My eyes snapped opened at 5:00 am. It's Saturday morning in San Diego, and I'm heading back to Sarasota after the NMEA conference. Marine electronics propaganda is secured. My scattered clothing is gathered, and hung in the bag. A final sweep of the room ensures I haven't left anything behind. I head down to the lobby to check out, and grab a coffee. I'm doomed, and don't know it yet.
The San Diego Sheraton is right next door to the airport, and I'm whisked there in less than five minutes. Finding an empty ATMesque check in computer my e-ticket number gets scanned in. There's my seat assignment alright, and it sucks. The dreaded center seat in which it's guaranteed you will be squashed in-between a 300 lb professional wrestler, and a mom holding an infant that is crying nonstop and needs its diaper changed. Despite the fact I had purchased the ticket five weeks before the flight, the coveted aisles had been booked. I study the remaining options and what's this? An exit row aisle seat is available. That's great, it means if there is an accident I'm the first one out the door, but it requires paying another $27.50 to get it. Grimacing, I swipe my card, and acquire it, a most fortuitous decision it turns out.
I wait patiently for boarding. "We're boarding our super deluxe platinum members, and service men and women in uniform. Gold card holders, and passengers with small dogs in strollers may now board. We are now welcoming aboard our advantage plus members and all one eyed passengers. Silver plated club members may board at any time. Now boarding group one. I stare at my ticket and sigh. I'm group four.