Friday, 25 September 2009

British Airways... Why Hath Thou Forsaken Me?

Let's get this straight. I hate flying.

Firstly, I have a fear of flying. Well no, that's a lie. I have a fear of falling thousands of feet in a metal box to my untimely death. I'm not at the phobia end of the spectrum. I can get on a plane. But every bump, and every noise makes me grip the handrests. I once screamed during a particularly bumpy ride into Bangkok on a prop airplane. That sort of fear.

Secondly, I'm gigantic. At 6'8" I cannot physically sit in the normal seats on a plane and thus must submit myself to begging at check-in for exit seats (which most airlines don't let you book in advance). Worse is watching the smug little people who have their exit seats as well as I watch my more proud brethren (i.e. those who don't beg) who are forced to sit in cramped seats with their legs around their ears. Virgin Atlantic once tried to charge me £50 quid for the benefit of getting a seat that I could sit in. That didn't go down too well and I got on without paying their tall person fine, then sat next to another giant who had PAID! Poor guy.

British Airways has always been different. I never needed to plead with them, just a phone call when Jim booked the tickets (months in advance) to let them know ahead of time that there was a freak booking for that flight usually meant no fuss at the check-in. This meant a happy, relaxed Jae. It meant a pleasant journey. It meant a lot. Of all the greedy, uncaring companies out there, British Airways was one of the few that didn't discriminate against people just because of their height.

But alas, those days are gone. £50 for the privilege of an exit seat is not a trifling amount. I wonder if they charge disabled people more? Do they? I hope so. You think they'll make an exception for me? Unlikely unless I do something that goes against my very nature and make a scene. Rules are rules, and staff are always keen to keep to them (the British Virgin Atlantic check-in assist only didn't charge me after a 10 minute debate and when she did it she did it with a roll of her eyes that said "Customers... who'd have them?" as if I was some sort of cretin for daring ask for a seat I can fit in).

So my trip to Berlin next month is now less something to look forward to than something to fret over. Will they charge? Won't they? Very, very sad. Farewell to my one safe port of call in the world of flying.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

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