I recently came across a post on the blog Young Adventuress about annoying things people do on airplanes (http://youngadventuress.com/2013/08/annoying-people-on-airplanes.html/comment-page-3#comment-294423). It is well worth reading. This post is both painfully honest and hilarious at the same time.
It got me to thinking about my own flying horror stories. There are the usual seat kicking kids, lost luggage and even a damaged Italian leather purse (airlines’ fault on that one). Here are some of the more memorable:
- Invading My Personal Space – Just one of my personal pet peeves, but I don’t like strange people touching me. This holds especially true for creepy men. I prefer aisle seats for easy access in case I need to get up. On one flight, I was in my aisle seat and had the misfortune to have a very large man (OK, I know it’s politically incorrect, but he was obese) occupy the middle seat of a 3-seat bulkhead row. It became an uncomfortable problem when during the flight he appeared to have fallen asleep and leaned in my direction. I say appear, because every time I moved away from him, it became obvious that he consciously kept wiggling toward me and rubbing against my side. The added bonus was that he sweated profusely. Yuck! Find someone else to cuddle up with, Bub!
- Creepy Men – Boarding a flight to Salt Lake City, I had an attractive blond ask to sit next to me with a little desperation in her voice. She explained that her assigned seat was across the other side of the plane and pointed where I saw an older man looking at us. She said he was putting the moves on her and making crude remarks. I notified the flight attendant about why the lady needed to switch seats (not a problem since the one next to me was empty). The man continued to leer at us during the entire flight. What a pig! Guys, an airplane is NOT a singles bar. Stop hitting on us. (Yes, we women will stick together for protection from creepy types.)
- Line Jumpers – I was returning with my in-laws from a trip to Las Vegas. At McCarran, there is a separate security line for First Class passengers. They pay enough/travel enough to have earned this nice perk. I am walking down the First Class lane when a young woman with a baby in a stroller and her mother in tow ducks under the rope from the other lanes and cuts in front of me. The woman gets to the security checkpoint with table and x-ray machine and fusses about having to take her baby out of the stroller. The TSA agent is insistent that she do so. She takes the baby out of the stroller and HANDS THE BABY TO THE TSA AGENT!!!! Wait, it gets better! She then cannot get the stroller folded up. The TSA agent is holding the baby at arm’s length and to add to the mad scene the baby starts to wail! Meanwhile, her mother has already zipped through the x-ray ahead of her and guess who has the board passes??!!! Frustrated agent waves her through sans boarding pass. Morals of this story: 1) Don’t cut lines and go where you are not authorized to go, thus inconveniencing and annoying other passengers; 2) Learn how to fold up a baby stroller fast; 3) Always carry your own boarding pass/travel documents and 4) Travel more and be prepared so you know how to do things efficiently and not hold up your fellow passengers.
- You Want to Put What in the Overhead Bin?!!! – On a return flight from France, I had a FA ask me if it was OK for a guy to put a bag in the overhead bin above me (he was sitting a few rows forward). The guy shows the bag – it’s a bowling ball bag!!!! I said no and explained to the FA what was in that bag and explained what a bowling ball was (she was French and didn’t recognize the bag) and what could happen if another unsuspecting passenger opened the bin and got hit in the head with the ball. I also had Limoges gifts in a bag in the bin. FA made the guy put his bowling bag under his seat. Seriously, Dude, what were you thinking?!!
- Drunk Story #1 – Return flight from Boston, burly guy sitting in window seat next to me seems a little agitated. We take off and his agitation increases. All of a sudden, he says he can’t breathe. I summon a FA, who takes him out of the seat and lays him down on the floor. A nurse is on board and is summoned. After some questioning of his female traveling companion it is learned he is a nervous flier and drank at least 2 or more drinks pre-flight to calm his nerves. He is now suffering from lack of oxygen in the blood stream, which can be life threatening. The amazing thing is sitting next to me he never reeked/smelled of alcohol.
6. Drunk Story #2 – Because I am a figure skating judge, I fly a lot. On one flight to judge, I was seated next to a woman who seemed very sad. She confesses that she was coming back from her mother’s funeral and had finally mended fences with a sister whom she had not spoken to in years. I felt sorry for her so I used one of my drink coupons to treat her to a beer. This lady was in a very fragile state and managed to drop the beer which splashed on me and down the left leg of my pants. The flight attendant replaced the spilled beer where upon it got sloshed around and I got more beer on me. Good thing this lady was being picked up by her husband at the airport and not driving. It was interesting explaining to my fellow skating officials why I smelled like beer upon my arrival. (And I don’t even drink or like beer.)
At least, unlike Young Adventuress, I’ve never been thrown up on by a baby.