Dance floor legroom & Carolina lovebirds. Charlotte to SF in AA economy plus (A321)

The mid-60s North Carolina couple next me were heading to San Francisco for the first time, celebrating their 25th anniversary, and their party had already started.

Vodka/Red Bull with Bud Light was their go-to for refreshment on the 5+ hour flight (die-hard Stoli loyalists, they settled for the Texas-made Tito’s vodka).

I knew I’d picked an exit row seat, but I had no idea there’d be a small dance floor in front of my row:

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I was heading home to the SF Bay area on the last leg of my $142 round-trip visit to Pittsburgh to see my signifi other.

It was a nasty day in Charlotte when our CRJ900 landed in Charlotte for a connection.

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Charlotte is a tangled mess of American Airlines birds of all sizes.

Side note: the CRJ900 is a surprisingly comfy little plane:

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For 6+ hours of Saturday flying, $20 wouldn’t have been bad for a day Wi-Fi pass:

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American had a nice selection of free movies to watch on my phone, so I skipped the Wi-Fi.

Make sure you have either the American Airlines app or the Gogo entertainment app to watch stuff on your phone.

Like Chicago O’Hare, Charlotte’s airport is sorely lacking in the Priority Pass department (they don’t have any PP lounges), so I got some fish & chips from Phillips Seafood.

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Our plane was fresh off a flight from Frankfurt, Germany and ready to go, but our 4:30p flight kept getting pushed later and later because we were short a flight attendant.

I hate to say: it was satisfying to watch the group of eager boarding area gagglers huff&puff with each nudge back of the departure time.

Gagglers and non-gagglers may never understand each other.

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Get me on the plane. Must get on plane.

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We finally boarded ~2 hours late.

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I knew my seat mates were gonna be nice the moment they greeted me with Andy Griffith accents.

I was insanely grateful to be in seat 10A, which usually costs extra:

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But I selected it for free, thanks to my Alaska Airlines elite status (sadly, this partnership benefit will be ending at the start of 2018).

Here’s what SeatGuru.com says about the seat:

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This was definitely the most leg room I’ve ever had or will ever have on a flight:

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Please comment if you know what the mystery metal box is.

And those tray tables in front of us?

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They don’t actually come down. They’re locked into place.

One of the nicest flight attendants I’ve ever met hooked the three of us up with a free beer each, as a sorry for the delayed flight.

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I got up for the restroom later in the flight, and I came back to find Voodoo Ranger #2 waiting at my seat.

My seat mate had gone to the flight attendants hunkered down chatting in the galley & scored us another round of free beers with his charming anniversary shtick.

The one down side of the dance-floor legroom? It was a destination for restless folks, so we had people doing calisthenics over us throughout the flight. I can share though.

We raced to keep up with the setting sun, but it finally disappeared a few hours into the flight.

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The anniversary lovebirds invited me for a drink in the city, but I graciously declined.

“Oh c’mon, he doesn’t wanna hang out with us old people.”

They headed north to celebrate in SF, I headed south for home.

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