Old Lady Can’t Get No Satisfaction

October 3, 2007

in Senior Stories

I was flying from St. Louis to Denver on a humid summer day. The aircraft was hot and stuffy as we pushed back from the gate and taxied toward the runway. As we waited our turn to take off, the elderly lady in the seat in front of me began to complain loudly about the heat. When the flight attendant walked by to make a final safety check, the elderly lady flagged her down. “How much longer must we wait? I can’t breathe!” The flight attendent took her remark literally, and decided it was a medical emergency.

She ran to notify the captain, who turned the aircraft around and headed back to the gate. Just as quickly, she returned with an oxygen bottle and mask, which she insisted on applying to the lady over her protests.

The fun was just beginning. The man across the aisle interrupted the flight attendant. “Excuse me, Miss, but the bag is not inflating and I don’t believe the oxygen is flowing properly.”

“Are you a doctor?,” asked the attendant. “Yes, I am.” (Omygosh, thinks the attendant. An authority figure!) Meanwhile, the elderly passenger is trying to push the mask off and keeps asking how soon we can take off.

When we returned to the gate, the attendant opened the door to two paramedics, two police officers, and a passenger service manager. They all rushed toward the scene of the “emergency.” The lady tried to tell the paramedics there was nothing wrong with her, but they insisted on checking her vital signs. All seemed to be well. She declined medical attention and the paramedics reluctantly departed. Then it was the pasenger service manager’s turn. He told the lady the airline cannot risk a medical emergency in flight and said she must get off the aircraft.

The lady flatly refused to move, and told the manager she must keep a doctor’s appointment in Denver later that day. The manager retreated to the front of the aircraft, to consult with corporate headquarters by phone. The two police officers hovered closer to her seat as we wondered if they are going to mace, club, and cuff the lady, who is old enough to be their grandmother.

Finally, the manager returned with the good news that the airline would permit her to remain aboard. The manager and the police departed, but we still couldn’t leave the gate until they replaced the faulty oxygen bottle. We waited even longer in the heat, until the replacement bottle arrived and we pushed back from the gate for a second time.

As soon as we were airborne the crew turned on the air conditioning. When the seat belt light went off, the lady summoned the attendant to tell her, “It’s so cold in here! I’m FREEZING! Can’t you do something?”

At that point, I think the rest of us wanted to line up and smack her, like that scene from the movie, “Airplane.”

Oh, and a final word about the “doctor.” Well, somewhere over Kansas we found out he was a veterinarian!


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Shakinthefat October 14, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Will Doctor Larry, Doctor Moe, or Doctor Curley please report to 1st Class!!!!


Michael January 22, 2009 at 8:30 am

Oxygen bags do not have to inflate on a working oxygen bottle. Even the safety instructions before takeoff explain that – oxygen bottles are no different than the masks that drop down from the overhead compartments!


jag April 2, 2009 at 2:05 pm

what was the name of the flight-Geriactic Air.Nothing like a bunch of greyhairs to delay flights. People like that should only be allowed to fly on Mondays. Driving on the roads should also be restricted to a couple days per week. Too much complaining.


Collin April 2, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Dude, that's a funny story.


TB April 5, 2009 at 12:21 pm

A veterinarian is a fitting medical expert to take care of that old cow.


Curtis April 9, 2009 at 9:05 am

I'm glad our comment Guru's did not miss this story.


Karl April 9, 2009 at 1:25 pm

You had to have made that up. It is too funny to be true.


Anon April 14, 2009 at 6:52 pm

OMG! This reminds me of Bill Cosby's "Adventures with Jeffery" (Jeffery is alittle boy that Bill Cosby had the dubius chance to fly with back in 1970's) When Jeffery was finally asleep from his hellish ordeal, everyone made a point to yell at him when they disembarked the plane. "Goodbye Jeffery!" "See ya later Jeffery!" ect.

Next time you run into a senior citizen who acts like this, make sure they know how much YOU appriciated flying with them. "THANKS FOR THE WONDERFUL TRIP, YOU OLD NAG!"


Shannon April 15, 2009 at 7:07 pm

The way the attendant acted when the woman said she couldn't breathe I'm surprised she didn't cover, and I do mean cover, the woman with blankets when she complained of freezing. I'm pretty sure that would have sent us back to the "I can't breathe" scenario.


SamH April 23, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Common mistake. Never ask if someone is a "doctor", because you might end up with someone who teaches English at a community college. Always ask for a physician.


Atari May 30, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Thanks for the tip, SamH; I hope I one day have the opportunity to apply that sound advice.

(No sarcasm/irony intended)


mags July 23, 2009 at 1:25 am

…At that point, I think the rest of us wanted to line up and smack her, like that scene from the movie, "Airplane."



the dominator July 23, 2009 at 4:18 pm

she sounds like one of those awful old bags who are ALWAYS complaining about something. blech!

i probably would have ended her medical issues permenantly by euthanization.

a good choking always seems to do the job!


Joanie May 23, 2016 at 10:24 pm

I know the type… ran into one from Baltimore — comlained that what I put in the overhead bin was not supposed to go there — I looked at her and said "BFD" — but not the initials… she looked at me as if to say -you eat with that mouth, and I looked at her with fire in my eyes as if to say "I dare you to say one more word." Also she must have seen my clenched fist– not that I would hit the b*tch –don't want a felony charge on my record.


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