Sophie’s Choice for Long Haulers

As the airlines continue to a-la-carte every service and product they can figure out a way to separate into pieces and parts, imagine this hypothetical scenario. You are booking a 10-hour flight in economy and are given the option to choose either a relatively comfortable seat and a good selection of in-flight entertainment OR good meals and attentive service from the flight staff.

This is essentially the question Sant asks in this thread on FlyerTalk, and the respondents so far seem to overwhelmingly favor a good seat and plentiful IFE options. A bit surprising perhaps, considering we live in an age of abundant personal entertainment devices. Then again, we also still live in an age where power availability on an airplane is about as reliable as, well, power availability in a third-world country.

I think the seat comfort question should be removed from the equation. Seat comfort is too important an issue to be lumped in with the other options in this equation. Hell, the desire for seat comfort has motivated the creation of several websites dedicated solely to providing flyers with that information – SeatGuru and SeatExpert (which I proudly worked on for many years) to name just two. Everyone would like a comfortable seat, particularly on a very long flight so lets just remove that from the consideration.

If the choice were good IFE options or good meals and service – and that could mean attentive service or being left alone to sleep if that’s what you prefer – the choice might be less clear cut.

Myself, I’d still choose IFE. I don’t expect a good meal on a flight and so am resigned to get what I get. But a few good movies might just make the difference between a tolerable flight and being zip-tied and met by local police upon landing.

I encourage you to reply to Sant’s question in the thread, but in the interest of not hijacking the thread, please feel free to provide an answer to my slightly changed options in the comments section below.

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