For 15 years I have faithfully read Scott McCartney’s The Middle Seat column in the Wall Street Journal. Now I have even greater appreciation for the man behind the column…thanks to a lovely guest columnist, Mrs. Middle Seat.
McCartney has always impressed me because he is one of the few mainstream travel writers who gets it. He truly understands credit cards, loyalty program, miles and points, and of course airlines. He’s even mentioned my own award consulting business in one of his columns, so he must know something. 😉
Put simply, each of his weekly columns are mandatory reading for me and I’ve derived great insight from his perspectives over the years. But what about the man behind the column? I see his smiling face in the hedcut, but who is he? Where does he like to travel? What’s his airline of choice?
We now have answers, thanks to his wife, Karen Blumenthal. She’s a former Wall Street Journal editor who filled in last week for her husband. Her column began:
He travels with a tape measure for recording seat size and legroom.
He has a freakish attachment to hotel-branded pens.
And he hasn’t simply read airlines’ contract of carriage, which is part of each ticket you buy. He’s committed some parts to memory.
Superb prose follows. I encourage you to take 4-5 minutes to read the entire column, but I’ll include my favorite snippet below.
Woe to the gate agent who denies him a hotel room when the evening plane is canceled for mechanical reasons. Or to the airline employee who decided his world-traveler roller bag was suddenly too big….
He stews. He steams up. He cites the rules, chapter and verse. They don’t know him—federal regulations require that he use his first name, which is not Scott. So to the folks on the other side, he’s just another irate know-it-all.
My job: Remind him that he has a power greater than indignation.
“Don’t argue,” I tell him. “Just write about it.”
And for your sake, he usually does.
As Gary Leff notes, she also apparently coined a new phrase she called the Platinum Pushoff.
It’s nice to know a bit more about the man behind the column. If you are familiar with The Middle Seat, you’ll enjoy last week’s edition very much.
Do you enjoy reading The Middle Seat column?