I previously wrote about how I ended up in the last row of the economy class coach cabin as an American Airlines Executive Platinum member. My American Airlines flight was scheduled to depart at 6pm from Miami International Airport to Los Angeles (MIA-LAX). Thank goodness there was Wi-Fi available which make all economy flights bearable. The coach cabin is in a 3-3 configuration on a Boeing 757 narrow body plane.
Thankfully I was only traveling with a personal bag, so I was able to place my small bag in the overhead bin compartment. I didn’t even realize American Airlines had a 36th row!
Legroom was pretty sparse and I was praying that the guy in front of me would not recline his seat during the duration of the flight from Miami to Los Angeles.
I said to the girl in the window seat of 36A, “How did we end up back here?” She laughed and said that the travel agency made the booking. A man came out of the nearby lavatory (which was right behind me) and took a seat in the middle, 36B. I found out that they were a young married couple traveling home back to Melbourne, Australia. The male flight attendant working the coach cabin pulled a full size pillow from the overhead bin space above me and asked “Whose pillow this this? I’m going to have to move it.” It turned out that it was the girl in 36A and there couldn’t be anything in the overhead bin above me because there was wireless transponder equipment.
I was still in shock on how I received a seat in the last row of coach as an Executive Platinum elite member. The flight wasn’t completely full and ended up taking off of with empty aisle and middle seats. I didn’t want to ask the flight attendant to move me because it didn’t feel fair invading someone else’s privacy and taking up their room. I noticed that most people traveling in the back were couples and families.
As the flight reached cruising altitude, the flight attendants began beverage service which started all the way in the front of the coach cabin. The male flight attendant had the beverage cart and the female flight attendant manned the buy on board food cart. I noticed a lot of people were purchasing food items. There was a buy on board menu in the back seat pocket with a list of prices.
One thing I was looking forward to was a free snack and drink benefit for EXP members who end up sitting in coach. I was hoping they don’t run out of food by the time she got to me. By the time the food cart was in the middle of the cabin, the beverage cart was still in the very front of the economy cabin (Main Cabin Extra). The female flight attendant finally got to me in Row 36 and I decided to have the Chicken Caesar Salad. At this point, she mentioned payment for the salad. I mentioned to her that I was an Executive Platinum and showed her my boarding pass. She said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I have you sitting in 36D somehow on my handheld device.” She asked me “Do you want anything else?” I said, “Oh, I can have another?” She said, “Sure, you can have anything you want.” I chose my second item as the fruit and cheese plate.
My eyes lit up when I heard the magical words “You can have anything you want.” I wonder how far I could take her up on her offer as my fridge at home was empty. Perhaps I can have that Chicken Cobb Sandwich and a bag of chips to go!
As I was stuffing my face with the delicious grilled chicken Caesar salad (it was really good), I could notice my envious neighbors who did not buy any food for themselves. After I finished my entree, I had a fruit and cheese plate for dessert which I absolutely annihilated. By this time, the beverage cart made it to the middle of the cabin. I was so thirsty!
My legs were feeling the pain and thank goodness the guy in front of me didn’t recline his seat. I’m thinking he didn’t recline his seat because the aisle seat in front of him was empty in a non-reclined position.
The beverage cart finally made it to me and I ordered the usual, cranberry and vodka with lime. This is my absolute favorite drink onboard American Airlines.
The male flight attendant mentioned to me “She didn’t charge you for anything right?” I said no, she didn’t. I wonder if he would serve me drinks on drinks on drinks since the buy on board food was pretty much all you can eat for me at this point.
I killed my drink instantly and got up to use the lavatory.
As I got up, I noticed my neighbors got up to use the lavatory as well. It felt such a relief to be standing after sitting in a non-reclinable seat in the last row of economy class. Sometimes I wish airlines would have a “standing room only” place on the airplane. I actually prefer to stand than to sit. Of course no airline would have a standing room only place because standing around for a long amount of time would implicate that I am up to no good. In fact, flight attendants won’t even let you “congregate” in the lavatory. Taking too long in the lavatory could also imply that you are up to no good.
As I got back to my seat, my neighbor introduced himself as Tristan and his wife, Julie. I thought that was a nice gesture as I usually don’t talk to my neighbors on the plane. The first thing I do when I sit down anywhere on a plane is put on my noise cancellation headphones and listen to music while playing on my iPhone. I found out my neighbors spent 35 days away from their hometown of Melbourne, Australia. They spent most of their time in Orlando visiting all the theme parks such as Walt Disney World, Epcot, and Universal Studios. In addition, they took two 7 day cruises to the Caribbean and the US Virgin Islands.
Tristan and Julie were dreading their journey back home because they have a 3 hour layover in Los Angeles and connecting to a 16 hour non-stop flight to Melbourne on Qantas. I told them, I hope you guys got a better seat on that flight than this one. Tristan told me that they paid for extra leg room and chose an exit row which makes it more bearable in economy class. I told them that they would have to take a shuttle bus to Tom Bradley International Terminal because A380’s don’t fly out of Terminal 4. He was impressed of my airport knowledge and told him yeah I fly way too much. I gave him my business card and we exchanged information. I put on my headphones and worked for a bit using the Wi-Fi to pass time.
With 4 hours into the flight, I asked the female flight attendant if she still had M&M’s on the buy on board cart. She said, “Let me check” and gave me the last bag. The male flight attendant was nearby and asked me if I wanted another drink. I said no thanks, but it was nice of him to offer. At this point, he said “How did an Executive Platinum end up in the last row?” I was laughing and told him “I was wondering the same thing!” I told him I wanted to get back to LA 3 hours earlier and forfeited my First Class seat. I told him, “I didn’t think I’d end up in the last row!” We both laughed and I found out both of the flight attendants were Miami based.
I went back to my seat to enjoy my M&M’s and shared them with my neighbors.
With one hour left before landing in Los Angeles, the flight attendants did a second beverage service in the main cabin.
Tristan was still talking to me about his crazy adventures in the USA and how he bought this awesome shirt that said “I pooped today!” He said TSA was laughing at him when he had to raise his arms while inside the backscatter X-ray machine.
Meanwhile, Julie was unimpressed and was hugging her full size pillow.
Even though I was stuck in the back of the flight, talking to my neighbors and the friendly flight crew were the highlights of the trip. Of course, the free food and beverages made the flight more enjoyable as well. Ultimately, GoGo in-flight Wi-Fi got me through the flight as entertainment to pass by time. The trip would’ve been miserable without WiFi. Economy class can be bad, but it’s much more enjoyable as a top tier American Airlines Executive Platinum elite status member.
Have you ever had any crazy economy class experiences?