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Economy Class Blues

Any of you fine folks have an entertaining story about flying economy class (or trains, etc.)?

I'm apparently a magnet for annoying seat mates. Even at a movie I'm always near a loud talker, cell phone addict, or kid kicking my seat. I'm an introvert and NOT a confrontational guy, but recently had to turn around and ask a woman to restrain her kid from kicking my wife's seat. All I got in return was a redneck, vacuous look from Ms. Tub of Popcorn and Large Coke Mom.

Last flight again I got a kicker! Maybe I'm cursed. A large guy beside me brought a salami or Italian sub of sorts with him and apparently had gas, so for 6 hours I got to enjoy the kinetic and olfactory ambience of kicking, stale salami breath, body odor, and cheap cologne.

Maybe later I'll tell the story of the sweaty guy who took his shoes off.

Any of y'all have a good story? Big Mike

Posted by
111 posts

My best / worst story is from a long haul flight from London - Singapore. I was with my parents and due to a ticketing mess up we weren’t sitting together.
The hostess said I could ask the people next to me if they’d be willing to swap, so I did. My parents had ‘better’ seats so I thought they’d be pleased.
The man gave me a gruff ‘no’ before settling into the middle seat and hogging the arm rest. No worries.
I settled into my window seat ready for the long haul.
An hour or so in, I needed the bathroom and asked my seat mate if I could be excused.... again ... a gruff ‘no’. Ummm, pardon?
I asked again.... ‘no, I’m not moving’
I ended up having to ask the hostess for assistance and he eventually got up.
When I got back to my seat, he wouldn’t get up to let me in!
Called for help again....
We played this game for the 12 odd hours to our destination!

Posted by
3899 posts

THE GUY WOULDN'T LET YOU GO TO THE BATHROOM??!! Holy moly. I'd have been wishing I had eaten something that gave me gas and just proceed to fart away (with apologies to Mike). Just...wow. Also - I probably would have just said the hell with it and would have crawled right across his lap.

I've actually been fairly lucky - I mean, it's not fun, but generally hubby is my seat mate - one trip home from the UK we somehow ended up having seats away from each other, but I didn't sweat it. After almost 3 weeks together 24/7, I didn't mind 6 hrs away from him.

Just a comment on the movie theatre thing - we had a friend (he's since moved across the country) who would get majorly annoyed at talking people at the theatre (there's a reason we wait a few weeks to go see new movies - I hate crowds...and this is also why we always try and sit at the top of the theatre...no one behind us means no seat kickers). Somehow, we ended up at a very full theatre with him and there was a part where the dog got killed in the movie - some teen girls in front of us said aloud 'not the dog!' and he booted their seats and told them to shut up! (insert slightly embarrassed emoji here). Well, it did shut them up though. But we also heard a story from his (now ex) wife about the time he confronted a guy at the movies about his kid who wouldn't be quiet - this was as they were leaving - and they ended up taking swings at each other. Again - reinforces my desire to wait a few weeks, or go on a really slow Wed or Thurs late show.

Posted by
489 posts

Mike, I know what you mean. I have very bad restaurant Karma, but that is another story.
On a haul from somewhere in Germany back to Chicago. I was going to get a bit comfortable and slightly reclined my seat (I look at it as this: if the seat reclines, then I'm going to do that), however this seat suddenly went back, not gently. The lady behind me was leaning forward and my seat bumped her head. Well, she lashed out at me that I was to ASK permission to recline my seat. Now, I know that this has been an issue over the last few years, but in all my years of travel, I have never once had ANYONE ask me if they could recline the seat. Well for the next 7 hours guess who made it a point to rattle my seat back at every opportunity. I would have rather had a kicking kid, at least they sometime sleep.

Posted by
9834 posts

When we moved to Italy in 2012, we had our two cats with us in airline approved, soft-sided carriers that were to fit under the seats in front of us. Of course we paid $200 per cat to put them where a carryon fits for free.

As we settled in for the 10 hour light from PDX to AMS, I could not get my cat completely under the seat in front of me as there was a metal box housing (I think) the video equipment for our two seats. (We had window and aisle in a 2-4-2 configuration.) So Miss Kitty was positioned between my feet in a decidedly unapproved manner. I spread the blanket across me and draped it over my legs to disguise the “item” and cinched my seatbelt over the blanket so I looked compliant.

I had no legroom, of course, and although I am short, it was not too comfortable. I had one foot on each side of the carrier and each time the cat turned over or turned around, it was like a tiny earthquake At my feet.

We spent the night in Amsterdam then on to Rome in the morning on KLM. The 4 of us were seated in row of three seats, but the flight attendant came and insisted one of us had to move — with a cat — to First Class. My cat and I volunteered. 😸 I asked the FA why and she said that because there were only 3 oxygen masks and 4 of us, it was not safe in case of a problem. Ha!

Posted by
7947 posts

On one of my flights from Seattle to Frankfurt via Iceland with Icelandic Air, I was in the middle seat with daughter at the window. The aisle seat was taken by an oozer, as in she oozed all over my seat she was so large. I could live with that, but she also smelled so bad, it made me ill. There were empty seats in other rows and it would have been wise of me to ask to switch.

We had a kicker behind us going from Seattle to Sacramento. Grandma, 3-4 year old and dad. They had brought no toys for this kid to play with and he kept kicking my daughters seat. She said something a couple of times to the adults who halfheartedly told the kid to stop it. Finally, she turned to the kid and said "You aren't a baby, you are a big boy and I know you can stop kicking the seat if you wanted to". He stopped!

Posted by
806 posts

I’ve been pretty lucky in my travels, but here’s my mother’s suggestion on kids kicking seats: ask the parent to remove the kid’s shoes. They don’t kick nearly as hard when their toes are unprotected!

Posted by
3175 posts

After reading all of the above, I consider myself beyond LUCKY!

I’ve been pretty lucky in my travels, but here’s my mother’s
suggestion on kids kicking seats: ask the parent to remove the kid’s
shoes. They don’t kick nearly as hard when their toes are unprotected!

Has that worked? Do the parents in fact comply or do they engage in a confrontation with you?

Posted by
4411 posts

in all my years of travel, I have never once had ANYONE ask me if they could recline the seat.

Just because no-one has asked you if it was OK to recline their seat doesn't mean that you should display such ignorance. I'm a big bloke and economy seats are resrictive enough as it is. I was recently on a flight when the woman in front decided to recline without checking to see if it was ok, I ws still eating my meal! Her response was that if she reclined then so should I. What if I don't want to recline? What if I want to do some work on my laptop or use my table for something? What if the person behind me doesn't want me to recline? Reclining, particularly without checking with the passenger behind, is selfish and ignorant. If you want to lie back then get a seat in business clas.

Posted by
4536 posts

Slightly different story - once many years ago I came along and sat in the aisle seat next to a woman who proceeded to talk to me incessantly. In case she was doing this as a nervous lone flyer prior to take off and because I don't mind being reasonably sociable I interjected a few words of response now and again, but after an hour I started to find it a bit wearing. Attempts to put on headphones once had already been thwarted, but she does quieten down a bit during the meal.

Finally she gets on to talking about her holiday and the flight and how much she saved by booking early, only £350. I then said, quite truthfully that I had only booked the flight last minute and had been £119. She scowled and dug the ribs of the person in the window seat who up to this time had remained oblivious to everything. "He's paid less than half of what we've paid each". However, she never said a word to me again for the rest of the flight.

Posted by
503 posts

Well, it wasn't in economy - it was in premium economy but I just had to share. Plane had a 2-4-2 configuration- hubs and I had two together - window and aisle. This was on a A380 which had ledge on the window side - about 6 - 7 inches wide. Shortly after takeoff I notice this smell and look towards the window and what do I see but the "lady" behind me with her shoes off and her feet propped up on the ledge right next to me. After politely asking her to put her feet down, she just shrugged and said she was comfortable and that it was "my problem" and not hers!
So, moral of the story, the "blues" aren't limited to pure economy!!!!

Posted by
489 posts

to JC's comment.
I believe calling me ignorant is insulting. And to assume I would put my seat back while during food service is also insulting.
I know this topic has come up before, but I believe when you purchase a seat you can take advantage of the slight incline of the seat! And I do mean SLIGHT. Equally, I think it is not COOL for larger people to infringe on more than 1/2 of the armrest.
I've had people sitting next to me that take all the armrest and some of my seat space while sleeping and snoring so loudly people 2 rows up turn around. Luckily, I always bring either earbuds or ear plugs, but I still wasn't at peace.
and if you must work on the plane, then maybe you should sit in business class.

Posted by
5011 posts

Reclining, particularly without checking with the passenger behind, is selfish and ignorant. If you want to lie back then get a seat in business class.

Oh puh-lease. Get over it. The seats are designed and intended and equipped to recline. Expect that the seat in front of you will almost certainly recline at some point - on a long overnight flight, it's a certainty. To expect or demand anything else is just silly.

Ignorant and selfish? Nonsense. That said, I do think it's polite to recline one's seat s-l-o-w-l-y so as not to completely surprise the person behind you or cause their food to fly into their lap. These days not everyone is polite. I try to be.

But if you expect to have the seat in front of you not recline reducing your space, so you can work on your laptop or whatever, then I suggest you take your own advice and book a seat up in business class.

Don't like it? Blame the airlines, they're the ones who have reduced seat pitch to paper-thin distances. Remember - that's how you get those super-cheap air fares, they are just giving the public what they demand.

Posted by
12400 posts

I always fly Economy, be it domestic or transatlantic from SFO or OAK. Most of the time no problems, ie more than a majority, but there was once a kid who kicked. My immediate thought was, what a nuisance but I was determined to go to sleep, kicker or no l
kicker, on this transatlantic flight. He didn't last too long, just a strategy of attrition.

Posted by
4411 posts

I believe calling me ignorant is insulting. And to assume I would put my seat back while during food service is also insulting.

Reclining your seat without checking that it's ok with the person behind you is in the same league as queue jumping or talking loudly in the cinema, actions that are selfish and ignorant with no consideration for others.

I wasn't making any assumptions about you reclining during food service, I simply relayed an experience of mine when a woman did.

And why shouldn't anyone work in economy? Business class isn't the sole preserve for those needing to work, quite often most people aren't working, it's become a bit of an outdated term which is why I presume BA refers to it as Club Europe/World and Virgin Atlantic call it Upper Class.

Posted by
4411 posts

Oh puh-lease. Get over it. The seats are designed and intended and equipped to recline. Expect that the seat in front of you will almost certainly recline at some point - on a long overnight flight, it's a certainty. To expect or demand anything else is just silly.

Expecting someone to show some civility and politeness by checking with the person behind them that it's ok to recline is not the same as expecting people to never recline.

Posted by
5011 posts

Business class isn't the sole preserve for those needing to work, quite often most people aren't working, it's become a bit of an outdated term which is why I presume BA refers to it as Club Europe/World and Virgin Atlantic call it Upper Class.

"Business class" is now called "business class" (or other euphemisms) primarily for one reason:

Today's "business class" is actually the new name for first class (actual "first class" is being phased out on most airlines, it will all but disappear in a few years except for on a handful of airlines).

The issue is, if something's called "first class", most actual businesses generally won't pay for their employees to travel in that. "First class" sounds extravagant and elitist (like booking a first class suite on the Titanic), an irresponsible mis-use of stockholders' money, and most large corporations don't want the troubles than can stem from that (bad PR, stockholder outrage, employee grousing). So it's now "business class" where business people get important work done. The huge seats, the good food, all the other amenities....well, that's just to help hard-working business people be more productive. OF COURSE.

Modern "business class" on many airlines makes old "first class" look downright austere. But the terms are chosen for a reason.

Posted by
1683 posts

It seems reasonable and courteous to me to move your seat upright during meals/drinks, and check with the person behind you so you don't recline while they're eating or having a hot cup of coffee. As far as courtesy and respect what comes around, goes around.

Being financially limited to economy class is a big reason we probably won't go to Asia or Australia. About 8 hours is my limit for sitting in economy. Now if were to be offered a free upgrade to business class, well, "Hello, Sydney!"

Flying for the government/military we had no choice except to fly economy, except if you built up enough frequent flyer miles.

Posted by
1352 posts

I can see the politeness of letting the person behind you know you are about to recline, but I don't think it's necessary to ask permission. I agree with the previous posters that it is expected that on a long haul flight people will recline. I also agree that if your argument is that it prevents you from being able to work on your laptop then the person needing to work should be the one that gets a seat in business class.

I've flown round the world with small children in tow. I didn't get much sleep as I was constantly on the watch out for my two year old kicking the seat in front of him / her and doing everything to prevent it. I really like the idea of asking the parents to remove the shoes! Don't know why I didn't think of that before although they can still push with the bottoms of their little feet:)

Posted by
1683 posts

It could be that some people have work to do on a laptop but simply can't afford business class, and/or as in my case the government sure as heck wouldn't pay for it.

So yeah, at times I had the laptop on my lap, which of course isn't comfortable, but I have to respect the person in front of me that is trying to sleep. Even though I try to sleep it's usually just having my eyes closed, maybe half asleep.

Posted by
7996 posts

Totally agree w tgreen and David, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to recline your seat the 1-2” it’s designed for. Should expect it. I honestly think it’s ridiculous to ask for permission.
And JC, I thought the same thing when you said if you want to recline book business class... if you don’t like someone in front of you reclining their reclineable seat then it’s on you to book business class.

Posted by
4411 posts

Turning to the person sat behind you and saying, "do you mind if I recline?" is not exactly asking for permission, it's a polite way of stating your intention but also asking if there would be any issue in doing so. Why does everything have to be so black and white for some people on here!

Posted by
2754 posts

Expecting someone to show some civility and politeness by checking with the person behind them that it's ok to recline is not the same as expecting people to never recline.

Absolutely. Showing courtesy while examining one's 'right' is important. We all know there is little extra room in economy seats. Before reclining my seat, I check to see how large the person behind me is, if that person has declined his or her seat, if his or her knees are already touching the back of my chair, and if they have finished all of their meal. The person behind me has not noted or been made to feel uncomfortable while I analyze the situation nor do I ask permission. Not reclining my seat is not that big a deal versus being an uncomfortable ride for the person behind me for six plus hours because they can't move because they are 6'4" or whatever.
I also feel the person in the middle seat deserves the arm rests. I can lean slightly to the aisle (or towards the window if a window seat) and be comfortable.

These types of considerations help make our world more civilized. Unfortunately, "Me" is becoming more important than a civilized society. IMO

Posted by
4411 posts

JC, what if they say no?

I would expect them to have a valid reason. This isn't about asking permission, I don't know why so many struggle with the concept! It's about being civil, courteous and not thinking about yourself all the time.

Posted by
135 posts

My daughter and I were flying home from Budapest 2 years ago. When we got on the plane and got to our row, there was an elderly lady sitting in my seat (the aisle seat). I said "Excuse me, you are in my seat", she just looked at me, shook her head and didn't say anything.. So I repeated it, and showed her my boarding pass, pointed to the seat she was in - same response. Meanwhile the line is building up behind us of people trying to get to their places. I said it a third time and she launched into a long spiel in Hungarian, and I realized she didn't understand English. Fortunately lots of Hungarian speakers around us so I asked the people in the row behind to explain to her that she was in the wrong seat. It turned out she had the window seat, but she didn't want to sit beside the window, she wanted to sit on the aisle and she said she was not going to move - wouldn't even get up to let us in - we had to crawl over her. I get so stiff from sitting too long, so I I always try to get an aisle seat so that I can get up and move a bit during flights. In the end the flight attendant found someone on the aisle who was happy to switch to a window seat and took her away. I was so relieved, I did not want to be stuck in the middle seat for 8 hours and not be able to get up. Strangely, the same thing happened to me on the train 2 weeks ago - when I got to my reserved seat, there was a woman with a baby in my seat, who said to me "the attendant told me I had to sit here - you have to find yourself a seat somewhere else" How she expected me to do that when all the seats are reserved, I have no idea, but anyway she had misunderstood the attendant, so I was able to sit in my reserved seat - on the aisle of course!

Posted by
7996 posts

“It's about being civil, courteous and not thinking about yourself all the time.”

I am all of those things. tgreen, David and I disagree w you and see it differently. Does not mean we are not civil, courteous and altruistic. Making assumptions and judgements about people is wrong.

I always look to see what the situation is behind me before I recline. But I’m not going to ask their permission.

Posted by
1449 posts

I always look back at the person behind me and tell them I'm going to recline a bit .
Have never had anyone refuse.
I always seem to sit near the loud talkers, and last year I actually turned round and asked a group of three to please be quieter.
It was the middle of the night on a long flight, and the whole plane was asleep and in dimness except them. And me.
I find as I get older I am way less tolerant of other people , and my filters are slowly disappearing!
Flights are not what they used to be.
Just hope you don't get a guy like last week on AA, who started a fight over being refused another beer.

Posted by
4411 posts

But I’m not going to ask their permission.

For the final time....this is not about asking permission!!!

Posted by
3537 posts

Here is reality. A plane is group of strangers stuffed into a tube with very little regard for the personal space needs of people. One can almost guarantee there will be someone or something that will annoy you. If the issue is a big one to you, don't suffer. Contact the flight attendant and seek a resolution. For everything else, choose to be gracious. It is very likely that you may be doing something that annoys others yourself. A little kindness and patience go a long way in surviving the forced social experience of an an airplane flight and allowing you to start your trip in a positive frame of mind.

Posted by
7996 posts

JC, your words: “Turning to the person sat behind you and saying, "do you mind if I recline?" is not exactly asking for permission”

Yes, it is.

This conversation is not worth getting your blood pressure up. We’ll just have to agree to disagree and leave it at that.

Posted by
4411 posts

No, it's called being polite. Not every interaction has to be direct and so black and white.

Posted by
489 posts

I am terrible sorry OP for my post.

To JC ,,, What are you saying..."it is NOT about asking permission."? Man, I do not understand you. And Wray... you are a frequent contributor to the forum and you almost sound sarcastic. too close to call.

You will all be very happy to know that I intend to travel a lot more times per year to Europe and hope to sit by many of you great RS forum posters... And I'm bringing on my favorite subway sandwich.. a tuna salad sandwich, which I probably won't touch for at least 2 hours into the flight. I intend on removing my shoes and socks, then because I'm so "last minute" I intend to give myself a pedicure and manicure and then paint my toe nails and finger nails... what better place to do this as I'm not doing anything else and they can dry perfectly. If however, I happen to be sitting next to a fellow traveler with less than hygienic practices, I come prepared with high powered cologne, straight from Cologne, Germany. I am sure you'll approve since it is "European" don't you know! Then after the movie, I'll probably try to mediate and practice my chanting. I don't get enough time to do that unless I'm on vacations.
I hardly sleep on flights so I'll be roaming around the economy section (sans shoes and socks... must let the nails dry!) and I just hope your arms, legs or heads are not in the aisle, because I'll probably bump into you. I don't hurt hardly as much as that beverage cart they move at breakneck speeds down the aisle. Oh, did I mention that tuna gives me gas? Or was that the sheer amount of alcohol I must consume for FREE! Did you know that you can still get a good amount of booze free?
I'll probably try to engage in a conversation with anyone still awake by this time... Meet me back by the toilets.. (Oh, sorry the poor folks that happen to sit by the toilets.)
Wow, then I must do my early morning stretches before I land in Europe, maybe a little yoga and downward dog in the aisles. My natural yoghurt, brought from home and stowed under the seat in front of me, will be ready to eat as it is also now at room temperature. (oh, be so glad I'm not from a fish eating area and have brought my dried fish to have for breakfast!) Only then can I attack my long awaited vacation. Bye bye hope you've had a good flight!

Posted by
9834 posts

How about some more stories and less “discussion” about reclining and etiquette?

Posted by
8954 posts

First world problems. I'm just thankful that I've got the time and money to fly to distant lands in the first place.

Posted by
3899 posts

That train story reminded me of when we were taking a train in Italy - it was one with the six seats in a compartment - well, hubby and I had seats either beside or across from each other, but when we got to the compartment, someone was in a middle seat and the other 3 were taken, leaving hubby and I separated. Now, if it was me, seeing two people come to a compartment together, I would move over so they could sit side by side, but no...the dude in the middle seat didn't move. Well, I'm VERY passive aggressive, so we sat on either side and proceeded to hand a bag of chips back and forth over middle seat guy. Did I mention I'm very passive aggressive?

And after years of flying with Air Canada to LHR from Halifax and having a 2-3-2 config (so hubby and I could have two seats together on the side) I come to find that they are now flying planes with a 3-3 layout. And not only that, in the last year they've started charging for choosing your seat (which they didn't do last year). Well, with a 2-3-2, I would have taken my chances, but with a 3-3, I don't want hubby and I to both get stuck in middle seats by waiting until the day before to get the seat choice for free. I am contemplating spending the $55 for a preferred seat on the way over (an AC rep told me preferred has 33-34" pitch, as opposed to 30" in the 'cheap' seats). My rationale is the flight over is thru the night, so the extra legroom may make things more comfy...and I want my window seat, darn it. The other seats are $30 and on the way home will either wait until the 24 hr check in and do it free, or just get the $30 seats - it's thru the day, so not as worried about sleeping/legroom. When you're dropping $2k on tix, what's another $100? At least our flight is only 6 hrs (I love living on the east coast).

Posted by
7717 posts

I'm wading in so everyone can get mad at me--tgreen said the intent was to slightly recline. Now let's be honest, we all slightly recline sometime into a trans-Atlantic, even the most self-punishing, conscientious, Golden-Rule following saint among us, whether we ask or not. Usually, we wait a while before reclining any more, and maybe a bit later go all out when the lights are down. I ask half the time and get to feel saintly. The other half, I'm a quiet creeper with the seat, and I bet nearly everyone on this board has crept notch by notch one time or another without asking. In this case, the intent was to go SLIGHTLY back.
But there was an accident and the poor woman in back had her head down toward the seat for one reason or another. Maybe she was a 8 ft. woman who has to sit looking like an S. And maybe tgreen did glance back but didn't do a full head twist to ask permission. I don't half the time. But--catastrophe, there was an accident!!!

Normally we give an apology, concern that the giant-S was ok --after all it was an accident when the seat flew back.
But when the giant-S lashed out, what was tgreen to do? They couldn't come to a settlement, so the giant-S made an effort to retaliate all the way over the Atlantic.

tgreen--that was funny, letting off steam. Your tuna sandwich and toes will be remembered, at least indelibly into my mind forever. The webmaster will be back tomorrow and the tuna and toes will probably vanish.

Posted by
1683 posts

C'mon guys more humor, less vitriol.

Anyone want Tgreen for a seat mate?

And someone has to have a story about sitting near the toilets.

Posted by
1352 posts

Oh - I think we've got another whole day to work this one out:). Tomorrow is a holiday after all.

Posted by
3558 posts

Sorry, Susan, but I could be one of your pet peeves -- a person who grabs the back head area of the seat in front of me to get in or out of my seat. You may think it's rude, but did you ever think that it might be necessary for an older person, especially if the person in front has their seat reclined?

I always try to get an aisle seat so I can get up more easily and not fall. Most aisle arm rests have a button or latch of some kind so that the aisle arm rest can be raised. Most passengers are not aware of this, and those of us who are can't always find it.

Getting up and over that armrest if it is in the down position is a real struggle because you are bent back like you're doing the limbo. The farther you are from the aisle, the more time must be spent in that leaned back position crawling sideways like a crab toward the aisle, even if the interior armrests are up.

As for the oozers, I've shared space with many of those. I have a problem with that if they are on the aisle and I'm in the middle. I have no problem with anyone who uses up all their seat area. I am uncomfortable if they ooze into mine.

I wish the airlines would provide seats adequate to the task and I don't think larger passengers should be charged more. I think it would make all of us more comfortable. Such a seat might also be more accessible for people in wheel chairs. So far I've never been on a plane that comes close to being ADA compliant.

Posted by
489 posts

omg, I almost forgot a real flight I had on Turkish air and sat very near the toilet. My fears were not realized as the attendants were VIGILANT in keeping the toilets clean and fresh. ... The funniest part was when the door malfunctioned and they spent at least an hour trying to fix it.
No worries about being my seat mate... I'm in Business now.
Look forward to my new innovation... no smell mani/pedi kits!!!!!

Posted by
7717 posts

The middle armrests go to the middle seat--give'em a break window and aisle seat people. You don't get half the middle armrest. You get the outer armrests but squat in the middle.

Posted by
2650 posts

On a flight from ATL to MUC, my friend and I plopped down in the last row of Economy Comfort seats. I saw a guy carrying a toddler and leading a 3-year-old down the aisle. In my mind, I'm saying, "Please don't let him be near me. Please don't let him be near me.
Please don't let him be near me..." He and the 3-yo sat down in the 2 seats directly behind us; the dad had the toddler on his lap. Almost immediately, the 3-yo began kicking away at the back of my seat and the toddler began to wail. I started working my way through the five stages of grief. I think I was on bargaining when I looked up to see the gate agent walking down the aisle of the plane with what looked like a couple of boarding passes in his hands. He smiled to his left and to his right as he walked, enjoying the power that came with taunting all with the hope that perhaps they had won the lottery -- perhaps they had hope of better seats -- perhaps they would escape screaming toddler. He stopped at my row, turned to my friend and I, and held out boarding passes for business class. Tears were shed; carry-ons were collected; and the march to the front of the plane began.

Posted by
7996 posts

Lo, believe me, I know how hard it is to get out of those seats. But I go out of my way to make sure I do not use the head area of the seat in front of me. That’s 1000x worse to me than a 2” reclined seat in front of me. I have a bad back, so I do understand it’s not easy. But it is do-able.
I agree w you and you’re right, the airlines need to make seats adequate to the task. There oughta be a law... : )

Posted by
164 posts

Wray...thank God for people like you. If people would just treat others like they would want to be treated, we would have a better world. Going to China in October to see my first grandchild, and I am already worried about the times my son and daughter-in-law will be coming to the states with an infant/small child. As it turns out, the last several flights we have been on, I have sat on the aisle next to young mothers, one with a 5 month old and a 4 year old. I tried to help her by holding the baby, when she needed to use the restroom, etc. The other mother, at the end of our flight, went into her purse and tried to give me a Starbucks gift card. She stated that she had been on flights before with her children, where people were downright nasty to her (her husband was militRy, and she was flying to visit his parents,,,husband was deployed and had not seen the little one). So. I always try to put myself in that other person's shoes. I realize that there are always going to be rude and selfish people, but I am not going to be one of them, and hopefully they would 't be my seatmates....

Posted by
489 posts

Dave, that was beautiful...
Yah, it will never ever happen again.
but an excellent adventure while it lasted!

Posted by
2754 posts

tgreen, I was not being sarcastic.

Posted by
7996 posts

Wow Dave, you did win the lottery! The gods were smiling on you that day... sweet!

Posted by
1217 posts

I usually have pretty uneventful flying experiences but coming back home after Christmas, I got stuck next to the guy who was either high on meth or had tourette's on the Atlanta-Florida leg. Even as boarding was still going on, he started to drive his elbow into my rib cage. As twitchy bounced off me and back to the wall, I managed to move my own arm back to block further attempts while still keeping my whole self on my side of the arm rest. At which point, he got all snippy at me for taking control of my own personal space, such that it was, I snipped back, and then I put headphones on to try to ignore him.

Which didn't work particularly well, but there wasn't really any space the FA could move me to since it was a full bird holiday flight, and I figured that since home was only 45 minutes from wheels up to wheels down I could grit out the repeated further attempts by Twitchy to grind his elbow into my ribs.

Seat recline- as someone with freakishly long femurs for someone who is only 5'9", I would offer a polite request that others recline slowly. I've had to do a few 'hi, you just slammed your seat into me knee caps, and it rather hurt' a few times over the years and the slammer typically does seem to feel bad about that when I mention it.

Posted by
7947 posts

I seldom recline my seat and if I do, it is only a little bit. Certainly not during meal service! Getting slammed with a seat isn't fun for anyone. It would be ok with me if they made all the seats to stay in a fixed position. Problem solved for everyone.

Draped hair over the back of a seat is tacky. No, I do not want your lovely long locks in my face, my food or blocking my movie. I have long hair and wouldn't dream of draping it over the back of my seat.

Adults pushing on the back of your seat with their knees over and over and over can be as annoying as kids kicking your seat, but they should know better.

Posted by
3175 posts

He stopped at my row, turned to my friend and I, and held out boarding
passes for business class. Tears were shed; carry-ons were collected;
and the march to the front of the plane began.

Dave....that happened to me just once in my life back when Continental Airlines was its own entity when I flew to Newark from Madrid. I was selected last minute from my seat like you were because of my metal status on Continental. Was this the same for you on your airline which I am guessing is Delta? I'm trying to figure out how you got so lucky!!

Posted by
2650 posts

Continental, your guess is correct. I'm diamond medallion on Delta. DMs can get upgraded on international flights if (1) they have a global upgrade certificate (can get 4/year -- I think Delta is the only US carrier that still does this) or (2) the main cabin is oversold and there is a seat open in business class. Both applied here. I had requested an upgrade for me and my female companion. Only one seat was available in business prior to boarding, so I declined it and someone else got it. Apparently 2 people no-showed for business class, so they bumped us up to business after boarding and gave our seats to the 2 people on the oversold list.

Posted by
79 posts

Ok, I am just going to say, I usually don't even notice the person in front of me has leaned their seat back until they raise it or if a meal is served. The recline is SO minimal that I, a not so skinny woman, can barely notice it, unless they do the accidental quick drop followed by the blushing, flustered "oops." And I could only ask or warn the person behind me if I unbuckled, turned around, and got to my knees so I could see over the seat (while annoying and kicking the person next to me)--or yelled to be heard over the engine--so if I recline, I do so slowly and possibly incrementally.
tgreen: Awww...you're always in business now? I was hoping to book the window seat to your aisle and give you that pedicure while eating tuna sandwiches and belting out earworm songs! ;-)

Posted by
7717 posts

" I had requested an upgrade for me and my female companion. Only one seat was available in business prior to boarding, so I declined it and someone else got it.

Who else would have been so chivalrous? Would you or wouldn't you have dumped your traveling companion?

Dave for President!

Posted by
2164 posts

I guess I have been lucky in my 14 trans-Atlantic flights so far--no particularly rude, smelly or noisy people seated nearby. I don't recline, and perhaps only half of my flights had people ahead of me that reclined. I find it annoying because then the monitor is so close that I need to wear my glasses to see it, but can certainly deal with it. I would certainly not feel the need to announce I was about to recline, nor has anyone informed me of such intentions. I also notice the flight attendants remind people to sit upright for meals and that helps. As to getting up for the bathroom, I've now decided the aisle is my preferred seat--I returned Sunday from Munich in a high degree of back pain and the couple next to me were great--if I got up to use the bathroom then so did they, no extra disruptions.

Posted by
1834 posts

Oh my some of these made me laugh! Some are just dumb.........JC, I have flown lots and have frequent flyer status at several airlines, never, never has someone asked me to recline their seat and nor would I expect them to. I ASSUME that they will at some point. Usually many people are wearing headphones so it seems that asking is a mute point! I know I always have my bose headphones with me to take care of those screaming toddlers.
I just flew from PHX to ANC this past weekend. I got upgraded to first class and sat next to a linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings. I also saw Bob Green on a flight once. (Oprah's personal trainer)
Any other famous flight mates????

Posted by
7717 posts

I had the Notorious RBG in business once. Arriving in Paris, we saw her escorted out through a secret door while we waited in the passport line.

Posted by
4411 posts

Oh my some of these made me laugh! Some are just dumb.........JC, I have flown lots and have frequent flyer status at several airlines, never, never has someone asked me to recline their seat and nor would I expect them to.

Dumb? No, I just have manners and a sense of politeness. Shame others don't share such basic pleasantries.

Posted by
2915 posts

I guess this could count as an Economy Class Blues sighting when celebrities come back to your economy section to visit with their less fortunate friends during a flight. On one of our flights from LAX to AMS Woody Harrelson, Reese Witherspoon and Martin Scheen were all on our flight and 2 of the 3 of them came back to Economy to slum with their friends from time to time. We thought it was odd that we had 3 celebrities on our flight although when flying from LA we've had a famous person from time to time. It turns out that they were all headed to Slane Castle to hear U2 perform the next day. You never know...

Posted by
928 posts

Last year, we were on a flight with Marcus Samuelsson, the chef. He was in the front of the plane. We were not.

Posted by
8954 posts

On the flip side I have been on domestic flights and spotted Susan Sarandon and Tobey Maguire with the rest of us peasants in economy. hashtag name dropping

Posted by
1610 posts

Flight home from Vegas #1 - Spouse likes to be as close to first person in economy as status will allow. I'm usually in the middle seat, so I do not want to spend anymore time in that seat than necessary. . Gate agent hands me a boarding pass for 2B! Except than 4C has moved to 2C and when I get to 4C... there is a dad with a child (under 2). Silently praying that my small grandchildren never learn of this, I wave to my husband in 17C and ask him if he'd like to sit in First Class. Flight attendants thought I was so wonderful for switching.

Flight home from Vegas #2 - Flying home with the leftover Electric Daisy Carnival crowd ( who have apparently been up for 3 days). Fortunately, thought to look behind me before reclining my seat. Very Large guy had the tray table down and was fast asleep. If I had reclined, I would have nailed him.

Posted by
12400 posts

I move the seat backwards, discreetly. I never ask for permission and have never been asked for permission either. The key word is discreetly, since my intention is to sneak it in. It isn't very much of a recline anyway, just enough so that I can fall asleep faster after the dinner is served. Luckily, no one has objected yet to the slight recline.

Posted by
489 posts

"I had the Notorious RBG in business once. Arriving in Paris, we saw her escorted out through a secret door while we waited in the passport line."

I would believe that she had a diplomatic passport, or because she is a US Supreme Court Justice that the US embassy in France was there to escort her thru the immigration control.
We, who have not become "Notorious" except to JC, were visiting our long time friend (Ambassador to a smaller European country) and since the spouse of the Ambassador was also on our flight, we had the entire security group plus the Ambassador welcoming us to this country. We were whisked thru a special door and asked for our passports. Fun to know someone important. I have so many stories of what it is like walking in a market with the Ambassador and the very large (big, really big guys!) security detail. It is pretty awesome!

Posted by
4411 posts

We, who have not become "Notorious" except to JC,

Notoriety is clearly in the eye of the beholder!

Posted by
489 posts

Sorry JC, thought you knew the meaning of notorious! Please accept my humble apology.

Posted by
4411 posts

Sorry JC, thought you knew the meaning of notorious! Please accept my humble apology.

Au contraire, however the word indifference is equally appropriate.