Contest winner: Overcoming a bad plane seat

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You read. You posted. You conquered, Cheapos.

Recently, we regaled you with the story of our lackluster plane trip home from Paris. In short, we had a really crummy seat on an American Airlines flight and were forced to come up with ways to “overcome” the seats. We then asked you for your tips on overcoming such transatlantic trials.

In witty emails, funny blog comments, and some in-person chats, we heard it all. (Including, to our relief, that we aren’t the only ones who’ve posed strategically for photos in order to snap documentation of intoxicated passengers… Thanks Henrietta!).

We also learned some innovative ways to avoid seat discomfort and annoyance, including pretending to be pregnant, tuning out with an iPod, and playing trivia with other passengers. One reader recommended the pharma-approach: pop a couple sleeping pills and say goodnight. Others distract themselves with in-flight movies, no matter how inane (Mouse Hunt, anyone?).

But, alas, there can only be on winner for our Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget giveaway.

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Poetloverrebelspy,” aka Hilary, is our winner. A true Cheapo, PLRS offered countless tips in her post, stuff worth checking out before your next overseas trip. We especially loved her shout-out to SeatGuru, a EuroCheapo favorite for mapping out the right seat before you book your flight.

In her own words:

“I’m an ethnographer at heart, so I pretty much enjoy talking with my seatmates if they’re game. I think people’s lives are fascinating, and anyone traveling across the world generally has a good story to tell. Any flight attendant who’s willing also has a lot of funny experiences and insider insights to share.

One flight I sat next to a man who chewed tobacco and spit into a bottle every five seconds for the entire nine hours.

Another flight I was seated next to a Ukrainian woman who didn’t speak a word of English. Wasn’t she lucky I spoke Russian so I could help her fill out all her immigration forms! Couldn’t I order a vodka from the flight attendant to calm her nerves (it was her first time flying)? Couldn’t I order another to settle her upset stomach? (Thankfully, this story ends here.)

Any flight these days that has a personal video screen, I have no problem finding three movies to entertain myself. I usually have magazines I’m trying to finish, a guidebook I’m scrambling to read or mind puzzles for those long waits on the runway. And there’s always the iPod to drown out the sound of your neighbor’s . . . spit.

As for not getting shafted in the seat lottery, it pays to put the day when seats for your flight open up on your calendar (usually 90 days out) and go pick yours immediately! Use Time and Date’s Date Calculator to quickly figure out which day that is. If you don’t fly often enough to know what’s what on the plane you’ll be flying on, use SeatGuru as your guide.”

Thanks, Hilary. And thanks to all the readers who submitted their tips. Check out the blog for more contests in the near future!

About the author

Meredith Franco Meyers

About the author: Meredith earned an MFA in fiction writing at The New School in New York City. Her feature stories and articles have appeared in Ladies' Home Journal, American Baby, Self, Bridal Guide, Time Out New York, Fitness and more. She joined EuroCheapo in summer 2007.

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