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MARC Rider

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It seems silly to knock Ryanair or other budget airlines for their "bare bones" service.
Folk have a choice of flights between most places, so if a person wants a cheap flight, why not?
It is up to the airlines to decide how spartan or luxurious the options are to maximise their income in the sector they are aiming for.
I love to fly on the A380 of course, but I am also happy with my cheap short hop flights to mainland Europe.
The main thing that I hold against the cheap operators is their often very early morning flight times.

That might sound OK in theory, but there are a few things that should be universal:

1) Luggage. Most flights are for long distances and a significant percentage, if not most passengers are not commuters on the MARC train carrying only a briefcase or daypack. All the people trying to jam rather large pieces of carry-on luggage in the overhead racks is a nuisance and probably a safety hazard. And once you add the baggage checking fees, the "low fare" isn't o low.
2) Seat size. This could be a potential safety hazard with regards to rapid evacuation of the lane in an emergency. I have heard that the the current cramped seat configurations have supposedly be tested or modeled for this and have been approved by regulators, but, frankly, I would be skeptical of models or test results prepared by companies that have a financial interest in the results, and we all know how regulatory agencies can get "captured" by the businesses they regulate.
3) Given the climate crisis and the fact that airliners have a very high intensity of greenhouse gas emissions in sensitive parts of the atmosphere, I don't think it's good public policy to encourage the growth of airline passenger miles through cheap fares.
 

caravanman

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Well, we all have our opinions of course, but I don't feel happy with the idea that air travel should return to be the preserve of the wealthy, as per your point 3 above.
I don't see why things should be "universal" either? Is it not better for everyone to have a range of options to suit themselves, rather than just one standard, as we have with Economy, Business, First Class on the planes?
I can well see me boarding a budget Norwegian flight to America (if they still exist?) clutching my 7kg carry on, and just buying a few shirts and trousers when I get there, if it saves $$$ !
 

jis

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Given the climate crisis and the fact that airliners have a very high intensity of greenhouse gas emissions in sensitive parts of the atmosphere, I don't think it's good public policy to encourage the growth of airline passenger miles through cheap fares.
But if a plane is going to fly from A to B it will generate roughly the same amount of pollutants ireespective of whether it carries 200 Business Class passengers or 450 tight packed cheap economy passengers. The pollutant generated per passenger mile would be considerably smaller with the greater number of cheap passengers. This would suggest that maybe it is upper class that should be banned to encourage more efficient use of a limited resource.

Most of the extremely good sounding pollution and energy efficiency numbers for trains are usually based on crammed capacity and not stretched out thin first class capacity too, Maybe it is cheap crammed capacity that should become the norm so that the projected efficiency numbers line up better with reality.

BTW, a very interesting tidboit that was mentioned by United management in one of their all hands staff meeting last week is that most of the flying that is being done now is leisure flying. Business flying is close to non-existent, and most of even the upper class flying is leisure flying. Only 10% of the frequent flier program members are flying! Amazing realities!
 

Devil's Advocate

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It seems silly to knock Ryanair or other budget airlines for their "bare bones" service. Folk have a choice of flights between most places, so if a person wants a cheap flight, why not? It is up to the airlines to decide how spartan or luxurious the options are to maximise their income in the sector they are aiming for.
Does "bare bones" service include flying with less recovery fuel resulting in more emergency landings, playing games with destination names, employing executives who mock and deride your own customers, and leaving people high and dry whenever legally permissible? I've flown Southwest for decades so I can live without luxury but Ryanair is different.

I don't feel happy with the idea that air travel should return to be the preserve of the wealthy, as per your point 3 above. I don't see why things should be "universal" either? Is it not better for everyone to have a range of options to suit themselves, rather than just one standard, as we have with Economy, Business, First Class on the planes?
The problem with airlines like Ryanair is that every time they push the envelope of acceptable corporate behavior it eventually spreads across the industry impacting everyone else. Instead of creating more service levels with more options for different customers at this point nearly everyone is paying stupid fees for basic services.

(1) But if a plane is going to fly from A to B it will generate roughly the same amount of pollutants ireespective of whether it carries 200 Business Class passengers or 450 tight packed cheap economy passengers. The pollutant generated per passenger mile would be considerably smaller with the greater number of cheap passengers. This would suggest that maybe it is upper class that should be banned to encourage more efficient use of a limited resource. (2) Most of the extremely good sounding pollution and energy efficiency numbers for trains are usually based on crammed capacity and not stretched out thin first class capacity too, Maybe it is cheap crammed capacity that should become the norm so that the projected efficiency numbers line up better with reality.
(1) My knees simply cannot fit in today's child-sized coach pitch but I also don't need an obnoxious motorized seat contraption that weighs a ton up in business class. There was a vast middle ground that could have done wonders if we had taken action and made progress back when it still mattered.

(2) I've yet to see a source that puts passenger aircraft anywhere near the pollution levels of passenger trains. The pilot that kept making that claim on our forum was using cherry-picked apples and oranges examples to make his flimsy napkin math case. Even if you ignore the fallacies in his argument what makes passenger trains far less polluting than aircraft is not only their efficiency but the fact that they can be powered by renewable energy, which is thus far impossible to do with passenger aircraft. If we had reliable daily passenger trains I'd be happy to ride them over land and only take a flight when traveling over water.
 
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jis

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(1) My long legs simply cannot fit in today's child-sized coach pitch but I also don't need an obnoxious motorized seat contraption that weighs a ton up in business class. There was a vast middle ground that could have done wonders if we had taken action and made progress sooner.
I did not say it would be pleasant. I was just making an extreme counter-point. I agree with the existence of the vast middle ground and I believe it should be served.
(2) I've yet to see a source that puts passenger aircraft anywhere near the pollution levels of passenger trains. Even the pilot that kept making that claim on our forum was using cherry-picked apples and oranges examples to make his flimsy napkin math case. Even if you ignore the fallacies in his argument what makes passenger trains far less polluting than aircraft is not only their efficiency but the fact that they can be powered by renewable energy, which is thus far impossible to do with passenger aircraft. If we had reliable daily passenger trains I'd be happy to ride them over land and only take a flight when traveling over water. The bright side is that we've done so little to address pollution is that we still have so much we can do to make things better. The down side is that doing anything at all is still too much for many to stomach. At this point we've already lit a thawing permafrost fuse that will set off a feedback loop that makes this whole debate completely irrelevant.
I was merely illustrating that a similar argument as made by the OP would hold even for trains in today's actual praactice, and not that trains in any form are as inefficient as planes. So again I agree with you. And of course eventually when we get to energy efficiency nirvana using only renewables for univerally electrified railway, which BTW, India will probbaly get to a century before the US does, then the point about trains having an equivalent argument becomes entirely moot.
 

caravanman

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Again, at the end of the day, the fact that passengers are happy to fly Ryanair, and to arrive at secondary airports for a cheaper flight, is down to choice. Those passengers vote by placing their backsides in seats, and opening their wallets.
Yes, it is annoying to have to pay extra for luggage, to choose a seat, to buy a meal, but these are offset by having a lower "base price" for those that don't need them.
I am not a fan of Ryanair, they seem a very unpleasant and tricky bunch, as per that "cheap flights" video, but as a person on a budget, I like that despite their faults, I can travel at a price that is acceptable to me.

Just as a matter of interest, I looked up Ryanair flights from my local airport near Nottingham, UK, to Faro in Portugal. In January 2021, I could get that 3 hour basic flight for US$ 27... I would be paying more for a cab to the airport than for the flight!
 
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PVD

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Quite a few years ago, the best player on my hockey team was in grad school at Syracuse U. People Express $19 dollars Syracuse to Newark. $2 a man, and we flew him in for the weekend (we played one on Sat and one on Sunday) One of our LVP (least valuable players) would keep his equipment in his trunk, and do the airport runs...We got one of the best players in the league for our games, and he got to see his parents and girlfriend almost every weekend...
 

Devil's Advocate

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Again, at the end of the day, the fact that passengers are happy to fly Ryanair, and to arrive at secondary airports for a cheaper flight, is down to choice. Those passengers vote by placing their backsides in seats, and opening their wallets. Yes, it is annoying to have to pay extra for luggage, to choose a seat, to buy a meal, but these are offset by having a lower "base price" for those that don't need them. I am not a fan of Ryanair, they seem a very unpleasant and tricky bunch, as per that "cheap flights" video, but as a person on a budget, I like that despite their faults, I can travel at a price that is acceptable to me.
Are most Ryanair passengers actually choosing one airline over another, or would they be staying home or traveling on a bus otherwise? Here in the US we are more spread out, we live under the rules of binding arbitration, and do not enjoy the same passenger protection laws as Europeans -- so when a Ryanair acolyte such as Spirit or Allegiant leaves us high and dry in exchange for a useless "base price" refund we're genuinely burned. People on a budget are even more screwed since they're at the mercy of an airline model that is built from the ground up to avoid accepting responsibility. When I'm planning a trip I try to take into account the potential for disruptive events and recovery options as well, which I don't think most ULCC passengers bother to consider until it's too late.
 

Dakota 400

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Any airliner with 20 seats or more requires a flight attendant (the reason for several 19 seaters...the FO does the safety briefing, and the cockpit is not closed except for a curtain).
I first discovered this when I was a passenger on an Air Canada turboprop from Dayton to Toronto. I was very surprised to learn that there was no flight attendant and, as you said the FO does the safety briefing and the cockpit was visible from where I was sitting. There was a curtain, but the crew did not close it. This was a plane that the the restroom in the tail of the plane with a sliding door that kept sliding open. I don't think there was any heat available. Even though it was a July day and I don't think we reached 10,000 feet, it was cold!
 

caravanman

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Are most Ryanair passengers actually choosing one airline over another, or would they be staying home or traveling on a bus otherwise? Here in the US we are more spread out, we live under the rules of binding arbitration, and do not enjoy the same passenger protection laws as Europeans -- so when a Ryanair acolyte such as Spirit or Allegiant leaves us high and dry in exchange for a useless "base price" refund we're genuinely burned. People on a budget are even more screwed since they're at the mercy of an airline model that is built from the ground up to avoid accepting responsibility. When I'm planning a trip I try to take into account the potential for disruptive events and recovery options as well, which I don't think most ULCC passengers bother to consider until it's too late.
I can't speak for all other passengers, but historically, mostly folk don't fly from one airport to another within England. People mostly take a train or a coach for such inter city trips. Flying from England to Scotland, or overseas to Ireland is more common. Most budget airline flights are taken to holiday destinations abroad, or visiting family overseas, but I guess there is a good amount of business related travel too.
I have probably been lucky, in that I have never been let down with a cancelled flight, but I believe folk are entitled to compensation of some sort.
I weigh up all the options when booking a flight, such as fare, departure airport, time, overall convenience and the cost of any extras. It's not all about the cost, but it is a major factor when one can save 75% by picking a no frills airline.
I certainly take into consideration being left high and dry when planning my Amtrak train rides...
 
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jebr

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I certainly take into consideration being left high and dry when planning my Amtrak train rides...
Yeah - if nothing else, Amtrak travel has prepared me to handle delayed travel fairly well (or at least know what to do to make it work out.) So far in my roughly 20-30 round trips on ULCCs (mainly Spirit and Frontier) I've had pretty good luck - no cancellations so far, and most delays have been an hour or less. I'd consider that on-time for my Amtrak travels!

I've also been able to be strategic about getting everything into a backpack - usually it's a day trip or a single overnight, so only a change of clothes is required (for the day trips, just in case my flight gets cancelled.) I did do a 4-night trip earlier this year with just a backpack - a couple changes of clothes and a load of laundry halfway through at the hotel made it quite workable; I found some detergent sheets online so I didn't have to worry about the 3 oz rule for liquids. If I have a longer trip than that, but am traveling with someone else, we still have the option to check one bag total for the two of us, which would likely still keep the cost quite a bit cheaper than on a full-service airline or a more traditional low-cost airline.

I wouldn't use them for an important business trip - if something does go wrong, it can spiral out of control fast. I do also use a credit card with some sort of trip cancellation/interruption protection so if I need to make my own changes, I have some sort of backup to hopefully help with the costs. That said, I've found that even the legacy airlines are hesitant to rebook you on another airline when things go awry, so you're still often stuck with whatever's available within their network. The ULCCs certainly have their niche, and I think they do a decent job serving that niche.
 

Bob Dylan

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Again, at the end of the day, the fact that passengers are happy to fly Ryanair, and to arrive at secondary airports for a cheaper flight, is down to choice. Those passengers vote by placing their backsides in seats, and opening their wallets.
Yes, it is annoying to have to pay extra for luggage, to choose a seat, to buy a meal, but these are offset by having a lower "base price" for those that don't need them.
I am not a fan of Ryanair, they seem a very unpleasant and tricky bunch, as per that "cheap flights" video, but as a person on a budget, I like that despite their faults, I can travel at a price that is acceptable to me.

Just as a matter of interest, I looked up Ryanair flights from my local airport near Nottingham, UK, to Faro in Portugal. In January 2021, I could get that 3 hour basic flight for US$ 27... I would be paying more for a cab to the airport than for the flight!
That's a heck of a Deal Eddie! Too bad the Pandemic makes it too Risky eh!!!
 

Ziv

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RyanAir has democratized the use of air travel, especially in Europe, for good and ill.
UK lager louts found it cheaper to fly to Tallinn Estonia for the weekend, pay for a room and booze, than it was to stay home and drink heavily. And Tallinn locals hate them with a passion for their drunken revelry and the destruction it wrought.
I arrived in Tallinn, took a walk through the Old Town area and was kind of saddened by the hostile reactions I got. My hotel front desk clerk asked me how my walk went and I told her I loved the architecture but was kind of disappointed by the hostile response of the locals. She looked at me and laughed, which only made it worse. She apologized and said, "They think you are a Brit!" She explained what was going on and told me to tell them I was American. I have never been mistaken for anything but a "Yank" before, but who knows. The funny thing is that she brought me a beat up baseball cap the next day and it was like night and day. Not only did a baseball cap somehow prove my nation of origin, but it improved my reception by the locals by a noticeable degree.
All because Ryan Air had dirt cheap flights from the UK to Tallinn.
I have never flown on any of the budget airlines because I am pretty tall. After taking Air India flights from London to BKK and suffering from the short seat pitch, I will never subject myself to that again.
On edit: I added a couple photos to show both how beautiful Tallinn is, and how sleepy it was. Note the cat sleeping by the shop...

Again, at the end of the day, the fact that passengers are happy to fly Ryanair, and to arrive at secondary airports for a cheaper flight, is down to choice. Those passengers vote by placing their backsides in seats, and opening their wallets.
Yes, it is annoying to have to pay extra for luggage, to choose a seat, to buy a meal, but these are offset by having a lower "base price" for those that don't need them.
I am not a fan of Ryanair, they seem a very unpleasant and tricky bunch, as per that "cheap flights" video, but as a person on a budget, I like that despite their faults, I can travel at a price that is acceptable to me.

Just as a matter of interest, I looked up Ryanair flights from my local airport near Nottingham, UK, to Faro in Portugal. In January 2021, I could get that 3 hour basic flight for US$ 27... I would be paying more for a cab to the airport than for the flight!
TallinnVista.jpg TallinnStreet2.jpg
 
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Bob Dylan

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Yes Jim,

I am staying home until I get my vaccine shot. I haven't even been on a bus since March!😊

Hope all is well with you and yours?
Glad you're doing OK, loved the Mick Fleetwood Picture!

Were fortunate that all my kinfolks and friends are OK so far.

Like most, hanging in there waiting on the Vaccine and a somewhat return to Normalcy as soon as possible!😷

I'm ready for a trip to anywhere, would even consider Flying on Ryan Air! 😄
 

jis

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I arrived in Tallinn, took a walk through the Old Town area and was kind of saddened by the hostile reactions I got. My hotel front desk clerk asked me how my walk went and I told her I loved the architecture but was kind of disappointed by the hostile response of the locals. She looked at me and laughed, which only made it worse. She apologized and said, "They think you are a Brit!" She explained what was going on and told me to tell them I was American. I have never been mistaken for anything but a "Yank" before, but who knows. The funny thing is that she brought me a beat up baseball cap the next day and it was like night and day. Not only did a baseball cap somehow prove my nation of origin, but it improved my reception by the locals by a noticeable degree.
All because Ryan Air had dirt cheap flights from the UK to Tallinn.
I have never flown on any of the budget airlines because I am pretty tall. After taking Air India flights from London to BKK and suffering from the short seat pitch, I will never subject myself to that again.
On edit: I added a couple photos to show both how beautiful Tallinn is, and how sleepy it was. Note the cat sleeping by the shop...



View attachment 19675 View attachment 19676
Tallinn, Estonia, is indeed a very pretty little fortified town - an almost living version of a typical such settlement that formed part of the Hansetic League. It is worth a visit if it can be done at a reasonable price.

I have visited it several times, but never flown to it. It was always a Hydrofoil ride from Helsinki, when I was in Helsinki for over a week and over two weekends for business meetings. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were great little countries to take a side trip to across the Baltic Sea on free weekends.

Now they are seriously working on a rail tunnel under the sea to connect Helsinki to Tallinn, and also connect up two pieces of the EU by a fixed link.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I have probably been lucky, in that I have never been let down with a cancelled flight, but I believe folk are entitled to compensation of some sort.
&
So far in my roughly 20-30 round trips on ULCCs (mainly Spirit and Frontier) I've had pretty good luck - no cancellations so far, and most delays have been an hour or less.
I was held up for hours and then dumped well outside any reasonable interpretation of city limits after everything had closed for the night. I managed to figure something out but it wasn't a pleasant experience I'd care to repeat. This was on easyJet but they seem to have the same shoulder-shrugging attitude as Ryanair, Spirit, Allegiant, Frontier, etc.

I have never flown on any of the budget airlines because I am pretty tall. After taking Air India flights from London to BKK and suffering from the short seat pitch, I will never subject myself to that again.
Seat pitch seems to be decreasing across all airlines and cabins. It's amazing how simply being tall has become something of a disability in the modern era. If current trends continue we may have to charter our own private aircraft at some point. Imagine having to save up a decade's worth of trips just to buy a single flight to Europe or Asia.
 
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MARC Rider

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RyanAir has democratized the use of air travel, especially in Europe, for good and ill.
UK lager louts found it cheaper to fly to Tallinn Estonia for the weekend, pay for a room and booze, than it was to stay home and drink heavily. And Tallinn locals hate them with a passion for their drunken revelry and the destruction it wrought.
Oh my goodness, I hope RyanAir doesn't start westbound transatlantic flights to New York, or even worse, Baltimore. I'd hate to have these guys show up in my hometown, and it might do terrible things to US-UK relations. I guess we're lucky that British sports fans aren't really that much into baseball or American football. (Though I remember reading that some time ago, the NFL played a few games in Britain to try to spark interest.)
 

Ziv

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The NFL games in England have had pretty poor teams play most of the time, but out of 20 (?) there has only been one that had less than 80,000 people in attendance. NFL games are a novelty since there are only 3 of them per year and they play at Wembley, if memory serves, so it is a large, familiar venue for Londoners. I think the Patriots have played twice, but I am not sure what years.
Somehow I doubt that the NFL will be booking any flights to the UK in a Boeing Max 8, regardless of any assurances from Boeing or the FAA about the safety of the aircraft... Too short legged.

Oh my goodness, I hope RyanAir doesn't start westbound transatlantic flights to New York, or even worse, Baltimore. I'd hate to have these guys show up in my hometown, and it might do terrible things to US-UK relations. I guess we're lucky that British sports fans aren't really that much into baseball or American football. (Though I remember reading that some time ago, the NFL played a few games in Britain to try to spark interest.)
 

Dakota 400

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Tallinn, Estonia, is indeed a very pretty little fortified town - an almost living version of a typical such settlement that formed part of the Hansetic League. It is worth a visit if it can be done at a reasonable price.
During my Baltic cruise, Tallinn was a city we visited. Really hadn't expected much and was very pleasantly surprised at what I experienced. It's the "old Europe" that I found very much missing (that I had remembered from previous trips sometime ago) during this cruise.
 

caravanman

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Being 6' 2" tall myself, I always try for an aisle seat on long haul flights. I tend to pay a little extra on the budget airlines to try for a front row seat with more leg room, or an exit row seat.
Being of retirement age myself, I don't seem to find any hostility towards me as a UK resident when I travel abroad...
Talking of Hansiatic League towns reminded me of an interesting visit to Kings Lynn:

kings-lynn.jpg
 
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MARC Rider

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The NFL games in England have had pretty poor teams play most of the time, but out of 20 (?) there has only been one that had less than 80,000 people in attendance. NFL games are a novelty since there are only 3 of them per year and they play at Wembley, if memory serves, so it is a large, familiar venue for Londoners. I think the Patriots have played twice, but I am not sure what years.
Somehow I doubt that the NFL will be booking any flights to the UK in a Boeing Max 8, regardless of any assurances from Boeing or the FAA about the safety of the aircraft... Too short legged.
So if RyanAir starts flights to BWI, we'll have to worry about British lager louts at Ravens games? Or maybe they're only a problem if British teams are paying. I didn't realize that this experiment was having the success you're implying. Is there a chance that the NFL would establish an expansion team in London? (I guess they would be called the "JetLags" because they'll be playing all their away games halfway around the world.) I guess if they do, that's when we'll have to worry about British lager louts in the US.
 

caravanman

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So if RyanAir starts flights to BWI, we'll have to worry about British lager louts at Ravens games? Or maybe they're only a problem if British teams are paying. I didn't realize that this experiment was having the success you're implying. Is there a chance that the NFL would establish an expansion team in London? (I guess they would be called the "JetLags" because they'll be playing all their away games halfway around the world.) I guess if they do, that's when we'll have to worry about British lager louts in the US.
I am starting to feel offended by your continued harping on about "British lager louts"... Don't worry, I am sure your proud boys will protect you...
 

MARC Rider

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I am starting to feel offended by your continued harping on about "British lager louts"... Don't worry, I am sure your proud boys will protect you...
Please accept my apologies. I'm quite sure that most British visitors to the US are not "lager louts," and indeed, lager louts don't have to be British, as we have plenty of our own home-grown varieties, even if we call them something different.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Being 6' 2" tall myself, I always try for an aisle seat on long haul flights. I tend to pay a little extra on the budget airlines to try for a front row seat with more leg room, or an exit row seat.
What do you do when your attempt at a better seat fails? I used to have a system that made modern coach workable but even after studying seat maps and consulting seat guru I would sometimes end up in a modified or unpublished floor plan that took me out of a bulkhead or exit row and threw me into a knee-crushing seat instead. Once you're on board it's too late to fix anything and even a zero dollar airfare is not worth ten hours of sleepless suffering to me.
 
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