This peculiar although hilarious incident happened recently onboard an eight and a half hour flight from London to Orlando with myself, step-mother, father and younger sister (aged 10).
We were seated in the back row which wasn’t much fun. We were the last to get our food, had to deal with people standing next to our row of seats to queue for the toilets, the toilet smelled about 1-2 hours after meals were served (aeroplane food really must go through people!), and the doors constantly slammed. Not too much of an issue; flights in economy class are never brilliant no matter where you sit, so we made the best of it.
What was bizarre though was that a couple of hours into the flight an older gentleman got up and stood at the area between my father’s seat and the emergency exit - we were in a row of four seats in the centre – and as we were the last row we had gaps either side of us rather than side seats. He then proceeded to partake in a series of flexibility exercises. At first we thought nothing of it. Everyone has the right to move about on planes, and the health suggestions generally recommend it.
However the exercises became increasingly strange, as if he was making them up as he went along. He would place his hands on his hips and do hip swivels, all standing unusually close to my father, with his crotch at eye level. He also turned around to do toe touches.
My father is very quiet and conservative and did his best to ignore it. Needless to say my sister and I were hysterical (me worse, bad considering I’m 9 years older). I actually had to get up and go into the area between the toilets to have a laughing fit. Which is another point. He chose to take part in these exercises in full view of us when there was a roomy private area just a few feet away secluded from view!
What made things worse was that he would maintain a strange sort of eye contact with me or my sister whenever we tried to hold in giggles, or with my stepmother when she stared confused at him (a polite, shy British way of hoping someone will realise they are bothering you). He merely stared her down.
Anyway he would continue his thigh raises and swirling his groin into my father’s face for about an hour at a time, before sitting for a while to return for another hour. Another older gentleman even came over to discuss the routine with him and told him how he was setting a great example and that he should probably be exercising with him! Fortunately he didn’t. I think being flanked on either side by such views might have been too much for my family.