Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blabbing on red-eyes

You’ve made your connection, and he’s in the aisle seat. It’s like some sort of dreamy Sofia Coppola movie and you’re the romantic lead. You’re enjoying pillow talk with a sexy stranger who may be your true love, or at least your ticket into the mile-high club. Sorry to interrupt, but can you do me a favor?

Shut. The. Fuck. UP.

I don’t care what time zone we are currently flying over—my internal clock and my wristwatch say it’s 3:30 in the morning. I took this flight and an Ambien because I’m good at sleeping on planes. I have my rituals: I don’t drink caffeine, I listen to Joni Mitchell laced with Sufjan Stevens, I wrap myself in my giant knitted shawl.

All I ask is that a bratty toddler not kick my seat and that you Shut. The. Fuck. UP.

Even with headphones on, I can hear you yammering away with your life story and relationship history (which, from the sounds of it, you might want to keep to yourself until the third date; just a thought).

When I ask if you could lower your voices because every other single person on the plane is trying to sleep (as evidenced by the pitch-black cabin and profusion of navy blankets, sleep masks, and earbuds), you stare at me as if I just killed your dog. I explain that of course you have the right to talk but that I’m just asking for some courtesy of your fellow travelers. Bring the volume down or I’m going to descend into madness and punch you in the face. Forget about true love’s kiss from Prince Charming in 18C. Your kiss is on my fist when they turn out the lights.

What passengers have you wanted to kick the crap out of during a flight?



Drive Thru Wench, CPhT said...

I'm sick of the people that relentlessly work on their laptops during red-eyes. Yes, you're a big exec, you're so big that you can't possibly sleep like the rest of us. Shut up with the tapping! (Even I, with my addicted to my computer self, will stop and watch a movie once the lights go out.)

Anonymous said...

I dread the day the airlines finally allow cell phone conversations in flight, which will surely mark my last plane flight before a long prison sentence.

jamie@midcenturymania said...

People that think it's so cute when their kids run up and down the aisle "making friends" with all the passengers. Those are the people I want to punch in the face. Buckle those brats up. I traveled with 4 kids. They all stayed in their seats and I bribed them with whatever it took to keep them quiet.

Colleen said...

I get really irritated by people who ignore the many ways their kids are misbehaving -- kicking my seat, climbing on my seat back, screaming, etc.

I totally understand that asking a toddler to hold still for several hours is hard. But have you seen the people who don't bring any toys, any books, any DVDs, nothing to amuse Junior at all -- then they take a nap or read their book while their poor bored kid tries to entertain himself?

Your parenting responsibilities don't suddenly get suspended when you reach cruising altitude.

Amy said...

I was just on a 12-hour flight from Australia to LA with a toddler whose parents let him scream and cry for the entire duration of the flight. It looked like all he wanted to do was walk around the plane and tire himself out, and they wouldn't take him to do that. Occasionally they would shove a bottle in his face, which he clearly didn't want. There were children younger than him on the flight who were perfectly behaved, likely thanks to their parents knowing how to keep them happy on such a long flight. It seemed like this boy's parents didn't even know what to do with him, in which case they shouldn't have taken him on a trans-Pacific flight. Around the ninth hour or so without much-needed sleep I was ready to cry myself, as was half the plane judging by their dirty looks, loud sighs of frustration, and audible comments which the parents were clearly ignoring.

If I had behaved like that as a child I would have been smacked - oh wait, if I had behaved like that my parents wouldn't have even CONSIDERED taking me on such a long flight to begin with.

CarlaCarlaCarlaCarla said...

You know how altitude change sometimes affects the gut, right? Well I recall a commuter flight from Miami to Grand Cayman on which the guy directly in front of me ... well you get the idea. I suspect the other passengers on that cramped tiny aircraft would list that as their flight-from-hell as well.


Nishant said...

I dread the day the airlines finally allow cell phone conversations in flight, which will surely mark my last plane flight before a long prison sentence.

Work from home India

BillyK said...


Let me introduce myself I'm Mr Nice, Mr Tolerant and please let your children slobber all over me.

I was on an assignment teaching presentation skills in Israel, returning to eastern Australia via J'Burg (note to self - punch travel agent in face). Because I didn't want to look like dumpster man when I eventually got off, I wore jeans, black t-shirt and carefully folded a nice crease resistant shirt on top of my carry on in the overhead locker.

"Bonus", thought I - no one in the window seat. At the last minute guy gets on and repeatedly jams his carry on on top of my shirt. Instant WTF and I expressed my dismay at his thoughtlessness forcefully, removed my carry on and shirt and put it in a different locker. The other guy thinks I'm being unreasonable in my response and sits next to me, demanding that I calm down and be friends for the 8 hr flight to South Africa. "Yeah sure", I say in my most sardonic voice and continue to simmer.

Plane levels out, guy gets his carry on takes out strange (to me) looking white hat (not yamulkah), shawl and other paraphenalia, kneels down in front of his seat and proceeds to rock backward and foward in front of me for the next hour with various incantations. A few others on the flight were doing the same thing.

It's not the religious stuff - to each his own, and public displays of worship are fine, but that this ignorant, unthinking son-of-a-bitch could think it was OK to crush my shirt defies reason, religion and race and deserves a punch in the face.

As the flight was El-Al, I felt he had the upper hand, so I restrained myself, but didn't talk to him.


Bill (billyk2373)

PS The flight was delayed on the ground for 3 hours in J'berg due to electrical storms. Lucky I was in business class, sitting among a group of my countrymen, doing what we do best - drink beer.

Keith said...

I had a red-eye one night and in the two rows behind me were a man and his family. The man seemed to have been in the country for a while, but the family clearly was just arriving and OH. MY. GOD. DID. THEY. STINK!

I am sure they were delightful people, and I understand cultural differences and things that can happen. None-the-less, I had the blower on full blast pointed right at my face, but every few minutes there would be a breeze or something and I'd get a full snoutfull, my eyes would water and the guy in the next seat would mutter "oh my God". It was the most pungent, most unbelievable BO I have ever smelled ever, and I was trapped in it for two and a half hours.