Welcome to Economy Class

We begin our journey into Bangkok thinking ourselves as prepared as we would ever be as seasoned travleres through this route. Because my wife was pregnant, I checked in via web through the airline website to get bulkhead seats so she would have enough legroom to stretch out and Xander wouldn’t complain too much on the flight (via excessive movement which tends to make my wife feel queasy).

What I didn’t take into account was the fact that though we had enough room in front of us, we didn’t have enough room at the sides. Bad enough economy class seats ensure only the most economical use of space (our seats fit our butts with no room to spare to even remove the in-flight entertainment remote from our seats while sitting down); we also got two bonus XX-large passengers as our seat partners (we were sandwiched in between on a four-seat row). My wife had the better end of our seat selection; the man next to her couldn’t have been more than 100 kilograms. I, however, managed to score Jabba the Hutt on my side, a middle-aged European juggernaut the size of a 2-seater Smartcar, but not nearly half as stylish.

My wife suspected Jabba had popped a sleeping pill, as he had conked out almost immediately after sitting down, which caused a few problems for me. For one, he was overflowing onto my seat arm, where my meal tray was stored. I managed to dig it out after a while, but then while putting it back, i had to push hard against my very large friend’s kidney to lift the flap up, then push even harder to fold the try back into the arm, which would have been embarrassing or even offensive had the guy woken up.

Yep. He didn’t wake up. Not a stir.

The other issue, was, of course, elbow space. Our quietly-snoring-away human mini-planet had managed to defy the physics of human anatomy by fitting into an economy seat, but by doing so, had forced all his flubber up above the confined space between his armrests, thus encroaching his newly created super-sized lovehandles beyond the confines of the economy-class seat that he paid for. So I had nowhere else to go but into the arms of my pregnant beloved, which isn’t wholly a bad thing if you can live with a perpetual day-long cramp on your left side from leaning away from someone’s overtly massive, saturated butter rosti-induced love handles for 2 hours.

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Our flight back was slightly more bearable. This time round, I managed to get bulkhead seats on the right side, which meant no neighbours to our left and right. Just a mostly empty aisle on my side (other than the food and drink trolley traipsing up and down a couple of times), and my wife’s window seat (sitting next to the sky; how much more space can one ask for?)

Again, what we didn’t account for this time round, was the neighbours behind us. Two Singaporean ladies (I suspect mother and daughter, though both looked like they were in the throes of menopause) were seated behind us, and halfway through the flight, my wife pointed out to me a naked foot resting quite comfortably on her armrest. She says, “Every trip, without fail, I have to get my elbow smeared into a naked foot during a flight. Without fail!”

I offered to chide the woman on her behalf, but being the nice person she is (hmm), she decided not to pursue the matter, and cleverly shoved her pillow in between the offending foot and her elbow so ne’er the twain shall meet.

On the upside, the foot did look quite well pedicured.

Sure it’s economy class. you probably don’t expect service fit for a king in economy class (the wonderfully shit service in our particular airline is worthy of a post of its own), but to experience bad passengers is a whole new can of worms.

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