Yesterday, I, Marshall Jackson, being of sound mind and body rode in Zone 5 and survived. Why you ask? I booked a flight on US Airways, and credited the trip to my statusless Dividend Miles account. I had nabbed an aisle seat on the flight I wanted, but US Airways decision to take down their entire Sunday operation at DCA meant I had no airplane for my 8:30am flight. The next best option was a 1:45pm connection over Charlotte in seat 12E, Zone 5. I was glad to get it. I stopped by the US Airways Club in hopes something would be better…but the attendant wouldn’t even look for a new seat. “No seats to Charlotte all day” she said. At least she was pleasant about it, but I do sometimes wonder why she couldn’t just humor me and check anyway?

I resigned myself to a sucky 1-hour flight and I wasn’t disappointed. I wormed my way on board, and by nothing more than luck (and good packing skill) I was able to shove my carry on into the overhead wheels first. That was really all I cared about as I could surely survive 1 hour in a center seat as long as I didn’t have to suffer the indignity of baggage claim at my final destination. I took my assigned center seat. The aisle seat was occupied, but not the window. I waited…waited some more…and finally was joined by a deadheading US Airways pilot. Is it wrong of me to wonder why he could not have taken the center seat and me the window? Oh….that window seat is a “Choice” seat that US Airways tries to sell for a fee. Go figure.

In the end, I lived to tell about it. Though I do have to ask….is it just me or does US Airways have the tightest pitch in coach of any domestic legacy airline? There just wasn’t much room between my knees and the seat in front of me. Thank goodness its occupant didn’t recline. The flight attendants were pleasant enough, I got a whole can of Diet Coke, and the seat itself was recently upholstered and clean. I’d say the US Airways short-haul coach product isn’t exactly refined, but it met my needs for a 1 hour flight. I missed Delta’s wi-fi, but I don’t know that I would have used it on this flight. Not because it was short, but simply because there’s hardly enough room to unfurl my laptop and do anything with it.

I got to Charlotte close to on time, and was reminded of how much I like that airport. It’s an almost pleasant airport to change planes. So pleasant that I wish I would have had the time to stay longer. But alas, I had to boogie to make my connection to Fort Lauderdale, a tale from a different zone. Blog post soon.