On a Miserable Flight

Sometimes selfishness doesn't pay. Which isn't a lesson I've really learned in my life, as I generally am not a selfish person.

Still, selfish moments do happen. And one such moment happened on a flight from Las Vegas to Raleigh.

Until six years ago I worked for EB Games. We had annual manager conferences, usually in Las Vegas, and the last manager conference I attended was held at Mandalay Bay on the Vegas strip.

My flight from Raleigh, both directions, involved layovers in the Newark Airport. Yes, I flew northeast to fly west. It didn't make any sense to me, but that was the flight the company booked me for.

At the Newark Airport, on the flight back, I had an hour layover. Before boarding, the person in charge announced that the flight to Raleigh was overbooked, and if someone was willing to be bumped until the next flight (three hours later) they would receive a pass for future flights.

Since I was in no particular hurry to get home — I had nothing to do except sleep that day — I volunteered. And yes, free flight passes was a selling point.

The airline boarded the flight. I gave up my seat, I was given a pass for the next flight, I settled in for a two hour wait, and then…

"Sir, it turns out we're not overbooked. We still have one seat."

"Oh, okay, then." I knew I wasn't going to get the seat I was supposed to have — an aisle seat — but it was fine.

And then I found out where my new seat was.

The last row. A window seat. With a corpulent man on the aisle.

I spent the flight wedged between the man and the window, and it was a miserable flight.

I was never so glad when I arrived in Raleigh. I could move. And I could breathe.

I said not a word to my companion on the flight.

If only I hadn't wanted that free flight pass! If only!

That's what you get for being selfish.

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