By popular definition, a Boeing 737 is a big airplane. And a Cessna 172, by most standards, would be considered a small aircraft. Well, on a strictly personal level, I wish to disagree.
This week, my wife and I traveled to San Francisco to attend a family wedding. Due to the distance, we decided to let United Airlines do the driving. So, last Wednesday, we boarded the Boeing 737, looking forward to enjoying the flight and a week off. Going through TSA can be an adventure, especially for those of us used to traveling on general aviation aircraft. So, after emptying our pockets, removing our shoes, after being scanned, profiled and patted down, we were finally through to the gate area. So here we are, working our way down the aisle to 26B and 26C. So far, sure does not feel like our kind of flying. Then I spotted our seat. Then I tried to sit in the seat. Tight quarters, by anybody’s standards. Lean a bit right and I was shoulder to shoulder with 26A. Lean left and you’re in danger of being run over by the beverage cart. Just when I thought I would survive, the baby on the lap of the person behind me decided the back of my seat was perfect for kicking.
Based strictly on personal space, your “small aircraft” affords so much more space than your large aircraft. So the next time I hear someone speak about small airplanes, my thoughts will be with all those people squeezed into little spaces on board those airliners. Me, I am quite comfortable in my Cessna aircraft with more legroom, more shoulder room, and nobody requesting that they be allowed to scan me prior to boarding.