Early Flight Episodes

May 20, 2008

in Passenger Stories

The first Southwest flight to Ontario, a weekday morning, was at 6 AM. Sitting in the bulkhead was a man, a woman and a young child. Just prior to the cabin door closing, the man and woman stood up, spread out a rug, kneeled down and prayed. The airline attendants were pleading with them to take their seats all to no avail until the couple finished their morning prayers.

Just prior to the praying episode a late boarder plopped his body in the center seat next to me. He began opening and spreading his newspaper out so everyone in our second row was inconvenienced except him. Upon landing in Ontario, he pulled out his leather briefcase to find it covered in milk or formula from a child’s bottle in another row. He then proceeded to shake off the liquid onto my briefcase and my person. I just love it when these happen first thing in the morning.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous April 2, 2009 at 10:05 am

Well, if they need to pray kneeling on the floor at a certain time of day then so be it. It's Islam, not some obscure cult. It's not like people can break their religious commandments for your convenience. Being reprimanded by the flight attendants and given the stinkeye by fellow passengers doesn't sound fun for them either. Were they in the aisle actually blocking people from entering, or were they in the food preparation area where the flight attendants are? Because if the latter, I don't see that it matters so much.


Allison April 2, 2009 at 11:32 am

Anonymous… I'm all for freedom of and for religion, but it sounded like their prayers were causing the plane to be delayed. If they could have waited 15 minutes until the plane was up in the air, I would hope that no one would have taken issue with it. At least that's how I interpreted the story.


fuzzbeans April 2, 2009 at 12:06 pm

If you must be religious and follow the rules of a fairy-tale god, then be sure to schedule your flights so you can pray when the fairy says so and doesn't interrupt the plans of a hundred other people.


Your Fairy Godmother


me April 2, 2009 at 1:32 pm

You "love" that kind of stuff first thing in the morning? Well, good thing it happened to you then. I would have been bothered by it.


iloveflying September 9, 2015 at 1:01 pm

you do realize that meant as sarcasm? and considering that you said that in quotes maybe you did know.


debi April 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm

I wouldn't have liked it, but this is a religion. Any religion can be poked fun at by calling it a "fairy tale". Have you actually studied religions? All of them have something weird, strange, seemingly mind-altering stupidity. And all of them have a calming, peaceful influence for the believer. Islam is the largest religion in the world. It is not some obscure, new-age religion. They deserve the understanding and respect to perform their practices. BTW, I was raised catholic and now identify myself as a christian.


jag April 2, 2009 at 4:58 pm

regardless of religion, it's just ignorant. If someone else's behavior delayed a flight, they probably would have been thrown off the flight or detained at arrival. Fuck the assos who use religion for their own selfish reasons who think they are above others. Shame on the FA's for kowtowing to these individuals, probably for fear of a lawsuit or starting an incident. people will deliberately provoke for just such a reason, i.e. $$$$.Fuck them


Anonymous April 2, 2009 at 5:35 pm

I hate to be religiously intolerant, but if your religion requires you to pray at a certain time, you shouldn't get a flight for that time. 😐


fuzzbeans April 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm

debi: sorry my post wasn't clearer on this: All religions are based on fairy tales. Islam no more than chritianity, judaism, hinduism, jainism, zoroastrainism, etc. Some have cultural aspects that I appreciate more than others, but they're still all religions, which deny science and self-determination.


Buttons April 2, 2009 at 5:47 pm

I agree completely with a few other posters; if your religion requires you to pray, and that prayer ritual will cause inconvenience to others, it would be more considerate for you schedule your flights at times that would at least *attempt* to avoid required prayer time schedules.

And to other posters who are angered by this suggestion and defend right to religious beliefs without respect for other travelers comfort, try to realize that seeing two people prior to take off lay out rugs/mats in the aisle and pray, while ingoring FA's requests to remain seated, would be unnerving for many people.


Raphael April 3, 2009 at 6:24 am

I agree with most of the posters. I am personally against all organized religion, but I will defend your right to practice whatever religion you want, as long as it does not infringe on my rights — which is clearly happening in the situation described.

If your religion requires that you pray at a certain time of day, then don't schedule your flight for that time — period.


anon April 3, 2009 at 12:56 pm

I'm a Muslim and I pray in the airports and on the flights whenever I travel when it's time for prayer. In the airport you can always find a chapel, mosque, or other area where you can pray standing up. But in the aircraft, I've always prayed sitting in my seat after I've secured myself in my seat making sure it didn't cause inconvenience. Islam doesn't say you HAVE to stand up and pray while traveling. While traveling, you can pray while sitting in the vehicle too.


Anonymous April 4, 2009 at 7:55 am

I would've booted them off the plane. Religion or not it's wrong to inconvienence others for the sake of one's private matters – Had anyone been doing anything not religious to cause a disruption they would've been booted off the plane.

I'm sure they meant well, but christ.


resident of Egypt April 5, 2009 at 3:31 am

Islam makes allowances for people who are traveling. They can fulfill their obligations for daily prayer whenever it is convenient, and in ways that are not disruptive to others. Those passengers were either ignorant of their religion, or were deliberately behaving in a provocative way. In either case, the flight crew should have insisted that they take and remain in their seats during the scheduled take-off.


Equus April 5, 2009 at 5:10 am

This is not appropriate religious behavior. I've flown on many Arab airlines and I can tell you an Arab captain would not tolerate people praying in the aisles and disrupting his flight schedule.

Saudia has a prayer area in coach with an arrow that always points towards Mecca where people can pray out of the way AFTER the seatbelt light has been turned off. Muslims are given allowances by their religion when travelling – they can even eat pork if they have to.

There was no reason for this disruptive behavior. They were just being douchebags.


Joe Mama April 8, 2009 at 11:15 am

I agree that if the particular superstitious fairy tale you believe in requires that you pray at a certain time of day, then either do it in your seat or find other times to do it. Don't inconvenience everyone else because of it. I've seen Catholics pray the rosary on a bus while comfortably seated, they didn't have to kneel in the aisle.

These people were probably hoping someone would make a fuss about them so they could claim that they were being persecuted for their Islamic beliefs.


mike r April 14, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Hey Anonymous……you've posted comments taking both sides of issue. You just keep posting worthless drivel on too many topics, while remaining oblivious to your self contradiction. It must be tough living with a fart for a brain. Shut the fuck up!


Atari May 31, 2009 at 9:49 pm

I HATE when people are Catholic but 'identify' themselves as Christians.

If you are a Catholic, then there are many, many reasons that you are not a Christian. Fundamental and otherwise.

Christians don't pray to Mary, and don't consider her divine in ANY way.

Furthermore, Christians don't have priests and don't believe that priests are godly or a link to heaven.

Christians pray to Jesus and God DIRECTLY, without the proxy of a priest, in order to ask for forgiveness.

Christians believe (and know) that the wafer and grape-juice are SYMBOLIC, and do not, in fact, 'transmogrify' into the actual flesh of Jesus, or the blood, therefrom.

Christians know that men are not to make any statues or images that we pray to. You pray to God Himself, not a statue or imagery.

Christians believe that you don't have to EVER read a Bible or go to a church to be Born Again by the Blood of Jesus.

You just have to believe.

And the list goes on.


Peace Lover January 15, 2011 at 3:21 am

I find this story quite interesting. I believe in freedom of religion myself as long as it does not inconvenience others. However quite recently I have been working online against the notorious westboro baptist church.


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