My flight from hell occurred in November 2010. I was flying on EVA Air from Taipei to Los Angeles. EVA Airways is a wonderful airline to fly on and in some cases, more comfortable than some of the main US carriers. However, what was not so wonderful was an Asian family flying on that flight.
Everything from check-in, security, immigration and customs went smoothly. Boarding was another story all together. Getting onto the plane was fine, but getting to my seat was the beginning of a nightmare. When I got to my seat, there was another passenger already sitting there. My first thought was to check the row to make sure that there wasn’t a mistake, which there wasn’t. The passenger in my aisle seat had to go to their assigned seat. Since I did not know which language this passenger understood, I simply pointed the seat on my boarding stub to the row printed above. The woman took a look at my boarding pass and did not want to budge. I looked at her boarding pass and her seat was the middle section of the 3-3-3 configuration (Boeing 777-300ER). Despite my best efforts to communicate with her, she refused to sit in that seat and made a hand gesture that I sit there.
I called a flight attendant over and the attendant tried talking to her in both Mandarin and English. The passenger did not understand either one (I later learned that the family was from Vietnam based on their passports, so communication was futile). The flight attendant pointed the seat to her and she obliged. So, I sat in my aisle seat while she sat in the middle seat of the middle section (later asking a family member for the aisle seat). I thought the rest of the flight would be uneventful but no, it wasn’t.
Sometime during the flight, the two barely teen passengers next to me (window and middle) did something that I would find both annoying and gross. Both took off their shoes (fine, I see that a lot) and later took off their socks (uh-oh). The middle seat passenger started extending his feet to my leg room and onto my pants, as if he wanted extra leg room. I tolerated it up to a certain point, but could not when he started touching his feet with his hands and not washing them. Keep in mind that the floor of any airplane is dirty and is seldom cleaned with disinfectants. To make matters worst, when this passenger went to the lavatory, he was barefoot as well. How gross!
I tried tapping him on the shoulder to stop but he continued. Since he is from the same family as the female passenger above, I knew communicating by voice was useless. Therefore, I started pushing his legs and kept my shoe slightly above his feet when he intruded on my space. To me, it was one flight from hell since this passenger kept on insisting that my leg room was his space.
I spent most of the flight standing up and walking down the aisle as I wanted to be away from this disgusting passenger. When the flight was nearing Los Angeles, I filled out the US customs form (only for US passport holders) and the same family tried filling it out. While I was filling out mine, I noticed that this same passenger was looking at my passport with interest. I guess that was his first realization that I was an American national. Once the plane got to the gate, I was glad to get off the plane away from a family who knows nothing about hygiene.