I took the opportunity to fly home during a break in our schedule.  I was flying solo – something I’ve only done twice in my lifetime, but I’ve flown numerous times with friends, bandmates and family, no big deal, I know the ropes.

When we booked my flight, Jim and I took the opportunity to upgrade to the aisle seat in the emergency exit row. Those seats cost more but Jim thought I would enjoy the extra leg room (lol, totally wasted on me and my short little legs!) I should note that the airline I was flying on charges extra for everything. I think they even installed pay toilets on the plane (not sure though, short flight). 

As we were all being seated, I heard at least one gentleman look at the two empty seats beside me and tell the flight attendant that he would be happy to sit in the emergency exit row if needed – the attendant quickly told him that the plane was full and directed him to his seat. 

As I waited for the rest of the passengers to board, I read the pamphlet to re-familiarize myself with how to remove the door to the plane. The door weighed 30 pounds – no problem – my guitar and case weighs 25 pounds, so 30 pounds should be easy peasy for me…but the scenario I have always had in my mind the few times I’ve sat in an emergency exit row was that my job was not to remove the door, my job at the aisle seat was hold back the stampede of terrified passengers while the person sitting next to the door removed the door. You see, the door has to come inside the plane sideways before you throw it out…impossible to do if people are pressed up against it, right?

I waited to see who would be sitting in the seats next to me, who would share in the life and death duty that we promise (audibly) to fulfill and who would share my responsibility of saving the lives of the people on the plane.   But the plane was not full. The doors closed and I still had 2 empty seats next to me (and LOTS of legroom) so as the flight attendant went through the pre-flight rules, and told everyone to locate their nearest emergency exit, several people turned around and looked to ME as their savior.  I was picturing a whole new scenario now as I imagined myself opening the emergency exit (a two –handed operation by the way) and holding back passengers with my leg extended behind me.  Can I lift a 30 pound door standing on one short leg and holding back passengers with my other short leg? (Take a moment to visualize this, it’s worth it).  Every scenario I imagined ended up with me smooshed up against the unopened emergency exit door with a pile of passengers pressed up against me.

Seems that if the airlines are going to take this emergency exit thing seriously they would put a minimum of 2 people in each exit row, and give those folks a discount (or maybe a drink coupon – or a toilet pass) to thank them for taking on this vitally important responsibility.

I am happy to report that everyone lived under my watch. The question I have for you: “Is it a good idea for airlines to charge extra for an emergency exit row?”   Let me know what you think by writing in the comment box below. 

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