The other day we made our plans for our usual holiday trip to visit family (the same type of trip that people oddly refer to as “flying home”…I don’t have to fly home because I live at home.) Today I get this in my email:
I’m old enough that I can still remember a time when air travel was seen as an adventure, almost as exciting as the destination itself. Nowadays it’s a miserable punishment you simply have to endure. Oh sure, you can upgrade to Platinum, Sapphire, Tungsten, Amphibian, Quantum, or Amphibian Elite, but most of those simply allow the chance to be seated earlier, ensuring you get to be wedged into an uncomfortable seat longer than everyone else. You can even, if you’re stupid or someone else is paying for it, go First Class, where being able to sit comfortably and have a pleasant journey is seen as some kind of extravagant luxury available only to the well-heeled, instead of the bare minimum requirement you’d think it would be.
For most of us, though, it’s a grueling ordeal that you accept simply because all the different airlines — back when there used to be different airlines — equally raced to this bottom of service. The sort of gentlemen’s monopoly agreements that define our Corporatist economy developed a system in which being served half a can of Pepsi is seen as a magnanimous gesture that is sufficient to offset the fact that sometimes our planes aren’t where we thought they’d be and your flight gets cancelled and ♫♪ OH WELL ♪♫.
But hang on, because here comes Delta with ECONOMY COMFORT! At last, it’s comfort…on a budget! And it’s WORTH IT, says the ad! For only starting at $9 more than the already crazy price we’re paying for wanting to travel during a time when people want to travel, we’ll get an experience that is slightly less shitty than what Delta and her friends have lowered the bar towards.
How slightly less shitty? How does 3″ more legroom grab you, huh? You read right, friend, INCHES. Not microns, centimeters, or angstroms. We’re talking four football fields worth of legroom here, if we somehow agree that a football field is 3/4 of an inch long. What will you DO with all that legroom? You also get, with economy comfort, the advance boarding that airlines still think is a big honkin’ deal, in case you can’t wait to move from a normal human seat to an airplane seat with THREE MORE ENORMOUS INCHES OF LEGROOM. “I’m super comfortable here in the terminal,” you’re thinking, “but boy I wish I could cram my bag in front of my feet, have some kid squirming behind me, and then have someone’s head recline into my lap. Can’t I board already?” If that’s you, then check out economy comfort.
It’s a tempting offer, Delta, but I think I’ll hang on to my starting at nine bucks and instead grab a beer at the airport Chili’s, which will provide the exact same amount of lubricant to get through the nightmare of air travel you’ve created.