Fair warning, this is gonna be a rant, but writing angry emotions out like this is fun and hopefully it’ll be entertaining to read too. Nothing drives the willingness of people to write stuff online like a bad experience. On Saturday morning, I flew from SF to Chi with Southwest. The airport, airline, crew and aircraft were all great—in fact I got a super legroomy window seat on this brand new 737 (800 series I think). The only bad part of the row I was in was the fact that the seats didn’t recline… but the extra legroom plus window seat more than made up.
Yay for leg room!
I really liked is the new design of the overhead bin space in this aircraft. For those who haven’t seen yet, the console over the passenger seats is reduced by about 50%, and the entire storage bins fold up to be stowed instead of having doors fold down. The bins are on a hinge and fold up while the plane is in flight, and probably holds nearly the same volume of stuff. This change opens up the area in the aisle (the aisle seat basically has nothing directly over heads), making the entire plane feel much roomier despite actually cramming more people in—up to 175 passengers. Also cool were the fact that they have heavy-duty cloth window shades instead of full on plastic. This is a smart space saving move because you can roll up these new covers to save on space.
Kudos to Boeing for good design!
But I digress. On that fateful morning, I had the distinct displeasure of sitting next to one of the most ridiculously rude people I’ve ever. Maybe she was socially unaware, had Asperger’s, or was simply raised poorly, but regardless of root cause her behavior was totally bizarre and pretty unacceptable.
This was a 6am flight so I was hella tired and was trying to squeeze out a few precious hours of sleep. Usually I’m pretty good at knocking out on flights before takeoff, but the sun was just rising and was shining its rays straight into my face. I waited until our wheels were off the ground and closed it.
Two seconds later, as I was closing my eyes, the girl in the middle seat REACHED OVER ME and TRIED TO OPEN MY WINDOW. I was in total disbelief. I thought it was commonly accepted as law that the person in the window seat had ultimate domain of the window, especially in a row full of strangers. I just looked at her and gave her a death stare and said, “Yo, I’m tryna sleep and the sun is too bright” then I closed it again. I mean, she could have ASKED me if she could open the window (I still would have said no) but the fact that she just did it was pretty disrespectful.
At this point, I was really exhausted. I made the mistake of starting to watch the last few episodes of Mad Men and ended up finishing out the series. I was half passed out when I noticed that she had REACHED OVER ME and CLOSED MY AIR VENT. Seriously… WTF. I could see one mayyyybe making a dubious argument about ‘ownership’ of the window, but messing with somebody else’s air vent? That’s just straight up rude by any measurement. Luckily for her, I decided it wasn’t worth waking up fully to give her some education.
About an hour later, I woke up to this girl talking in Hindi super loudly to her dad who was sitting across the aisle. Then she complained to me about how hard it was to sleep. It was pretty unbelievable. She asked if she could use the entire armrest. I could slouch back into the corner against the wall of the plane, and I was surprised that she even asked, so I was like, “whatever”, hoping it would shut her up. This was a big mistake. She proceeded to bend over to put her shoulders on the armrest, with her head ending up on my arm. Yea. On. My. Arm. Did I mention that I have no clue who this girl is??
I tried my best to scoot away as much as possible and somehow ended up falling asleep again. When I woke up 45 minutes later… SHE HAD PUT THE ARMREST BETWEEN US UP, AND HER HAIRY ASS WAS ALL ON ME—NOT IN A GOOD WAY. She had turned around and her head was on the guy in the aisle seat, who was also a stranger. I looked at him, he looked at me, and we shook our heads together in grim incredulity. I put the armrest down, cause AIN’T NOBODY WANT A STRANGER’S BUTT ON THEM DURING A CROSS-COUNTRY PLANE RIDE.
A few minutes later, she woke up and asked me straight up, “Could you switch seats with me so that I can sleep better?” I couldn’t believe my ears at first. How the hell does any normal person think that this would be a real question, halfway through the flight? I gave another death stare and said no. (Obviously).
At this point, I had gotten about 6 hours of sleep, so I was ready to go for the day. I took out my laptop and started writing this while eating a salad. The flight attendants were bringing drinks around, and yet again, she managed to step up and top her previous performance. I got my drink, then she got hers, and then while the flight attendant was handing the drink over to the guy in the aisle seat, she suddenly points up and the flight attendant’s arm, bumps her wrist saying, “OOOH! I like your watch!! Can I see it?” Needless to say, the poor dude in the aisle seat got his ginger ale spilled all over his tray table, and his pant leg. The Indian girl between us then started laughing. At this point I was about ready to smack this girl, but instead gave the aisle guy a stack of napkins to help clean up. While he was standing up cleaning his sticky wet pant leg, she was like, “Wait, this wasn’t me, right?” and the guy was wayyyy too nice and said, “No, it was an accident.” There’s zero chance that I would have had even half of the aisle guy’s restraint.
I think she sensed aisle guy’s niceness as a weakness and pounced on it after he had dried up a bit. She tried to pull the same seat switching garbage on him as she did with me. At first, he was like, “Well is it so you can talk to your dad?” I thought to myself, “Dude. That’s a huuuge mistake. JUST SAY NO!” But she wasted this golden opportunity that he gave her, and instead she said, “Well yea, that’s part of it, but also, it would just make it easier for me to sleep.” To his credit, aisle guy eventually denied her request, even after she applied a bunch of unclassy pressure. If he had a stronger response at the beginning though, I bet that would have all been avoided.
When finally she gave up on trying to switch seats with the aisle guy, she turned her attention back to my vent. Again, without asking, she reached over my face and turned it off. I was infuriated and nearly lost my cool, just voicing my extreme displeasure with a “What do you think you’re doing!?” instead of a “GETCHO HANDS OFF MY SHIET”. She responded with “You’re Chinese?” in a hella accusatory tone. I was taken back a bit—cause seriously what does that have to do with anything? But said, “Uhh, yea.” She gave a harrumph but then relented. At this point, I’m not putting up with her shit anymore, so I’m pretty sure she dislikes me. I’m happy though, cause I feel it makes her less likely to try to pull anything else on me.
Buuuut it’s not over yet. The guy in the aisle seat started watching a movie. As he was setting it up, picking out which one to watch, she’s hovering over his shoulder and butting in asking if it’s blah blah film or whatever. I had stopped paying attention, but she was still really loud. Later on, she then did something on her phone and then reached straight across aisle guy’s face to hand it over to her dad. I looked over at aisle guy and he was just in shock. I made eye contact with him and mouthed “WTF”.
She turned around and must have seen our matching horrific facial expressions. I started typing this again, and apparently she looked at my screen cause she asked if I was typing about her. I lied (duh) but probably had a smirk on my face cause I found her calling me weird and demands for me to stop hysterical. I just ignored her and kept on going, cause, whatever. She gave up on messing with me, and for the last hour of the flight ended up basically sleeping on the aisle guy. He and I could only look at each other and shake our heads wondering what the heck was wrong with this girl and what we did to get punished with sitting next to her.
Lastly, both her and her father showed no passenger deplaning etiquette… you know how it’s common courtesy to wait for the people in the rows ahead of you to get out before you do? Yea. They both bum rushed the aisle to cut off the people trying to get out in the row right ahead of us. I wanted to applaud him with a “Super spectacular parenting, man. Your 20 to 30 something daughter is among the most selfish and socially inept people I’ve ever met.” but they had already bolted away.
As I left the row, I said to the aisle guy, “Well that was different, wasn’t it?” all he could do is shake his head, laugh, and respond, “…Yea… I’ve never experienced anything like that before.” I seriously hope I don’t have to again.
At least I got a good story out of it, eh?