and she periodically shifted around just enough to give me some breathing space.
The real moment of truth came at about hour number four. "Am I squashing you?". At this point any flag waving American would have felt obliged to let rip. Not the Englishman. "Oh no, it's quite alright". What was I thinking?
This place clearly isn't home, yet.