Trip type: Business

Airline: Delta

Route: ATL-MSP

Do you remember riding the bus to school in grade school where the back of the bus was always the place to be because it was where all the rowdy fun was? This appears to still be the case, even on a flying bus.

Due to a trip reschedule and in an attempt to avoid over $500 in change fees, I was scheduled to fly home on the last flight to MSP for the night at 9:55pm. Aside from the fact that I like to be in bed and asleep by 9:55pm, there’s nothing like knowing it’s your last chance of the night to get home to amp up the anxiety.

Luckily, one of the few perks of flying with status on Delta is a complimentary same-day confirmation onto a different flight. The only catch is that you can’t do it until the three-hour window of your desired flight time. So, since I wanted to get on the 7:40pm flight, I had to wait until 4:40 to call. After dialing in at 4:38 (from the highway in Atlanta traffic no less–do not recommend unless you have your SkyMiles number memorized), I was confirmed on the 7:40 by 4:42. Whee!

The downside to all this, of course, is that you take the seat that’s available. Although the Delta rep was able to get me a window, I was in row 37 of 40 on the narrowest plane in Delta’s fleet.

Once aboard, I realized that although I was in the basement of the airplane, I was in excellent company as it quickly occurred to me that everyone around me was in the same situation as I. There was the pair of already-inebriated women two rows behind me (henceforth known as the Drunken Duo) who had been standing by for the last two MSP-bound flights, the guy next to me who had formerly been scheduled on the 8:30 flight, and the entire row across from us of surly Diamond-level fliers who were just as annoyed as I was that we were in the back (one of whom offered to buy me a drink if I took his middle seat. Fat chance, buck-o).

There’s something strange about flying that builds an instant camaraderie between people (or animosity, depending on the situation) and it wasn’t long before we were all doing that annoying frequent flyer thing (which I’m sure is unbearably annoying to non-frequent flyers) of swapping travel nightmare stories and discussing how to get more miles accrued. By the time the drink cart came through, it was pretty damn jovial in the back of the bus and, after sharing a laugh at the fact that we all had comp drink cards, there was some across-the-aisle cheers-ing.

To boot, we got in early and E and Bells were already waiting for me at baggage.

Sometimes, it really isn’t all that bad after all.