Nothing good ever comes from the middle.

Middle managers face scorn. Lukewarm food tastes blah. Political moderates inspire nobody.

And of course, people will go through all kinds of contortions to avoid sitting in the middle seat on an airplane.

All of which makes the fact that Delta Air Lines on Monday unveiled a lounge exclusively for middle seat passengers--well, a moderately good idea.

It was only for one day (of course), and at only one airport (naturally). And the amenities were, well, nothing to get super excited about.

Nevertheless, it existed. As Delta explained in its announcement:

Flying out of Boston today? Double check that boarding pass, because middle seat customers snagged the golden ticket.

All customers need is their Delta boarding pass and they can pop into the exclusive Middle Seat Lounge before their flight out of Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) today. As Delta and Coca-Cola recognize middle seat customers, they'll enjoy the royal treatment and Share a Coke with fellow middle seat travelers in the lounge, and can even win a trip with Delta once onboard by posting a selfie with their seatmates.

Among the amenities that middle seat passengers were promised:

  • A Coke. Technically, the opportunity to "Share a Coke and conversation at the 'Share a Coke' Beverage Station." The whole thing was co-sponsored by Coca-Cola.
  • A chance to play games "with ... fellow middle guests." Judging by the photos Delta provided, the games seem actually to be a single game: Connect Four. I am not sure who took them up on this.
  • A chance to "meet current Celtics TV Analyst and former NBA Champion Brian Scalabrine." This seems a bit less than loyal, given that both Delta and Coca-Cola are based in Atlanta--home to the NBA's hapless Atlanta Hawks. Although, try to get a Boston sports fan excited about anyone who plays for another city's team.
  • "Receive a 3-pack of specially branded Coca-Cola bottles so they can Share a Coke with their seatmates, snap a selfie of the row and enter to win a trip on Delta."

Fittingly, the best perks out of this whole thing--the free soda and the chance to win a free trip--were listed not in the middle, but at the end of Delta's list. (Also perhaps fittingly, I'm discovering this and posting about it shortly after the pop up lounge was scheduled to de-popify.)

No, it wasn't exactly the same experience as the Delta Sky Lounge in Terminal A at Logan, which is described as "an award-winning retreat that allows relaxation, productivity, or both." 

But we should give Delta credit for doing a little something to improve life, ever so slightly, for those in the middle seat.

Except--

I almost hate to point this out. But when it comes to the big grand prize, the chance to win a free trip on Delta, the fine print on that leaves you a bit stuck in the middle.

Because on the one hand it says in ALL CAPS right at the start of the fine print: "NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING."

Sounds good. We've all languished in a middle seat at least once before, why shouldn't we all have a chance to enter?

But then, it says that the potential winner "will enter by uploading a photo of themselves and their seatmates to Twitter or Instagram along with the hashtags #ShareaCoke and #MiddleSeatLoungeSweeps."

You see the problem here: On the one hand, no purchase necessary. On the other hand, you can only enter by uploading a photo of seatmates that you'd only be able to sit next to if you'd made a purchase.

Hmmmm. Also, no word on whether the winning seat would also be in the middle, again.

Somehow that seems especially appropriate. People in the middle always get screwed.

But, at least they get the armrests.