Troubled Twins & Cranky Ass Clown

August 31, 2012

in Passenger Stories

Several weeks ago I took my 9-year-old daughter to Disney World for the first time. We flew from PHL to MIA with little difficulty, where we connected for what was supposed to be a 30-minute flight to Orlando.

It being summer vacation and our destination being the home of Mickey, the plane was naturally swamped with families. No worries, it’s what we expected and anyway, it’s only 30 minutes in the air. Boarding took ages, which, again, was to be expected when half the people on board have toddlers or strollers or ten tons of carry-ons. The standby list at the gate listed 24 people, so I was anticipating a packed house.

The plane had two rows of three seats across, and it was only my daughter and me in our traveling party, so I was surprised that when boarding seemed to be all said and done, the window seat next to my daughter was empty. But no, wait, here comes a blonde woman with twin girls, maybe about 4 years old, down the aisle, accompanied by a FA who directed her to put one of the girls in the window seat next to my daughter, and said that there were 2 other empty seats back further in the cabin, not together.

Well, these little girls were not having it. Neither wanted to be separated from their mother (I’m assuming) or each other, and were screaming and crying and squirming and not able to sit apart. As the other passengers are starting to grumble, 3 FAs are looking on benignly as these girls have a nuclear meltdown over the idea of being separated. I asked the woman if one of the girls would prefer the aisle seat so at least she could turn around and see her family, and that worked for all of about 10 seconds until she wiggled out under her seatbelt and ran screaming back to her sister.

By this time departure time had come and gone. I advised my daughter to grab her backpack and told one of the FAs that this woman and her girls could sit in our row, that my daughter and I would take the other seats open in the cabin.

“Oh, that’s so nice of you,” the FA said, and a few people in the seats around us actually applauded as the woman and her girls were able to seat themselves together as we moved further back.

Here’s where things got obnoxious. The two empty seats were a middle seat in row 32, and a window seat in row 33. I am a fairly robust girl, I am obviously overweight but I can fit in my seat with no problem and don’t encroach on anyone else’s space. A very large man with a sea lionesque moustache was seated at the window in 32, and he raised holy hell as I approached.

“You ain’t sitting here,” he said, pointing from me to the seat next to him. “You’re too big.”

Seeing as this gentleman outweighed me by at least 75 pounds, I was a bit confused and embarrassed because I had just given up our seat to a family with small kids and now my size was being bellowed across six aisles.

“I like my space,” the guy continued, “and I paid for this seat; you aren’t sitting next to me. There isn’t enough room for both of us.”

“Sir, really, I won’t be in your space,” I said, “and really, at this point I just think everyone wants to get to Orlando.”

“Amen!” shouted a woman behind me, and I looked to the FA for help.

The FA just shrugged and suggested that my daughter sit between this guy and the woman on the aisle, and that I climb over the grandmother and young grandson in the aisle behind them and into the window seat. Okay, sure, whatever, let’s just go. I knew that my daughter would have been more comfortable with the idea of sitting next to the little kid instead of this posturing walrus, but she was old enough to not complain and to amuse herself with SkyMall.

What seems like an eternity later, we finally get in the air. The guy in front of me keeps trying to twist around and shoot me dirty looks. Twenty-five minutes later we are landing in Orlando, but there is no gate ready for us. There is another plane getting ready to depart, and it will be maybe 10 minutes until we can taxi to the gate.

This guy started yelling a torrent of obscenities. My daughter turned around in her seat to look at me, and her face was scarlet, she was so embarrassed. The grandmotherly woman on the aisle seat in my row leaned forward to tell him that the plane is full of children and maybe he can relax, and he told her, very maturely, to “shut up.”

Before things could get out of hand, we taxied to the gate and this ass clown leaped to his feet and shoved his way up the aisle to the front of the plane. At this point I think most everyone was happy to let him put distance between himself and them.

On our way off the plane, the FA that had re-seated us thanked us again for giving up our seats, and apologized for the large man’s rudeness. It was much appreciated but unnecessary. After all, we were on our way to the happiest place on earth.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert September 1, 2012 at 11:51 am

Might be a good idea for you to shed a coupla pounds, too …. so you have the upper hand/are healthier/are thinner/are happier.


Abby September 3, 2012 at 10:03 am

Robert, I’m not sure why you are such an unhappy person that you feel the need to make such a comment, but I suggest you take a look at what made you say that. She’s clearly happy and healthy with who she is. I can’t say the same about you. I’d say she has the upper hand by being a kind and thoughtful human being.


@LROD319 November 8, 2012 at 11:36 am

Amen Abby. Some people just aren't happy unless they're trying to hurt other people's feelings. That's part of what wrong in this world. I get on here to read anecdotes about flights for some relaxation and can't understand why every single story has some jacka$$ being what they are. Do they really think they're making themselves intimidating by being a bully?


Aaron September 4, 2012 at 10:58 am

Robert should be banned from this site. What a jerk!


louis September 5, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Robert must have been the ass clown!


Andrea September 6, 2012 at 10:52 am

Why did that family not book seats together in the first place, anyway? It would seem like common sense for a parent to make sure she and her young kids would be sitting together. Not fair to impose on other people by making them move because of one's own lack of responsibility and foresight. If she had booked their seats together and then the airline for some reason split them up, shame on the airline. Think about this: if there were an emergency, having a family spread throughout the plane would create a huge safety issue–the parents would naturally be trying to get to their kids to get them out, most likely impeding the evacuation for everyone else by going against the flow of traffic. This is unacceptable. Families should make sure to book seats together, and airlines should make sure not to split them up.


James September 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Often times people book seats in advance, only to lose them. A missed connection, for example, will lose a seat. A changed aircraft may cause you to lose your seat reservation, and a US based airline may not even tell you that until when you check in.

Always use some form of online checkin in advance, if you want seats together, and try to get a direct flight.


@LROD319 November 8, 2012 at 11:37 am

I was under the impression that the family had been on standby and had to take what was left.


Gregg September 7, 2012 at 9:40 am

Speaking of twins, check out this recent twins on a plane news article: Parents of twins hand out sweets and ear plugs to placate plane passengers.


Hack September 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Poor wittle Gwegg… has to resort to replying to other people’s bitchy comments….


Patty October 21, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I don't believe she ever mentioned the airline and if it was Southwest, there are no seat assignments. I think she handled it great.


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