Flying to San Francisco and a Conundrum

I am on a flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco headed to a week of wine debauchery at the Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC) in Buellton, California in Santa Barbara County. I don’t enjoy being away from my family for even the work day, so leaving for an entire week to visit one of my favorite wine regions was difficult. On the other hand, the WBC is a lot of fun–meet some great people, visit one of my favorite wine regions, drink a lot of wine.

A lot of wine.

Thus, a bit of a conundrum.

In the end, I decided to go, and my wonderful wife, who allowed (even encouraged) me to take this trip, agreed to drive me to the airport (well, I actually drove—insert Korean woman driving joke here) and along the way, both the boys fell asleep during the 20 minute drive. This is not all that unusual—in fact it is far rarer that they stay awake for even the shortest of journeys. Upon arriving at the terminal, I was faced with the conundrum of waking them to say goodbye. Luckily, my older son woke on his own and gave me a heartfelt goodbye. Sebastian, on the other hand, when I shook him a bit to rouse him from his slumber, emitted what most might consider a “fake” snore—that a five year-old might employ to try to fool (unsuccessfully) his parent into believing he were still asleep. I took this as a playful ploy, but despite several more shakes, he refused to open his eyes. So after embracing my wife, I reluctantly entered the terminal.

There was not much time to dawdle, so I made my way to the straight to the gate and was on the plane within 30 minutes or so. My wife (who is my own fantastic travel agent) had reserved me an exit row seat, which fits my 6’4” frame much more easily. [A side note: there is nothing that raises my ire more than seeing someone 5’0” in an exit row. Come on people, your feet dangle from the seat, there is no way you need the extra leg room.] Moments after settling into my seemingly relatively spacious 14” wide seat, the person who was to be sitting to my immediate right showed up.

She immediately asked me if I would mind trading seats with her husband, so that the two of them could sit together. Normally, I am a bit of a sucker for this type of request, particularly when I am traveling by myself. She then mentioned that his seat was located just one row behind.

In the middle seat.


You want me to give up my aisle seat with tons of leg room for a normal row middle seat?

At first, I thought she was joking, but she was clearly serious, waiting for my answer.

Um, no.

No conundrum here. I did feel like a bit of a jerk, but the middle seat?

Come on.

I did not have to wait long to get my Karma payback: we were delayed for two hours on the tarmac without receiving any information as to why. Eventually, the pilot informed us that we were being rerouted due to weather, but he was a bit worried that we would not have enough fuel for the trip.

This sent the woman who wanted me to switch seats into near hysterics.


I was in store for a really fun flight.

We were in the air in a couple of minutes and soon the drinks cart was rolling my way. I was surprised to see that there were two “premium” wine choices,  I opted for a bottle of what seemed to be appropriate.

20140711-080212.jpg2012 Conundrum: Cost $16 (375 ml). Thus far, I have stayed away from the Conundrum wines. I am not sure why, but it has certainly something to do with the name. For me, a conundrum has a definite negative connotation–one generally tries to avoid them. They had two choices of half bottles for $16–this and the Meomi Pinot (don’t know how Wagner was able to corner the market but bully for them). Not a bad price for a half bottle and considering the schlock they were peddling for $7 a glass, this was a no-brainier. As for the wine? I see why they call it a conundrum. Not really sure what to think about it. There seems to be some Viognier, a bit of Sauvignon Blanc, and some Chard. Add in some residual sugar and you have ur puzzle. I don’t mind it (but next time I’ll get the Pinot), but I would rather have each of those wines individually. I feel this is less than the sum of its parts. Still, good to Very Good. 85-87 Points.

About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Flying to San Francisco and a Conundrum

  1. sallybr says:

    Oh, at 4ft 11 1/2, I think you hurt my feelings… 😉 No problem, I understand where you are coming from, and yes, my feet do dangle…

    I like Conumdrum wines, I had them for the first time with great friends who brought a bottle to our home, and it was such a fun evening, I think I always associated that wine with fun and great conversation. (I am not much of a serious wine taster, as you can tell… 😉

    enjoy your trip… I don’t like to be apart from my beloved husband for 12 hours, so I know how you feel


  2. Mary says:

    Conundrum, indeed! Not enough fuel for the flight?! Is the pilot NUTS?!


  3. Antisocial Patty says:

    On my last flight the guy being asked to switch got to go from a middle to an aisle. That is acceptable. Asking anyone to move to a middle seat? NOT acceptable. Asking a tall person to move there? Incomprehensible.


  4. talkavino says:

    For the circumstances like this, I would never give up my aisle seat. parent/child situation might be different, but not for the two adults – sometimes, it is quite difficult to score that asile seat, so, no – sorry, but no. I had bad looks for that in the past, and otherwise, I don’t think it affects your karma – the airline delay due to “weather” and other stuff are unavoidable…

    As far as both Conundrum and Meiomi go – I definitely prefer water over either one of those wines. I don’t get how so many people go nuts for those, but to me, water tastes a lot better.

    See you later 🙂


  5. joyofwine says:

    I think I need to hook up with this conference…that’s THREE of you now that have posted about this conference! Is it strictly an American thing? Just curious….sounds fun anyway! Cheers!


  6. Kendall says:

    No guilt for not switching, she has real kahunas for asking such a silly thing. I bet one of the people in her husband’s row would have gladly traded with her.


  7. Have you ever watched William Hurt’s “accidental tourist”. Just a tip: play to be blind and depth just when you get seated. Ask your son how to play that role.


  8. No way I would have traded. I would have tossed her a Xanax instead. 🙂


  9. Airline travel is the pits . . . from every conceivable angle. Try to keep the tomfoolery down to a dull roar out there . . . but if you can’t, have a glass or three for me! Will be anxious for your reports. Salud!


  10. Don’t hate me but I’m 5’2″ and have status on the major airline that has dfw as a hub. So I’m that female business traveler who grabs the exit row aisle if she can. Much better when I have to work on the plane. Sorry Daddy Long Legs.


  11. Oh my. I gave up the musical chairs on flights gig long ago. I’m also 6’4″ and I hear you oh so clearly. Enjoy the fest!


  12. Have fun in San Francisco!! My husband and I just got back from San Diego (which was absolutely beautiful!!).


  13. cyardin says:

    No conundrum. She should have moved to the back crappy seats and left you alone. I don’t know why people think that there challenges (a relatively short flight without her partner right next to her) are transferable to others. You are spending a week away from your family, how’s that for longing? Maybe she could have covered the cost of flying your family to San Fran.


  14. I’m 5’3″, but even still hate the amount of leg room you get in the regular rows. She had a lot of balls asking you to switch though – I wouldn’t have.


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