The Awk Spot: The Time I Got Yelled At on a Plane

I’m back in Beantown.  Yay!

I realized this week that there are a lot of things that get under my skin about airports and airplanes.  And the people in both!  I probably realized this a lot earlier than this week, but this is just when I decided I would blog about them.

Here you go, a nice little break from my recipes, workouts, etc.

Ten Airport/Airplane Pet Peeves

  • Girls that get decked out for travel.  How can it possibly be comfortable to make your way through the airport in heels and a short skirt?  I understand heels for those traveling for work reasons whom perhaps didn’t have the chance to change.  But for looks?  REALLY?  I once saw a girl wearing strappy heels that tied all the way up her leg.  Those really must be a b*tch to take off in the security lines!
  • Speaking of security lines, what about the people who STILL don’t understand the rules that go along with them?  C’mon people.  I know they are a huge pain, but it’s been over a decade.  Put your liquids in the right size container, take your laptops out of your bags, and get with the times.  Oh yeah, and stop holding up the entire line behind you.
  • People who walk at a snail’s pace.  Don’t you have a plane to catch?  Get out of the way!  Or I’ll run you over with my suitcase.
  • People who think the rules apply to everyone but them!  If strollers need to be checked, um, that means you too, mother dearest.  If everyone else has to take their jackets off while going through security, you cannot keep yours on and zipped to your neck.  And so on.
  • Baggage claim crowding.  If everyone would just take three freaking steps back, everyone would be able to see the luggage!  There’s a concept.  The same goes for the suitcases as you disembark from the plane.  You know, the ones they put away instead of storing in the overhead bins.  Is there really a need to crowd everyone right at the front of the line?  Take a step back!
  • People who sprawl on the plane and take up your entire seat, leg room, etc.  You only paid for one seat, you know.
  • This is one of my favorites.  When someone who clearly has a seat at the back of the plane (like 38C kind of back of the plane) finds it necessary to pause at every single row on the plane.  Do you really need to stop, squint, and look at what number row you are at until you get to your seat?  Way to hold up the line!  Plus, I assure you, row 38 did NOT magically get moved up between rows 3 and 4 for this flight only.
  • Along the same lines, when the guy sitting at the back of the plane puts his carry on luggage at the front.  Are you that lazy you can’t carry it all the way back?  Does the guy in row 2 really want to stow his bags near the bathroom and then walk all the way back to the front of the plane, bumping into everyone else walking in the opposite direction just because of someone else’s rudeness/laziness?
  • Over-excessive recliners.  I’m gonna kick you.
  • People who bump into you as they come on down that aisle, without so much of an inkling to apologize.

Today on the plane, the guy sitting next to me asked me if I could please excuse him while he got up to look for something he left in his bag.  Sure, not a problem.  I stood up (I was in the aisle seat) and moved out of the way so he could get to the overhead compartments.  He rummaged around for a good two minutes, shrugged his shoulders, and then sat back down.  As we were buckling up, he said, “I was supposed to wear one of those mask things, but I guess I can’t find it.”

Awesome.  I spent the rest of the flight curling up in the other direction as he sat there, picking his nails and breathing into my space.

If I get sick, I’m gonna be pissed.

Honestly though?  NOT the weirdest thing that’s happened to me on a plane.

Cue one of my most awkward moments of all time.
(And I’ve had a lot).

Back in May I was on the way home from a work trip in Myrtle Beach.  I was on my connecting flight from Charlotte and all settled in a middle seat toward the front of the plane.  Before we took off, the flight attendants decided that the man sitting in one of the exit rows, aka the you are responsible for helping the entire plane survive in case we go down row, was unfit for the job.  And they switched his seat with the man sitting in the aisle seat next to me.  Obviously.  Apparently it was my lucky day!

Now let me just say that I got a weird sense about this “unfit” man from the minute he sat down.  First off, he smelled terrible.  A lovely combination of B.O. and booze.  He was definitely drunk already, and his shirt was NOT touching his pants, so you can imagine the view I had.  After he sat down, he immediately started rummaging through his backpack like he was feeling for something at the bottom of the bag.  But he never took anything out.  Weird, right?  Of course my crazy mind automatically thought, “What is down there?”  Also he kept popping pills out of an Alka Seltzer bottle!  I think popped five of ’em until he realized he ran out of whatever he was taking.  At this point, he started tonguing the bottle.  Yes, licking the rim of the bottle.  GROSS.  As if that would magically make some more Alka Seltzer appear.  THAT was pleasant.

Moving on.

The flight attendants began making their safety announcements, and “the unfit” (let’s call him that from now on) started LAUGHING under his breath.  “Heh heh heh, heh heh heh.”   Um, what is so funny about the flotation cushions and air masks in case we crash!?  Meanwhile, he hadn’t stopped fidgeting around in his backpack (he actually threw it in the aisle at one point and the flight attendant had to come speak to him about keeping his bags properly stowed beneath the seat in front of him) and he had started sweating profusely.  During takeoff, he even started muttering “This is going to be an experience” over and over under his breath.

Okay.  Cue official freak out time.  Was this man a terrorist!?  I was panicking, but didn’t want to make a scene, so I stayed put in that middle seat pretending to read my book.  The unfit settled down a bit after take off, until the random moment that he swiped his backpack from under the seat and stormed to the front of the plane.  Yes, he actually bee-lined for the cockpit.  At that moment, I literally thought it was the end.  The flight attendants brought him back to his seat, scolded him that he under no circumstances was allowed to go to the front of the plane, and that was that.  The flight attendant also leaned over to me and said, “M’am, if you need any assistance, please press this call button right here.”  Awesome.

You think it’s bad so far?  Keep reading, please!

At this point in the flight, the flight attendants were coming through the aisles with the drink cart.  Unfit man lurched into the aisle and asked for two beers.  “No, under absolutely no circumstances are we allowed to give you an alcoholic beverage.”  The unfit got all huffy and settled for a Coke.  As the flight attendants made their way toward the back of the plane, this crazy guy started leaning into my seat and actually spilled his drink on me.  Clearly by this point I had lost every ounce of patience I had in me.  I raised my voice a little and told him he was in my space and asked him to please sit up.  The crew had been keeping their eye on him so one of the women came back over to me and asked, “M’am is everything alright?”  “Yes,” I said, “Just a spill.  Do you think we could have some extra napkins?”

Brace yourselves!

As the flight attendant left to go get those extra napkins, I looked over at the unfit and realized he was fuming and angrily staring me down.  Literally GLARING.  He then proceeded to stand up, point his finger in my face, and yell at me in front of the entire plane (8 co-workers included) over and over again.  “YOU ARE THE RUDEST LADY I HAVE EVER MET!  You are SUCH a SNOT.  You TATTLE-TALE!”  All up in my face the entire time.  My finger immediately pressed that help button and what was my first reaction after that?  I started CRYING.  Yep.  Go me.  How embarrassing!  Really, Athena, you started crying?  Yup!  These eyes of mine filled up with tears and everyone watched as the flight crew had me move my seat to the one open seat in the back of the plane (why didn’t I do that earlier?!)  And of course I was struggling because I was shaking with about a thousand things in my hands – ginger ale, book, jacket, laptop bag, etc.

Picture that whole scene.

HA!

Oh, and I SWEAR that I didn’t exaggerate any of this for blog entertainment purposes.

I ended up having to give the airline (US. Airways) my contact information in case the police wanted to use me as a witness.  Nobody ended up calling me, but I can’t believe this actually happened to me.  Actually, I can.  It’s funny now.  But definitely wasn’t at the time!

Question of the Day: 

What are your biggest airport/airplane pet peeves? 

Do you have any crazy stories like mine!?

13 thoughts on “The Awk Spot: The Time I Got Yelled At on a Plane

  1. wow, Athena…I commend you for not punching the drunk in the face! I have two reactions for when someone yells at me: cry, or scream right back – it all depends how angry or scared the person makes me. You don’t have to be a nice person and suffer through sitting next to a pill-popping, smelly sideshow freak! You have every right to ask a flight attendant to change seats because the man was making you feel uncomfortable. I’m surprised they didn’t seat him next to another man, but perhaps they thought he would behave better sitting next to a quiet young woman. I hope you demanded a free flight coupon from the airline for having to go through that ordeal!

    Of all my years tour managing and traveling to recordings, the only bad experience I’ve had on a plane was when I was stuck in a window seat next to two horny teenagers who were, uh, wildly making out (hands ALL over). The roadies were in the aisles surrounding me and were laughing hysterically at my predicament and it became the running joke of the tour. It was one of my first tours, so my skill in telling people to F-off was still in early development. I decided to ignore the young lovers and suffer through the cramped space and awkwardness of the situation. If that had happened now, you can be sure I wouldn’t put up with any of that crap!

    I love your blog and you are an excellent writer. Happy travels!

    Like

  2. It would have to be a toss up of coming back from Florida and making an emergency landing in Baltimore because the engine was overheating and traveling to DC with my sister where we were seated next to an extremely large woman, to the point were my sister and I were practically sharing a seat

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  3. One of my worst flights was on a recent trip to London. I was sitting behind three teenagers, one British chap who would not stop talking the whole way over – mostly about airplane crashes, disasters, what could go wrong. And worst of all, he definitely did not believe in deodorant – wow, did he stink!! Every time I moved to reach into my tote tucked under his seat, I could not breathe. I was so happy to get off that plane.

    Like

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