The Bearded Passenger From Hell

October 10, 2007

in Weird People Stories

This is my “worst-ever, round trip flight from Pittsburgh, PA to Seattle, WA” story. The departing flight to Seattle was a non-stop flight, which I prefer. As I was already seated on the plane, awaiting everyone else to board, a man in the seat next to me kept jumping up and sorting through his enormous carry-on bag that he had stuffed into the overhead bin above me. I proceeded to ignore him, hoping that he would eventually find what he was looking for; and eventually, he must have, as he settled down. Midflight, during food service, with my apple juice sitting on my tray table, this man again jumps up and proceeds to rummage through the overhead bin above me again. This time he knocks his umbrella out of the overhead bin and it falls onto my tray table, knocking my apple juice onto my lap. (Note that I was wearing white pants, so this lovely yellow liquid was now spilled in my crotch area). After yelling at the annoying gentleman and being calmed by the stewardess, I was eventually able to sleep through the rest of the flight, with no disturbances.

When I landed in Seattle, I went to pick up my rental car (still wearing the beautiful white pants with the yellow-stained crotch) only to find that I had been charged double insurance for it. After finally get that ordeal straightened out, I head to my hotel, where I find that “no, they do NOT have a room” booked under my name (which my Administrative Point of Contact at work had assured me she had done, as well as the travel itinerary in my hand confirmed) but apparently, neither meant a thing. After finally getting a room at my hotel, things went better and through the week the rest of my conference went well.

Fast forward to my departing flight from Seattle… I end up in a middle seat with a fellow (whose appearance is questionable) to my left and a heavy-set woman to my right. Heavy-set woman wasn’t too bad, just took up a little more of my personal space than I had liked, and snored loudly, but overall, not too bad. Fellow with the questionable appearance, however… was a total NIGHTMARE. Believe it or not, aside from his awful smell and the fact that he probably hadn’t bathed in quite some time, he was actually pulling hair out of his beard and… wait for it… EATING IT!! I had never seen anything like this in my life and it made me sick to the stomach. This man actually did this for the entire flight back to Pennsylvania – it was the only time in my life I was praying for a layover… but I knew I was on a nonstop flight! I sat next to this fellow and watched as he would pull out clumps of hair from his face, examine it, and then pop it into his mouth, as if it were M&Ms!

Finally, when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, as we were finally nearing Pittsburgh International Airport, we had to circle around, as there was bad weather in the area. We were force to stay in the air an additional hour and a half until we were cleared to land. Absolutely, positively, with no doubt in my mind, THE WORST ROUND-TRIP FLIGHT I HAVE EVER TAKEN!!

Beth Richardson – Johnstown, PA

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous December 28, 2008 at 11:54 am

must have been hungry!


Krissy March 2, 2009 at 10:28 am

Wow–this one made my gag reflex kick in–that is just revolting!


TBone April 2, 2009 at 8:59 am

Kudos to you & your story. I threw-up a little in my mouth


Julie Smith April 2, 2009 at 9:03 am

The eating of the hair is truly disgusting. However, how foolish were you to wear white pants while traveling?? BLACK only!


jaymoney April 2, 2009 at 9:13 am

I love it….."wait for it…", but hey hair goes well with pickles and a can of flat PBR beer!


Elaine April 2, 2009 at 9:59 am

That is one of the grossest/weirdest things I've ever heard!!!

Oh, and I have to agree with Julie on the white pants. NEVER during travel


J April 2, 2009 at 10:14 am

I just have to say….THAT'S NASTY!!!

I have flown many times and there is always at least one person that is annoying, nasty, etc. but that story is truly disturbing. I'm going to go brush my teeth now.


JJ April 2, 2009 at 10:43 am

This is a real medical condition called Trichotillomania. Some forms of the condition involve the consumption of one's own body hair.

I know it's disturbing to you, but please try to understand that he was not simply a weird individual but a person with a mental disease that he could not help.


Andy April 2, 2009 at 10:59 am

well, It's hard to determine if the person was gross or had this medical condition. There are some pretty weird and gross people out there.

That would definetely have made for an awkward complaint. "Excuse me sir, could you not eat your beard please?"

I think all you can really do in this situation is imerse yourself in a good book and wait for the flight to end.


A. Blaise April 2, 2009 at 11:38 am

Just think how well groomed his beard must have been! He must have a cat.


wow April 2, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Literally made me laugh out loud… I'm wiping away the tears now. Thanks so much for posting this.


ninguem April 2, 2009 at 12:14 pm

The guy eating his beard was probably Richard Stallman, you should have been honored.


Somebody April 2, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Hey, if it makes you feel better, hair cannot be digested in our stomachs.


me April 2, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Who wears white after labor day anyway? Even my 5 year old knows that. Sounds like everything could have been avoided if you dressed yourself better.


Anonymous April 2, 2009 at 1:21 pm

oh my! I feel so sorry for you!


Anonymous April 2, 2009 at 4:56 pm

I just threw up a lil in my mouth. I know it CAN BE a medical condition, but that's just plain disgusting. >


Nita April 2, 2009 at 7:41 pm



huh April 3, 2009 at 5:49 am

We need to be more tolerant of people with anomalies.

Those who threw up reading this should be aware that there are a few folks among us who enjoy eating vomit and feces. Its a lifestyle. Support it.


huh April 3, 2009 at 6:05 am

"SchwitzerdUEtsch" is as "dEUtsch" as "Dutch" is "hollaendisch" is "Nederlands".


Melinda April 3, 2009 at 9:03 am

That was one of the most disgusting things I have ever read. Even though I was grossed out, I couldn't stop reading…it was just to funny and horrifying.


anon April 3, 2009 at 11:14 am

ROFLMAO @ the richard stallman comment 😀


Michael September 4, 2014 at 2:31 pm

I meant to up-vote your comment, but my mouse slipped. Hopefully an administrator will see this and fix it.


Joe Mama April 7, 2009 at 10:28 am

OK, this is even more disgusting than the story of the guy picking at his feet.


Mike April 10, 2009 at 9:53 am

"This is a real medical condition called Trichotillomania. Some forms of the condition involve the consumption of one's own body hair.

I know it's disturbing to you, but please try to understand that he was not simply a weird individual but a person with a mental disease that he could not help."

So what? Mr. Mental Patient should stay the hell home then. Why on earth is everyone else expected to put up with the insanity or stupidity of others just because they are on a bus/plane? Is this guy so mentally whacked out that he cannot understand that what he does is totally disgusting? If so, he has no business being in public. If not, then he can understand it and not put himself in places where others will have to witness this kind of nonsense.


Heather April 19, 2009 at 1:19 pm

1 out of 100 people have Trichotillomania. I am one of those people. However I pull my eyelashes but I do not eat them. I know people who do. They are so used to doing it they do not realize they are doing it. It is a medical problem that is hard to stop without therapy. Please be understanding if you meet someone like this. It's not like we want to do this, it's just hard to stop.


Sterling March 26, 2013 at 7:25 pm

And if I say I pick my nose and eat it and I cannot help it due to a medical condition is that ok


Belafonte La Pootera April 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm

That's not even close to the same thing. This is your first response to someone admitting they have a medical problem? To mock them? You're a lucky human being not to have a similar condition; please give some sympathy and support to others.


Atari May 30, 2009 at 10:33 pm

I thin it's called a 'bad habit,' personally.


Belafonte La Pootera April 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm

No, it's called trichotillomania.


Mack October 27, 2009 at 8:37 am

Oh Ms. Richardson, you poor, poor thing!

How on earth did you endure all that you did?!

And your white pants and double car insurance and no hotel room?! Oh my! I feel so sorry for you!


Sounds to me like you are a total snob!

C'mon! Tell the truth: You pissed yourself and want to blame it on the apple juice! Ha! We're on to you!


L. Bently June 19, 2010 at 5:07 am

You sound like an overly pampered snob, judging people based on appearances. Too bad the man with the umbrella did not kick the crap out of you for yelling at him for an accident. Grow up!


Nicky June 19, 2010 at 6:14 am

Are you the real Leslie Bently who wrote the notorious Neanderthal Man story?


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