Man, why do I always get seated next to weird passenger(s)?! Let me tell you a story, about my recent flight from LAX to ORD (Chicago O’Hare). This was the first time I wasn’t breaking journey at the first port of entry into the United States of America. Though I flew in Business Class on American Airlines from Auckland to LA, I was extremely tired and highly jet lagged. On top of that I was trying to calm my anxiety levels down, as I had already done the needful at LAX airport. What I mean by that is, if you are flying to a destination in the United States of America which isn’t the first port of entry, you have to follow a few steps at whatever IS your first port of entry. First of, you have to go through immigration followed by taking your luggage and dropping it off on the belt. It is not too complex a process, but because I was doing it for the first time I was really nervous about it. On top of that US has now introduced some new immigration entry requirements, but that’s a subject for another blog or possibly a video. I had finally boarded my 4-hour flight to Chicago and because it was around the time when it would have been past midnight or so in Auckland, the jet lag was strong and I had to fight to stay awake, at least till I boarded.
I got on the plane and made my way to my seat. My flight was over booked to the extent that American Airlines staff were looking for 6 volunteers to give up their seats so they could make room for passengers who had to be on that flight. I’m not sure what the outcome of that was. But regardless, I was on board and sitting on my seat, which unfortunately was a middle seat, but there really wasn’t much I could do about that. I aimlessly look around as I feel impatient for the flight to take off. My gaze falls on a lady sitting in the row across from me. She seemed to be ‘physically here, but mentally elsewhere’, maybe she had to deal with a difficult goodbye, I don’t know. Someone comes up to her seat and says “Excuse me ma’am but that’ my seat”. She looks puzzled, gets up and comes and sits next to me. She really likes to spread herself out when sitting on an aeroplane seat. Soon we take off and I’m in and out of sleep.
The flight took off and she got settled with her iPad. I tried to stay awake for a bit longer and to do so I again aimlessly stared into the abyss. My gaze landed on her iPad. She was playing a game similar to bejewelled. Her actions annoyed me, because one it’s bejewelled and the whole point of this game is to have swift actions, she did not. Two, whilst you need a minimum of 3 matching icons, if you can match more that’s better. I could see that she was only doing three and I was able to spot a whole bunch of combinations of more than 3 matching icons. This just got my heart rate racing and I decided that sleeping was the better option.
I heard the first round of drinks were being served and yet again, I fought to keep my eyes open so I could request a glass of water. But before I knew it I was in my dreams. I woke up and noticed that I had missed the first round of drinks. Though this lady had now settled down with a Dr Pepper. The saga of falling asleep and randomly waking up continued. At one point, I woke up and found my tray table down with a can of Dr. Pepper poured into a cup. Confused, I wasn’t sure what was going on. I looked to my right and noticed that the lady was gone. She’d gone to relieve herself. This time, I absolutely forced myself to stay awake, because what on earth lady, you didn’t pay for my seat, you don’t get my tray table. She came back and made herself comfortable and casually took her drink back and in a rather low voice (that you can’t hear at all) she said, sorry. Um, lady you can take your sorry and ……. I do not think it is appropriate for another passenger to use and/or reach out for something that isn’t at their seat or part of their seat.
Do you agree with me on this? Leave your responses in the comments below! I find it very uncomfortable, especially when you don’t know that person and you haven’t even had a chat with them. For them to feel comfortable to casually put your tray table down to keep their drink on whilst they make it convenient for themselves to go to the loo, I’m sorry but this is just not okay.
I calmed myself down after this episode and I hear the sweetest words anyone could hear on a flight “We’ve begun our descent and will be landing shortly”. Fast forward to the plane landing and has taxied into the gate. She got up and opened up the overheard compartment. I think she may have momentarily forgotten on which side her bag was, as she casually took my backpack out and held on to it for a few minutes. I tried to get a hold of my bag, but she had a strong grip on it and on top of that she had her headphones on, so she just couldn't hear me. I tried really hard to get her attention with no luck. This dufus of a guy who was standing right behind her, saw this entire thing but blankly stared at us like an idiot. Okay I can understand that you don’t want to get involved in something that doesn’t concern you, but you could help me get her attention given you’re standing right next to her, can’t you just tap her shoulder for me. Any way, this lady realised that my bag wasn’t hers and half inserted it back into the overhead compartment. Umm, it could very easily fall lady, and my laptop is in there, if that breaks you’re buying me a new laptop.
The dufus of a guy didn't give me way and rushed out the door as the line started to move, but luckily someone else gave me way and I quickly grabbed my bag before it could fall. I made my way out to the terminal and grabbed my luggage and waited for my brother to arrive.
There are a few things that really annoys me about this whole experience and yes maybe I am over reacting, but I would genuinely like to know what would your feelings, thoughts, opinions be, if you were in this situation. Leave them in the comments below.
Until next time,