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Meanderings of a Working Travel Agent

Obnoxious Fellow Passengers

I have read lots of stories about having to sit next to or near a fellow passenger on a flight who just doesn’t know how to behave in the air.  But my flight from Calgary to Newark last Friday was a first hand experience.  I settled into my seat and while we were waiting to take off the “lady” behind  me had a long loud telephone call with someone who I gathered from the call was her “loved one”.  You know there are ways you can have a telephone call in a crowded place – and you can do it discreetly but this word was not in this woman’s vocabulary.

To make matters worse while she chatted away she seemed to be mining for gold in the seat pocket behind me which meant that I was constantly bumped and prodded while she scrabbled in there.  Oh well, I thought, she is probably just getting settled in putting her water bottle there and other stuff – it will stop when we take off.


It was like having a 180 pound baby sitting behind me.  But worse was to come.

After the food and beverage service had gone round she settled back to relax – and again I experienced the pushing and shoving on the back of my seat and then a movement caught my eye – well the very corner of my eye.  I was sitting at the window (as was she) so she had decided to take off her shoes and use my arm rest as her foot rest.

I looked down and could not believe this.  Sure I knew it happened.  But yew!  Her feet were big and her toes could have done with a good pedicure despite the fact that her toenails were painted bright pink.  

I had managed to have a quick look at her while she made one of her numerous trips to the bathroom.  She apologized to her seat mate – a sweet looking young Asian girl – explaining that she had been drinking at the airport before her flight because she was a nervous flyer and once she has had three or four drinks she always has to go to the bathroom.  I snuck a look – hmmm – she was quite tall and a little on the heavy side with tattoos.  I didn’t fancy a run in with her – especially if she had a hangover.  So I sucked it up.

Eventually we landed – and as usual everyone immediately switched off their phones.  As did she.  Loudly.  Whoever she spoke to gave her some bad news because she immediately said (in her booming voice) “What the f*&k!”.  By this time everyone was standing in the aisle ready to disembark.  A silence fell over everyone with lots of looking at the ground in embarrassment.  But this did not deter her – she continued to “F” her way through the conversation.  Yes maybe I should have put my big girl pants on and told her off but I can just see that ending in a horrible situation.  Instead I held my beak and thought “hmmm – this could be good blog material”.  And now you have it!

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14 Responses

  1. Sadly you had an experience like this. Most travelers have common sense, but as usual..there is always ONE who forgot the manners or never learned any. Hope your return flight was a better one.

    1. It was indeed. I had a very nice lady next to me at the window (I was doing middle seat duty) and she didn’t even go to the loo the whole flight. 10/10

  2. I totally understand not wanting a confrontation mid air but honestly the feet would have been my breaking point. I would have slammed down that arm rest so fast and hard. But that’s just me.

    1. I can hear the crack of the bones in her feet – by the look of them it might have got rid of the bunions 🙂

  3. Oh Lesley…this happened to me flying back from Bali a few summers ago. But unlike you, I knocked her feet and told her she can’t put her feet on MY armrest. I was an aisle seat. She put her bare feet down but really…should have NEVER happened. Flying isn’t for sissies these days!

  4. Yes they live among us….. nothing worse on a short or long flight.
    A statement of our society and a lack of manners.
    Is there a solution????
    We are all concerned about a person over-reacting to criticism and shy away from making a comment.

    1. You are correct but I have just read so many articles about air rage – sometimes not worth it unfortunately! We live in an aggressive society

  5. Seriously?
    Perhaps an announcement should be made about proper airline etiquette in considering your fellow

  6. The bare toes..unbelieveable!! But I have a question. On a long flight to Lisbon I was seated next to a very obese passenger who could not have the armrest down. She took up half of my seat, and our thighs touched the whole way. I was extremely uncomfortable. She was very quiet, and I had no other complaints, just the discomfort of her very warm body invading my personal space. My question is: is there anything I could have done? I didn’t want to be rude, but I paid for a whole seat, not half a seat.

    1. That is a really hard situation to be in. She obviously knew that she was making your journey uncomfortable but was unable to do anything about it. It would be very awkward to speak to a flight attendant about this. There has been a lot of comment regarding this sort of situation and I feel sorry for you and for her. I guess you could have gone to the back and had a quiet word with the flight attendant and explain your discomfort while stressing that the lady was being very polite and maybe you could have been moved to another seat. On a long flight like that as well that can not have been fun for either of you. I think maybe the flight attendant might have been a little more proactive as obviously she would have seen the situation – perhaps this person even needed the seat belt extension. No easy way out of this unfortunately

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The Travel Lady Blog

The Travel Lady

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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