Head Case Harangues Passenger

September 7, 2010

in Passenger Stories

My husband and I were flying nonstop JFK to SFO on a wide body with a 3-4-3 configuration. Because of our frequent flier statuses, we were able to get exit row seats at the front of coach, to the side and by the bulkhead. Our row had only two seats in it because of the exit door. The row directly behind ours had three seats, and the person in that row with the window seat had extra leg room because of the exit door.

I was in the seat closest to the door and was exhausted, so I was leaning into my husband’s lap as best I could trying to sleep. I kept on getting woken up every 30-45 minutes, however. The first three times, I managed to go right back to sleep without figuring out what was going on. The fourth time, I woke up a bit longer and realized what was happening. There was a couple in the row behind us – the husband was sitting in the window seat and the wife in the middle seat. She kept on getting up to use the restroom, and Every Single Time, she decided to climb over her husband and then us instead of climbing over the person in the aisle seat.

The fifth time that she climbed over us, she woke me up on her way out and I gave up trying to sleep for a while and straightened up. As she came back, she muttered (for the first time, I later found out) a “sorry” in our general direction. My husband had long since reached his limits at this point and shot her a dirty look. And this is where the fun started.

She loudly started to harangue him for “not respecting her” and being rude to her for not accepting her apology. She went on and on and on. I completely gave up on sleeping and sat there groggy and stupefied. After a few minutes of this, my husband pointed out that she had climbed over us five times instead of going the other way and wasn’t really due much respect for the way she was behaving. She then tried to enlist her husband, who started jumping in from time to time to try to “support her,” but it seemed his heart wasn’t in it. I just stayed silent because my husband was handling himself pretty well, not saying much and not rising to the bait, and I was tired and grouchy enough that anything I said was only going to escalate matters.

The best part was when she accused my husband of being racist. She was Asian – but so is my husband. Her husband and I were/are both Caucasian, so I had no idea how this was supposed to cut. Based on the dumbfounded looks on her husband’s face and on the faces in the rows around us (she had an audience at this point), no one else was sure about how to take this particular gem either.

She kept going for at least 45 minutes until the flight started descending and the flight attendant strapped into the jump seat right in front of us. Then she did a 180, ignored us, and instead started being saccharine sweet to the flight attendant who had witnessed part of what was going on, and had a studiously distant I’m-not-getting-involved-in-any-of-this-mess look on her face.

As we deplaned, she started up again and continued trying to keep pace with us in the terminal for another hundred feet, still yammering at my husband who had long since been ignoring her completely. Finally, she looked at me and asked if I wasn’t ashamed of him. That was it. I unloaded for about 30 seconds about how I was extremely proud of how well he had restrained himself in dealing with such a difficult, unhappy and unstable person, that I would never have been able to react as calmly as he had, and that I hoped she sought the psychiatric help that she so obviously needed. As we walked on, she finally disengaged.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

paul September 8, 2010 at 5:56 am

If I understand this correctly.she was climbing over the seat in front of her with you and husband still sitting?. That would of never happened if I were there….and I wonder how you could let his happen to yourselves…would of told the person right away to screw off and get a brain and start using some common sense Something like that to happen doesn't make sense……… sounds so out of the realm its got to be B/S


Karl September 8, 2010 at 11:11 am

Don't you people have more important things to acomplish in your live then to make up some idiotic stories as this one?


jonasgal August 21, 2016 at 6:01 pm

How do you know it was "made up" and not real?!!?


rerere September 9, 2010 at 9:55 am

Don't you have anything better to do than to comment about how idiotic someone has been!


paul September 9, 2010 at 11:59 am

Same thing can be asked of you………..


rerere September 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Uhh, Gregg, paul, everyone, I've been hacked. I didn't right that, nor did I read the story or comments yet.


Gregg - admin September 9, 2010 at 2:29 pm

You're correct rerere; the imposter's IP address is different than yours. I'll place a ban on the imposter if he/she posts under your name again.


rerere September 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm



Demotage September 10, 2010 at 7:43 am

This story is totally plausible! The poster has correctly described the seating configuration near the forward exit doors of a 757. What is so unbelieveable about the fact that some people could be inconsiderate as to go around the seats in front, rather that over the person sitting on the aisle? I sit in that seat, the one without a seat in front of it, quite commonly. It's the best coach seat on the plane, except that the person in the middle next to me often seems to think that it's easier to climb over me and then in from of the bulkhead seats in front, instead of asking the person on the aisle to get up. It happens all the time.


Amelia Kelly March 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Correct. The OP states the row behind theirs was missing the 'A' (or window) seat, as is common next to exit rows. I fly on an aircraft type with this configuration and see passengers do this all the time. If they were considerate, they would alternate going via the missing window seat and going over the person in the aisle…


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