Sunday, November 8, 2015

Five People You Do NOT Want to Sit Next to on an Airplane

Let me begin this post by saying that I am known as a tolerant person.  In college, the resident assistant would always assign the "problem" roomies to me - the snotty girl no one got along with, the slob, the nudist who ran around in the buff. I could always manage to empathize with people's differences and accommodate or compromise.  So, in a discussion of airplane seat mates I'm not going to rant about crying babies (little ones cannot regulate their ear pressure).  My heart goes out to those who have to fly with infants in order to visit grandma for the holidays.
On the other hand, taking a three year old to Disney is unforgiveable. The kid isn't going to remember a thing, jackass.

But I digress...

Airline travel is intrinsically uncomfortable.  (Not talking to you, First Class.  Talking to my buddies over here in Screw You Cheap Seats.)  Seats are shrinking, amenities disappearing, the list goes on.  Sitting next to someone annoying adds insult to injury.  Over the years I've had some rather unique seat-mate experiences.  I share these with you now, not so much to warn you - you may never come across any of these in your flying lifetime - but so that if you are one of the potential offenders you might think a moment before you put another person through in-flight hell.

1.  The Malodorous.  I once sat next to a man whose breath smelled as if he had chewed a raw onion before boarding.  (The martini kind are pickled; this was the real deal.)  That in itself would be offensive, but he fell asleep and was an open-mouth breather who leaned his head - you guessed it - right in my direction.  A scenario like this is entirely avoidable.  (It's called mouth wash.  Sheesh.)  Now I get that the odors of some foods just leak through your pores.  You might not want to give up that garlic pizza the night before a flight, but I implore you, do give it a second thought.  And speaking of pores, as a member of the first world I'm assuming deodorant is ubiquitous.  I could be wrong.  But unless you live a nomadic life in a remote part of the Sahara, I'm pretty sure you've got access to soap and water.  There's no excuse for subjecting folks to your acrid stench.  Unless, of course, it's against your religion.  I've been told there are religious groups that conscript bathing at certain times.  Next time you fly, please ask your God to make sure you do not get a seat near me.

2.  The missionary.  I'm extremely tolerant of religious faiths.  I am extremely intolerant of public proselytizing.  Also not terribly interested in being a captive audience in a Billy Graham revival.  I once sat next to a sweet Filipino nun who told me all about her life, her convent, her mission to God.  For six hours.  You are a dear.  I applaud your faith and your sincere belief that you are helping feed people's souls.  Me?  I'd rather feed people physically (I'm a Born Again Italian Mother).  Stop.  Just stop.  Or next time I will pretend to be asleep and then you will personally be responsible for having damned my soul to hell with a lie.

3.  The smoker.  Smoking is prohibited in flight.  That doesn't mean I don't smell your nicotine reek if you've blown through a whole pack of Marlboros before you boarded.  I once sat BEHIND someone like this.  Until I figured out who/what it was I kept looking around to see if someone was disobeying the no-smoking signs.  It was that bad.

4. The author of In-flight Yoga  Oh, THIS is a good one.  This just happened to me recently and was the inspiration for this blog post.  A young Asian gal with bleached blonde hair, two-tone green nails, and expensive boots sat next to me on my flight from San Francisco.  I saw the boots clearly because she proceeded to take them off with her legs up in the air against the back of the seat in front of her.  She had no socks on.  I got a clear look at that because at one point she placed her bare feet inside the back of my seat pocket!  This is close quarters, sweetie, I don't want your tootsies near my magazines or snacks.  To make matters worse, she went into a FULL LOTUS on top of her tray table.  I don't like to curse on my blog, not even in acronyms, but WTF?  Her right foot was inches from my coffee cup.  Blech!  During the flight she had her feet shoved between the seats in front of her, up in the air, on the seat back again.  I didn't know if she was trying to get comfortable or practicing asanas.

Me practicing yoga.  NOT on a flight.
5. The poker.  Aside from my annoyance with yoga gal, I wondered how her postures were affecting the person who sat in front of her.  Certainly some of the positions she took put pressure on the back of their seats.  News flash!  The person who sits in front of you on an airplane can FEEL what you do to their seat.  I've spent flights with people who JABBED the entertainment console behind me over and over.  (Make up your mind about the movie, people! And if you're gaming, tread lightly because - after three hours -  I am wadding up that airline magazine and getting ready to go postal over the back of my seat!)  I've sat in front of kids who repeatedly kicked the back of my seat in restless movement.  (One time it was so bad I "monster glared" at the kid when his mother made no attempt to stop him.)

I'm sure you may have had your own seat-mate nightmares.  Please share them in the comments below!

1 comment:

KaterinaYelizarov said...

I can really relate to this! I've had a guy next to me once who was sweating profusely for an entire 10.5 hour flight... Wonder if he had the some kind of avian flu?