Week 25: Fighting on a plane

Friday 22nd June 2018


Reading time 3 minutes 58 seconds 

I actually owe it to society to do something about this! I can’t sit by and allow this to go on. It’s a moral issue is what it is! – Jerry Seinfeld – Seinfeld

Have you ever been late for a flight? Or worse a connecting flight? It happened to my partner and I last year in Dubai.

We rushed through the airport, Home Alone style, as the crew explained that our baggage was already loaded on the waiting plane and we must hurry. Hurry we did. We arrived flustered, and sweaty, with a few minutes to spare and I expected a cheer from our fellow passengers but I was wrong and instead we received angry ‘you are making us delayed’ stares.

The part that still melts my brain to this day is how my luggage beat me onto the connecting flight while I was still on the plane. 

Now I don’t mind where I sit on a plane as I consider it a small moment in my life. I’ve got a book and a movie channel in the seat in front of me and know I can get lost in either of those things and the time will fly.

My partner however does mind. She minds very much and she also has specific rules for flying.

Rule 1. We must arrive at the airport several hours before departure.

Rule 2. We must sit next to each other.

I do not and cannot understand rule 2. We live together. We sleep in the same bed. We share a sofa, cats and a mortgage. Why is sitting on a plane journey that important?

She’s quite adamant about the seating and because it’s important to her I make it happen with only minimal fuss and sarcasm. Maybe I am a nice guy after all and that comment on The You Tube was wrong.

Our seats are occupied by another, fractionally older, couple. As we approached I smiled a smile that not only conveyed my apologies about being late it also said ‘you’re in my seat please move as it’s important to my other half and I don’t want any aggro or fuss’. The couple had not read my smiled message so I’d have to verbalise. 

Why I started with an apology is beyond me but as I did part of me died.

“Sorry but you are in our seats.”

The man smiled at me but his wife harrumphed. He relocated, without fuss, and the woman let us squeeze past her. She had the aisle seat, my partner the window seat which left me as the Rose between those two thorns. The scene was set for a cracking 7-hour flight.

Twenty minutes after take-off I needed a wee and had to get the aisle lady to move. She harrumphed again. As I returned it was my Mrs turn so we repeated the process again. I noticed this little vein in aisle lady’s temple and it was getting bigger and throbbing. I then made a fatal mistake as I drank a cup of coffee. Nothing makes me wee more than coffee and by my fourth bathroom break the vein was on the verge of exploding.

On attempting a return to my seat the lady became angry and told me it was unacceptable. She was raging and I did the only thing I could and laughed as it struck me funny that she was getting this irate about getting up from her seat. Her husband, who was sitting across the aisle, buried his head in his book. He’d obviously seen this before and didn’t want to be involved and I marked him out as quite a clever guy.

We had a brief exchange about my unacceptable weeing, and my small bladder, and at one point I became George Costanza and uttered the phrase “you do know we live in a society”. All the while I was still standing and attempting to return to my seat and she was sitting down looking up at me and being dismissive and rude. 

Then I said it….

“Why don’t you fuck off!”.

I said this to a person on a plane. A person I had disturbed four times and had five hours left to sit next to, probably rather uncomfortably. She was gobsmacked and said “You can’t say that to me”. Well, it’s too late love I already have now heed my words and move so I can sit.

She said she was going to lodge a complaint. I was confident the sky police weren’t coming for me and anyway if you don’t want to be disturbed by other people on a plane charter a private jet. 

She then got up and stormed off which is hard to do on a plane but to her credit she nailed it. Other passengers glared at me as they couldn’t believe I had cursed at this old(er) lady. Telling them that she’d started it would only have made me look more childish. I took my seat.

She returned looking somewhat triumphant and I was informed that the stewardesses knew about me. What were they going to do? Throw me off? 

By now my Mrs was questioning her sitting next to your partner rule and clearly thought I was in the wrong. I obviously wasn’t but everyone has an opinion.

The little entertainment system in front of me then stopped working. I pressed the flight attendant button but they said sorry and there was nothing they could do. The aisle lady had nobbled my entertainment. Touché!

I drifted off and was woken with a start as the stewardess had “mistakenly” dropped a cup of tea over aisle lady and the hot water splashed onto my leg. Looks like they’d also had enough of her rudeness. 

In the moments I had been asleep I had forgotten what a horrible, nasty, impatient woman she was and the fact that I was a rude, slightly arrogant and intolerant man with a tiny bladder. I started to wipe boiling tea off her lap and initially she looked distraught whilst her husband was clearly chuckling to himself.

As I helped get her cleaned up I looked her in the eye and apologised for my language and behaviour. She then also apologised and we made up. We were normal people again.

She was really kind as she told me that I could have as many wees as I liked but the cabin crew never reactivated my entertainment unit.

The fabric of airline society is very complex.

Picture: Regrets, I have a few, the main one being not buying these Louboutin shoes