No doubt at one time or another you have taken a commercial flight somewhere. If you are traveling with your family, you may have had the chance to sit together. There are times when families are split up and have to sit separately. Airline pilots often sit in the cabin with regular airline passengers in the same row. Sometimes they are re positioning to a different city to pick up an airplane. Sometimes they can be commuting to or from work. Most times they are in uniform and sit in the cabin like the rest of the airline passengers. Most flights are full so most of the time crews end up sitting next to someone they do not know. This article talks about the different airline passengers flight crews sit next too and their experiences.
Problem: Jabber wokky. This is the man or woman who is extremely social and wants to make friends and enjoy a spirited conversation for the next three hours. It does not matter that you are trying to read or watch TV, they just keep going and going without hardly catching a breath. Today airline travel has gotten better at entertaining you, there is TV, music channels, movies and sometimes Internet. Despite all these conveniences, this person just wants to talk and talk. Often times it is about something you are not remotely interested whatsoever. Solution: get up to use the restroom and scope out the cabin for another open seat.
Problem: Sickly Passenger. Many airline passengers are sick when they get on the plane without you knowing it. I am not talking about the common cold either. I am talking about people who have what I call the hidden agenda. The “I was up all night drinking” guy or the “mentally unstable person who has a reaction to her meds when she drinks alcohol” lady. The “oh I forgot to mention that I had surgery yesterday person and now I need oxygen” person. Then there is always the mystery passenger who wears the oxygen mask. We don’t really know if they are sick themselves and are being incredibly considerate or if they are paranoid of catching something from other passengers on the plane. I usually find that this person does not usually speak English, so it’s hard to tell. Lastly is my favorite, it’s the “mystery illness” man who just passes out and collapses in a heap on the floor next to you. If that were not bad enough now they seem to try to wake up and realize that they must now begin vomiting. I know they are uncomfortable and it is a horrible feeling to barf on the plane, but please do not hug my feet for comfort while you retch on the floor. True story, I did manage to escape vomit free but not by much.
Problem: Obese person. I know this is a touchy one, but it is hard to sit next to someone who spills over into your seat space. This usually extends into the sacred space of the shared armrest. Some engineer who has never flown decided to put the TV controls on the armrest, so there is a good chance that they will end up changing the channel while they are sleeping or cut you off from that last ten minutes of the ballgame. I am not going to say that it is not fair to sit next to an overweight person, they have rights just like every other passenger. Solution: None
Problem: Parent who has no parenting skills. We know them but we don’t love them. They are the parents who have never disciplined their small children whatsoever. So traveling with their children then proceeds to be everyone’s problem because what little Johnny really needs is a spanking, not more sugar. Few have gone as far to suggest that with horrible results. My favorite part is when they think they can change a diaper with the baby on the tray table or on the floor next to your feet. Almost always, it’s a stinky which only adds to the experience. Solution: ask about any open seats when you get up to go to the bathroom or drink heavily.
Problem: The questionator. This is the airline passenger who sits next to you, notices that you have a uniform on and then proceeds to ask you every question they can possibly think of for the next two hours straight. This usually includes favorites such as: what’s that noise?, do you like to fly?, don’t you get scared?, how long does it take to be a pilot?, how come pilots can’t control the bumpy flight?, how long have you been flying? and lastly, Do you know my buddy who works at United? Solution: since you are wearing the uniform, you now represent the company and have to answer every single question until they start the movie or find something else to do. Sometimes you can pretend to study something on your computer or iPad. Otherwise you are now in the public relations department.
Problem: El Stinko. This is the airline passenger that smells bad. Most often they have no idea that they smell bad, but they do. Usually this is body odor and it happens more often than you would think. No matter what the reason, there is not much you can do about it. Solution: none, but it is comforting to watch the faces of other passengers when this person walks by. You get extra points when there are kids on board who notice because they do not have a filter and will usually say they stink out loud.
Problem: Overhead bin entitlement guy. This man or women feels like since they bought a ticket, they own the space that is above their seat for their personal items. It does not matter that there are other people that share the row. It does not matter that they hold up the boarding or de planing of the aircraft rearranging their suitcase. They also manage to stuff everything up there and then realize they forgot something and have to get up and find that ever important thing at least three times. Of course there is always the cocky “Joey bagadonuts” kind of guy that is willing to go to blows with the guy behind him. Sometimes this gets physical but more often it is precluded by ominous cursing that would make a pirate blush. Of course everyone looks to you to resolve the dilemma because you are the guy who is wearing the uniform. However annoying this person is, there is always a worse example. This is the person who has to get their bags out of the overhead as fast as possible so that they can attempt to get off the plane first. Never mind that they are in the middle of the plane and cannot go anywhere. This is often is followed by the women who could not get her bag into the overhead bin without help and then decides she can get it down by herself. Instead she manages to drop 70lbs of brick laden bag straight onto your head. (I only saw stars one other time in my life). It is true if you get hit in the head you will see stars. Blacking out and slight nausea are also common side effects depending on how heavy the bag is. I only saw one person actually bleed so we won’t include that example. Solution: Ask for a window seat out of harms way.
All of these examples are true stories, your mileage may vary.
See the most popular luggage tags for airline travel here.