The camaraderie of economy? How I stopped worrying and learned to love the Y | Australian Frequent Flyer
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The camaraderie of economy? How I stopped worrying and learned to love the Y

Scott K

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Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
261
There are few underpants wearing people in the history of humanity that would not wish to be seated in business class. The plusher, wider seats that are staggered for less invasion of personal space. The improved quality of service, food and even air are far better suited to preserving one's mental health. And of course there's the points and status credits ever so important to the brethren of the Frequent-Flyer.

I've avidly watched many of Dennis Bunnik's stuttered presentations and warmed to Sam Chui's panda-like cuddliness to know exactly what I want, where I want it and what flight I want it on. Shut-up and take my money, airlines! I have a bum that is in want of a seat, places to go, people to meet.

*sigh* but instead I close my eyes and cast that aside, search flights with preferred airlines and far more often than not pick the cheapest, possibly dirtiest seats I can find. A vision, a flash-back of an Air Asia flight on which I was the first to use the toilet since take-off, crosses my mind. I remember having have to hold my pants around my knees as the floor was so puddled with pee that I would have certainly soaked myself. I gulp, then I find myself booking into economy again. The perils of being a tight-**** on a self-funded flight.

Is economy really that bad? Whenever we think of economy we always think of the things we have least liked about it. The compressed seating that keeps you immobile. The improbability of sleep. The prayers uttered to a selected deity in the hope of no one else being seated besides you or your partner, and the despair as your hopes are dashed.

And we know it gets worse from there. The list is extensive. Throw babies and small children into the mix and you may as well jump on a grenade to save your fellow pax. You know you are going to feel like you have.

But as time moves on and I gain experience from every flight I take, I have found myself hating economy less over time. Except when I think about that Air Asia toilet. I just relax and soak up the sights, sounds and occasional pee puddles of economy. Which has led me to contemplate what is good about travelling in the clogged intestines at the bowels of the plane. Amidst the dull roar of the world around you that muffles over every sound, after a while it becomes hard not to hear, feel or notice the sense of community. If you don't try to cocoon yourself in the hope of experiencing the social separation of business class, the revelation that everyone in the seats around you are suffering just the same is unavoidable.

For the most part people around you are keen to not inflict more discomfort upon you than they already are dealing with themselves. They know what you are experiencing. Occasionally this breaks and someone ends up being a real butt-head on a flight. But again this for the rest of the cabin is a unifying experience. There's a sense of unease about the people nearest them. There's an empathy, if not a love. The screaming child two rows over is uncomfortable for everyone and you have a choice of how you can react. Are you going to be upset and ruin your own flight further with your own anger? Or are you going to feel empathy and sympathy with that child's parents. I don't have children, but I worked for 5 years in a children's hospital in close contact with parent's and children daily in the most intimate of often tragic ways possible. I know what I choose.

That big guy sitting down next to you that you makes you even more anxious about losing your personal space? She/he is probably as uncomfortable about themselves as you are of them. Far from ideal, but for the most part they are likely to try and do what they can to make sure you don't feel too bad yourself. The universe doesn't hate you just because you've been seated next to a fat person. I'm a big guy myself, and it gets really interesting when I find an even bigger guy seated next to me. Reminds me of something from the 80's I remember seeing on TV. I don't sit there ruminating how they should have booked a business seat or comfort seat. It isn't going to be an easy flight, but stewing on this fact has never improved the travel experience.

Economy is always going to be what you make of a less than ideal situation. But there's a beauty in being inside a flying tin can with others and I have come to love that feeling of closeness with the silent community around me, even as my lower spine melts into spasm in the less than ideal seat. When I travel to a new place I expect that I will be experiencing a different life and culture than where I am from, and will be thrust into dense populations of people I don't understand but I am keen to meet, no matter how fleetingly. And that starts in the economy cabin where you are often surrounded by home-returners.

How I react to the discomfort around me is always going to affect my experience of the flight. I can suffer in silence and resentment, letting it stew over into irrationality or I can sit back, hope the chair reclines and the person behind me doesn't lose their mind, check my attitude and turn on the IFE or open a book. It's a community of people like you in there and embracing it rather than being combative about it helps you more than them.

But please, gentlemen or ladies, if you find yourself sitting next to me and you are wearing rubber thongs, know that I am judging you and your disgusting feet. Wear some 5&$@1*# shoes.
 

Forg

Active Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2017
Messages
728
I dislike Economy because about 4 out of 5 people seated in front of me recline their seat back, and EVERY SINGLE TIME that I put a plastic knife through their eye into their brain some uppity cabin staff member gets all upset for no good reason.
 

Scott K

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
261
Lovely read.

I love economy as it allows me to travel as often as I like without spending too much of my daughter's inheritance. Hope she's thinking of me when I'm gone. ;)
Thanks! Well, if she’s getting all your saved up points i’m sure she’ll love it.
 

Scott K

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
261
I dislike Economy because about 4 out of 5 people seated in front of me recline their seat back, and EVERY SINGLE TIME that I put a plastic knife through their eye into their brain some uppity cabin staff member gets all upset for no good reason.
Have you tried strangling them with a belt extender? The cabin crew may appreciate not having to clean up the blood.
 

JohnK

Veteran Member
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Joined
Mar 22, 2005
Messages
41,468
I dislike Economy because about 4 out of 5 people seated in front of me recline their seat back, and EVERY SINGLE TIME that I put a plastic knife through their eye into their brain some uppity cabin staff member gets all upset for no good reason.
Serial recliners is the reason I ensure I have bulkhead/exit row in I would say 90%+ of international flights I fly in economy.

Don't care that much for domestic short hops and row 6 gets more vacant middle seats than row 4 used to get me and width is much more important than pitch.
 

kookaburra75

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Mar 26, 2017
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Lovely read.

I love economy as it allows me to travel as often as I like without spending too much of my daughter's inheritance. Hope she's thinking of me when I'm gone. ;)
I wouldn't go as far as saying I love Y, but I have got used to it - planes for me are just buses with wings - that comfy set of slippers feeling. I know it has faults, but I paper over the cracks in my memory of the not so good flights - and treat them as a new adventure each time. A lot of the times I have had really good chats with fellow passengers, helped out young families with their young kids and got great suggestions from locals from the destination I'm heading to.

Our travel policy has us in Y for everything, as do many organisations, so don't forget there are the hidden 'few' siting around you who are in the same boat in terms of just wanting to get to the other end as smoothly as possible - especially us who hit WP in Y. But then, I do get to have that smug feeling of slight superiority when I get our wine served in a glass, while the others around me have to make do with the fine replica wine glasses, modeled in stylish cheap plastic. It gave a lady on the other side of the aisle on my most recent trip to the UK something else to complain about, as she was "so important".

Have you tried strangling them with a belt extender? The cabin crew may appreciate not having to clean up the blood.
And slip a blanket over their head first, it helps muffle any noises - you can just claim they were sleeping as you get off ;) And don't get me started on them trying to crush my laptop.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Apr 27, 2005
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19,508
I agree! I have no problem with economy. I actually appreciate the ultra-qucik all-on-the-one-tray meal service. And I don't mind people reclining.

My problem is that at 6'3 it's very hard to fit in the seat. After a while either my back and neck or legs get sore. I did a flight in AA's MCE and it was perfectly fine. I'd be happy with coach if all airlines offered that.

Sleeping is the other issue. I can't sleep sitting upright, and flights are my opportunity for some peace and quiet (and sleep). My perfect flight would be a first class seat with an economy meal service (all on one tray, delivered 30 mins after take-off).
 

Forg

Active Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2017
Messages
728
^ That sounds a bit like J in QR’s QSuites? Anything off the menu whenever you want it, and a great big Do Not Disturb light for your cubicle?
 

Bodie

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Jun 23, 2011
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As Mrs Bodie and I travel mostly in economy we have finally discovered our routine. We have bought noise cancelling headsets (finally). Absolutely great. We have then ordered meals - we order fruit meals - felt so much better than heavy meal. So you still have eaten. We try and/ or request seats at the back of the plane (so we can recline) and not disturb anybody. We walk fast in the terminal to get moving again so overtake lot of persons who got off plane earlier. By the time get through immigration and customs - luggage is starting to come on conveyor. Like others Economy is what you make of it.
 

Pushka

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Jan 26, 2011
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^ That sounds a bit like J in QR’s QSuites? Anything off the menu whenever you want it, and a great big Do Not Disturb light for your cubicle?
We had flight crew peering over the enclosed space asking if we wanted anything.

I’m not a big good eater on a plane and at night I avoid the night time ritual of food service by just going to sleep. The length of service late at night is annoying.
 

mrsterryn

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Mar 29, 2015
Messages
1,095
I am fat ..no qualms no issues. I don't want to be an issue in economy
If travelling in economy try to have my husband with me or buy a comfort seat.
Short trips to Hong Kong, Tokyo...New Zealand don't need business
Comfort seat also accrues points and status credits for Qantas
Have to say also nice when the person in your three row seat sits down and looks at the middle seat and you can tell them no worries I bought a second seat we don't have to share the arm rests
 

Renato1

Established Member
Joined
May 1, 2015
Messages
1,516
When you ask for a soft drink in economy with your meal, they either give you a lousy 150ml can or open a bigger can and give you a little glass of it. Meanwhile, the chaps next to you who ask for a can of beer or bottle of wine, get 300ml ones - it's as if soft drink were the expensive drink that they try ration out.

Nowadays I just say "I'll have the entire can thanks" as they try pour it in a glass, or say I want two cans of lemonade to make a shandy with a can of beer if I'm really thirsty after departing from a hot place.

As the stewardess on a United Flight said to me as I got my extra cans "We can't offer it, but we can't refuse you if you ask for it"
Cheers,
Renato
 

Denali

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Sep 17, 2012
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We wont even do Syd>Melb in Y, I will change schedule/day to find that reward seat.

I blame AFFer. :)
 

dajop

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When you ask for a soft drink in economy with your meal, they either give you a lousy 150ml can or open a bigger can and give you a little glass of it. Meanwhile, the chaps next to you who ask for a can of beer or bottle of wine, get 300ml ones - it's as if soft drink were the expensive drink that they try ration out.
Not unlike lounges which have all sorts of bottled beer, a range of spirits, reasonable quality wines, employ baristas to make decent coffees, but insist on serving up crappy post mix soft drink .... sorry for going OT.
 

GarrettM

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Sep 17, 2015
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I am almost wholly aligned with you here Scott K.

Until you ruined it with your rampant anti-thong agenda.
 

Mattg

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I've done a bunch of long-haul economy flights over the past few weeks. Obviously, all things being equal, I would have preferred to be in a higher cabin class. But had I been flying J or F, I would have missed out on some very interesting chats with my seat neighbours on several of those flights. In a couple of cases, we ended up talking for most of the flight. One of my seat neighbours even offered me a lift to my accommodation upon arrival.
 

JohnK

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Mar 22, 2005
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When you ask for a soft drink in economy with your meal, they either give you a lousy 150ml can or open a bigger can and give you a little glass of it. Meanwhile, the chaps next to you who ask for a can of beer or bottle of wine, get 300ml ones - it's as if soft drink were the expensive drink that they try ration out.
I'll never forget that SQ flight where I asked for Coke Light and she brought back half a cup. I was thirsty bordering on dehydrated. I eventually got her to bring me cans of Coke Light throughout the flight but she made me feel like it was coming out of her pay. Poor service.
 

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