Here's a fun fact for you. Before we got married, Matt and I had never really traveled together other than to family gatherings. Our first big trip together was to Europe, a few years after we married.
The good news is, we travel well together. We both like to start early, go all day, get to bed at a decent hour and do it again.
Here's the bad news. We both have very different ideas of ideal seating on an airplane, and that causes some challenges.
First of all - Matt is tall, and also a little bigger than average, but the first thing you would notice about him is that he's 6'4". That's tall. Me, I'm a larger than average woman, and OK, the first thing you would probably notice about me is that. I'm 5'4". I wear a size 20 on average. So, a bigger girl, but not specifically one who is going to take up more room than allotted. I'll take up my whole space, but none of yours as well. Unless I'm sitting next to Matt, because his broad shoulders are going to encroach on me, my big chest makes me broad at the top - it's a chain reaction.
I am extremely conscious of my size when I travel. And I haven't traveled in five years. I know. Weird, huh.
Anyway, back when I was traveling all the time, I was a frequent Southwest passenger. And I was A-List, so I frequently got the seat of my choice. When flying, I prefer to be closer to the front of the plane (first 12 rows of a Southwest plane). I prefer to be on the right side of the plane (seated - left side as you walk on) I want an aisle seat. I have my reasons.
Being toward the front of a plane can be the difference in a mad dash and a brisk walk to a connecting flight. Plus, it just gets me off the damn plane sooner.
Being on an aisle is critical because it allows me the ability to spill into the aisle and worry a little less about my size. It also gives me unfettered access to getting up for a restroom break, should that be necessary.
Being on the aisle on the right side of the plane matters because I am lefthanded. And if I want to take out a pen and work on the in-flight crossword puzzle, and believe me, I definitely do - then I want my left elbow free and clear of whomever is seated to my left. Which on the right aisle, is nobody.
These are my preferences, and I stand by them - with Southwest, I was able to meet these needs 99% of the time on my flights. On other flights, I'd book to get something that didn't suck. I remember boarding a flight from Anchorage back to Nashville - the first leg of it, which was, I think, to Minneapolis - and when I got to my seat, there was someone there. I let him know he was in my seat and he asked if I wanted to trade. He pointed to a middle seat a few rows back on the other side. "Nice try", I told him. His friends laughed and he moved. He was a big dude, but I also planned and paid for my comfort accordingly. I regret nothing.
I'm a reasonable person, but if I went out of my way to get something to take care of myself, well that's mine to enjoy. Would I move if there were a mother and child that needed to sit together? Maybe. If it meant getting a similar seat in a different location. Put it this way, I won't take a downgrade. We were flying home from Europe and these two honeymooners wanted to trade with us to sit together. Matt and I declined because we also wanted to sit together, which is WHY WE BOOKED THE SEATS THAT WAY. They pissed and moaned most of the flight home - they were both on the aisle, one row apart.
Matt, you would probably guess is also an aisle guy. No. He's a window guy. He feels like that buys him the extra room without getting pummeled by the drink cart. Totally fair. Weird, but that's his decision to make.
On a plane that looks like this:
we're good. Get seats H and J and we're happy as clams. I've even been in the C or G on these flight and it's not bad. Even A and B are good. Basically there are 2 bad seats per row, and I honestly still prefer a D or F that only has you disturbing one person to get up.
However, most of our flights are like this:
Which means, either we sit apart, we sit our preferred seats together and take the chance that someone will be in between us, or, one of us gets what they want and the other one gets a middle seat.
And since there's no way I am going to cram my man with his size 14 feet into a middle seat, I'm the middle seat girl. And that means my shoulders are going to be tensed up so as not to invade the space of the poor schmuck in C or D. It's one thing for an hour or two. It's another thing to go to the west coast that way.
There's this other fun thing you can do on flights these days - and that is, forego choosing a seat for a cheaper flight. Which is why, pretty soon, I'll be rolling myself into a tight little ball and cramming into a B for a few hours. It's worth it, it's worth it. Once it's over, I'll let you know if it was worth it.
It'll be worth it. Right?