Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are great questions which perplex the human mind and stand as the great queries of the universe.
What is the meaning of life?
What comes after death?
Paper or plastic?
They all live in a pantheon of great questions, right next door to a pantheon of kinda great, but not as good questions.
These are questions you should pity because, while they are important in a certain moment, it’s all sorta “Who Cares?” in the long run. “Who Cares?” of course lives in the great questions pantheon because it has many pseudonyms involving a rat’s this or a flying that.
However, you will not find “Should I choose a window seat or an aisle seat?” in this same pantheon. It’s one of those questions living next door, sharing a bunk with “Would you like fries with that?”
But, for the time you spend on an airplane traveling to some exotic destination like Des Moines, Iowa, it is the most important question you will face.
The second most important question you will face is when the flight attendant comes by with the dinner cart and asks, “Chicken or pasta?”
But, if you are flying to Europe for example, where you sit is extremely important.
It’s the difference between putting the pillow against the inside wall of the fuselage and having a semi-comfortable rest, or just passing out with your head leaned out over the aisle with your mouth wide open and drool falling all over the place.
This weary traveler personally prefers the window seat either in front of the wing, or behind it.
There are many advantages to the window seat. Among them are the following:
• You get to see the landscapes as you begin your long descent to your destination. I got to see all of southern England, and the city of London itself, as I flew to the UK last summer for the Olympics. In 2010, I got to see the Mediterranean coastline of Italy as I flew into Rome.
• You have the aforementioned option to close the blind on the window and use it as something to rest your head against while you sleep.
There is one con to sitting by the window. If you have to use the bathroom, you have to climb over someone else to get to the aisle.
And, there are advantages of sitting on the aisle. They include:
• Not having to climb over anyone else to get to the bathroom.
• The flight attendant gets to you first when she or he brings the drink and dinner carts around.
There is the disadvantage, however, that the only sites you’re probably going to see are other people on the plane figuratively cutting logs with their noses as they snore in their sleep.
If you’re really unlucky, you’ll end up on a plane that has three rows of seats, and you’ll end up in the middle seat of the middle section. Everyone around you will be invading your space and some nosy old person will be asking you questions.
Or worse yet, you’ll have the experience I once had to the misfortune of living through — you’ll sit through a nine-hour flight in the middle section, sitting next some college kid rambling on and on about how he thought Europe was better than America.
I eventually wanted to punch him in the mouth, not because of what he was saying, but because he wouldn’t shut up.
And, that was because I played nice guy and gave up the seat I pre-picked and paid for (a window seat). Actually, I agreed to switch seats with a guy who wanted to sit next to his girlfriend.
Gee, if they wanted to sit together, maybe they should have pre-planned, and picked seats that were actually next to each other, rather than waiting until everyone was settled before asking if someone would switch seats.
Anyway, just keep all of that in the back of your mind the next time you pick where you want to fly somewhere and can’t figure out which seat you want.
Curt Yeomans is the Senior Reporter for the Clayton News Daily and an avid traveler. He can be reached by phone at 770-478-5753, ext. 247, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @CYeomansCND.