Dealing With A Claustrophobic

April 7, 2010

in Portly Stories

My husband and I were returning from Mexico after a lovely two week vacation. He had the window seat and I had the middle seat. A very large lady seated behind my husband kept standing up and hunching herself under the overhead bins. I noticed she was sweating a lot and breathing quite heavily. That’s not so bad, but she was leaning on my husband’s head rest and put most of her weight on it every time she shifted, causing his seat back to rock forward and backward continuously. He turned around and politely asked the woman not to lean on the seat. She replied she was claustrophobic and had to stand up. I then told her she should trade seats with the aisle person (by the way they were conversing so we figured they were family anyways). The girl in the middle seat pipes up that her aunt is fine where she is. Okay, no problem, just don’t keep leaning on his seat.

After the meal service my husband wanted to put his seat back a little while he read. I mean a little, not all the way. The lady behind him is getting very agitated and starts pushing his seat forward away from her. He’s now getting irritated and asked her to stop. She is now screaming she is claustrophobic and is having a panic attic. My husband says he can’t help her. They call for the FA and the lady explains she is claustrophobic and the man in front of her is being inconsiderate and keeps putting his seat back. The FA looks at how little the seat is put back and explains to the lady to trade seats with the aisle person (she should have listened to me in the first place). Well, now the lady is really irate and the family is behind her 100%. So, for the last 50 minutes of the flight we had to listen to them hurl continuous insults at us. My husband ignored them and I put the music on. I noticed the rest of the passengers around us rolling their eyes at the situation.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

the logger April 8, 2010 at 2:09 am

How fabulous:

A fat claustrophobic in an aluminum tube.

Its bad enough when Tubbo oozes into the seat next to you.

Now they want to impact our world from behind.

Here's an idea: Eat a salad, put down the Fatsoburgers and stay home.

Or better yet, fly Fat Bastard airlines.

Fat Bastard has plenty of room for you to blimp out, and with ten foot ceilings, claustrophobia will not be an issue.

Book now at


Jodi April 8, 2010 at 3:15 am

I feel sorry for both parties – you both had to suffer for very different reasons and it doesn’t make sense to then throw insults. I’m not sure why she was even flying, but an adult that has issues like that should take some medication to put them to sleep or at least calm their nerves before getting on a plane. I’m sorry you had to deal with it. I’m also sorry she didn’t get the medication she needed before the flight. It had to be miserable for her too.


Owen April 8, 2010 at 10:35 am

Your mistake was in even speaking to them in the first place…"don't lean on the seat" really? you couldn't predict a reaction from that? If your husband's comfort was impacted he should have taken it to the FA in the first place. Your faux pas wasn't nearly as bad as fatso's (yes I have a right to lower my seat ALL the way back if I want to) but still a mistake…


Jim April 9, 2010 at 6:11 am

Well, I really don't understand why anyone has to recline their seat at all. The 3 inches of recline you receive is not enough to make that much difference to the person sitting in the seat….but, it can make a big difference in the amount of leg room a tall person has behind you. But, the seats recline, and it is your right to recline it if you so wish…but, it seems a bit inconsiderate. The airlines, I believe, should just make the seats standard, without recline. But, really…you knew the lady behind you was freaking out…and, your husband still reclined? It seems to me he was trying to agitate her, because she was annoying.

That being said…what the heck was this lady thinking. If you are claustrophobic, crazy, or what-not….don't fly! It's bad enough to torture yourself like that….but, knowingly torturing those around you, because of your ailments is wrong and rude. She should know her limitations….as should her family….


Janice April 9, 2010 at 7:44 am

Why would she be in a window seat? An isle seat would have been better. Her fault for not thinking that one out. Meds are wonderful for the flying claustrophobics. She should have gotten something.


Nunya April 13, 2010 at 7:52 am

Sheesh, not have the seats recline at all? Really? If you're too tall, get an aisle seat. Everybody has to deal with one minor inconvenience to another on an airplane-smelly food, loud talkers, babies, snorers, and B.O. I mean really, people should be willing to put up with some minor issues while in public. Hovering over me and shaking my seat is not a minor inconvenience, it is rude. Losing three inches of leg room, a minor inconvenience. BTW-if I am on a flight for more than 5 hours, I'm lowering my seat back whether you like it or not. Do you ever think that the person reclining the seat has their own reasons as to why they do so?


Jim April 13, 2010 at 9:17 am

People cannot help that they are tall and have long legs….yeah the aisle seat is fine, until they push the cart by, or somebody trips over your legs in the aisle.

Why can't we all just get along and respect each other….leg room is not a minor inconvenience….it is a necessity for someone…but, thank you for being a civilized person and considering the person behind you…NOT!


owen April 13, 2010 at 9:54 am

now I do think it's a bit rude to just slam your seat back esp. when there's refreshments & stuff. whenever I recline I do it gradually so as not to slam somebody's knee or spill their drink…..


bobbert June 19, 2010 at 4:39 pm

you recline your seat on 5 hour flights i recline mine on 2 and half hour flights. if it bothers you tough. you can live without an extra inch of leg room for less than a day.


seatreclinersarescum December 23, 2011 at 2:43 pm

People who recline their seats on 2 1/2 hour flights are fucking scum. If you recline your seat and infringe my (already limited) space, don’t blame me if I need to shift around every 2-3 minutes to get comfortable, and if in doing so I accidentally bump your seat… hard. It’s my right!


Pat May 18, 2010 at 3:56 am

logger: your words wow !!!

what a nice person you are


Jaci May 18, 2010 at 6:21 am

Logger's words may be a bit crude, but very true, in some respects. Me, I just drive instead of flying, due to me turning into a MONSTER bitch when I'm dealing with the airlines. I'm also an obese woman, but have been addressing that issue with eating better and exercising more, and at least I'm no longer MORBIDLY obese!

-A shrinking fattie (40 pounds gone so far!)


Laura May 18, 2010 at 4:39 pm

40 lbs, nice. I want to lose 40 lbs but I'm lazy.

I always wonder about all the people who parade around saying they have X disorder or X phobia or X condition. Seems there's a Medical Diagnosis for everything these days.


bobbert June 19, 2010 at 4:32 pm

if i was your husband and they started insulting me i would have put my seat all the back just to annoy her. i know that wouldn't be a nice thing to do but honestly im not going to put some rude fat stranger and her families comfort before mine. i know that its selfish but i honestly don't give a flying water rats fur corvered left asscheek.


Jim June 20, 2010 at 5:56 am

Wow you are a big man…you exert yourself over your seat, and your one inch of incline to your seat…..

You must have something to prove…or, some other shortcoming…if this is the way you choose to exert your manliness.

I feel sorry for your wife.


itipbutihateit December 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

No fucking way is that douchbag married.


frequentflyer December 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Your husband put his seat back even though he knew she was claustrophobic? What a prince.


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