Ah, there’s nothing like a cheap flight – unless that bargain comes with the Seatmate from Hell.
There are all kinds of nightmare passengers (just ask any airline flight attendant), but some are worse than others. Unfortunately, there’s usually not much you can do about it but grin (or grimace) and bear it. Hey, the flight won’t last forever – and you won’t be stuck on the tarmac with this bozo forever, either, thanks to the new airline 3-hour rule.
So let’s go down the list – those of you who recognize a seatmate can shudder at the memory, and the rest of you can thank your lucky stars. If you see yourself in this list, I’d keep it quiet.
Top 6 Passengers from Hell
1.) The Diaper Dad
File this under the category, “ordinary seatmates from hell”: the hacking coughers who say things like, “Don’t worry, I’m probably not too contagious” or the lady in the window seat (of course) who rises to use the lavatory five times during a two hour flight – and as a bonus, keeps pestering the flight attendant for “more water”.
But my favorite, everyday airline passenger from hell is Proud Papa, who holds Junior on his lap – except when Junior gets down to use your knees as a jungle-gym (when he isn’t kicking the seatback of the passenger in front of him). Proud Papa rarely notices when Junior needs his diapers changed, but when he does, you can count on him doing it right there – then disposing of the used diaper in your seatback pocket.
2.) The Stinker
Ever sit next to someone really ripe? Luckily, you missed this guy: the passenger who was ejected from an Air Canada Jazz flight for being “too smelly to fly.” Details are sketchy, so we don’t know the poor fellow’s name, but we do know the odorous passenger was an American, alas. Before he got the boot, “efforts were made to isolate the man from other passengers” but that attempt at containment worked about as well as those efforts with the oil spill in the Gulf.
3.) The Space Alien
A man who believed he was an alien from outer space (according to news reports, anyway) hammered on the cockpit door of a SkyWest flight in early May because he wanted to fly the plane. Or did he think it was a saucer? Fortunately he was stopped by a cowboy – another passenger who just happened to be a rodeo champion. Who says there are no more heroes?
4.) The Happy Hour Crew
Everyday drunks: a fellow aboard a Comair jet heading to his grandmother’s funeral was allegedly intoxicated – which may account for why he started a fight on the flight; he missed Grandma’s send-off, because he was in jail.
Amazing drunks: A woman aboard a cross-country United flight allegedly took pills and alcohol and eventually began swilling liquid soap from the airplane’s lavatory; she finished up with a 21 day stint in jail.
5.) The Icy, Silent Seatmate
Police in England say two women attempted to get an elderly relative onto a plane at the airport in Liverpool – only problem was, he was dead. Apparently, this was an exercise in financial prudence since it was cheaper to fly the corpse in an airline seat rather than ship the body below. The plan did not work.
6.) The Disappointed Passenger
This could have been a passenger from hell – he could have turned his disappointing airline meal experience into an international incident – but no. Instead, he sent a letter of complaint to Virgin airline chief Richard Branson, which quickly became a viral sensation.
The hilarious letter described the unveiling of his meal this way: “Imagine being a 12-year-old boy, Richard. Now imagine it’s Christmas morning and you’re there with your final present to open. Only you open the present and [that much anticipated stereo] is not in there. It’s your hamster, Richard. It’s your hamster in the box and it’s not breathing.”
Branson promptly called the fellow and offered him a job as taste tester for airline cuisine.
And who was your most recent seatmate from hell?