My favorite episode of Seinfeld is called ‘The Airport,’ though it really should be called ‘The First Class Ticket.’ Elaine and Jerry are flying back to NYC and arrive at the airport to discover their flight has been cancelled. They can get on the next flight, but one will fly first class and one will fly coach. What follows is a funny glimpse at the differences at flying in the back and in the front of the plane.
Except, I don’t agree. Economy — I guess airlines think that the term coach is outdated — is practically pleasant. Why spend extra money on an upper class seat you’ll fall asleep in for a few hours? Why not be a touch cramped and spend that money on another trip? It seems like a no brainer.
We could discuss cramped seats, arm rest disputes, little leg room and that awkward moment when you’re closer to the business class toilets than the economy ones, but the minor annoyances we deal with when traveling are no surprise. Here’s why I love flying in the cheap seats, what do you think?
- You see the most interesting people in economy. Last time I flew business class, the man who sat next to me quite obviously thought of himself as an aging rockstar. He wore the black jeans, ripped shirt and painfully thin leather jacket. At some point near Greenland, he put his feet up on the seat in front of him. In economy, you sit next to people who are going places for a million different reasons. They’re going to school, on a trip, coming back home, visiting family, doing business — you name a reason to travel and you can bet that someone is traveling for that reason in economy.
- The food is a more entertaining experience. Free champagne and warm apple pie may be nice, but there is something so hysterically satisfying about the bad food you get served on economy. For a few moments, you get to indulge in having a superior palatte that simply cannot handle the veggie lasagna. And then you get to shock everyone with your experience.
- Who needs a big tv screen that is five feet away from you? The movies aren’t any better in business class and you’ll see them better in economy.
- Not getting a free newspaper in economy simply means you’re flying the wrong airline. On Virgin Atlantic, Air Berlin and several other airlines, you get free periodicals on or near boarding.
- You don’t get through security any faster. Instead, save your money with an aisle seat in economy and run like the wind once you get off the plane. If you’re going to the Heathrow immigration queue, this probably won’t matter.
- Priority boarding is a scam. You really want to spend more time on this tiny little plane? Nope. Didn’t think so.
Do you like flying economy? Have you ever flown business class?