Child Upchucks on Mr. Cranky

November 23, 2013

in Baby & Kid Stories

Back in the 90’s my husband was an US airman stationed in Italy. We had been overseas for about a year, and were looking at about another four years in front of us. We decided that it was time to go back home for a visit.

We were flying with our then three year old son, and we told our travel agent that we wanted to sit together on our flights. She assured us that this was no problem, and we booked the flights from Venice to Rhode Island.

The first leg of our trip was Venice to Belgium, just a short flight. Unfortunately, we didn’t notice until we boarded the plane that our seats were not together at all. We had two seats in one row – an aisle seat and a window seat, and the other seat was a middle seat in the next row behind. We quickly decided to put the little guy in the window seat, and I would take the aisle seat, with my husband behind us in the middle seat. We kept our fingers crossed during boarding hoping that there would be no one in between us so my husband could sit with us.

Unfortunately, a middle-aged man approached and indicated that this was his seat. I asked him if he would mind switching seats with either me, my son, or my husband, but he simply glared at us and did not respond. I tried again in my best Italian. No response. My husband tried in French. Glares. I flagged down a flight attendant and asked her to help. She did. She spoke to him in French, and he responded to her. She translated that he paid for that particular seat and was not willing to move. We thanked her, and I nodded to the man that we understood and hoped to let it go. It was a short flight, what could go wrong?

As soon as we achieved cruising altitude and the seat belt sign was turned off, my son had to use the bathroom. Sorry Mister. The little guy has to go. The man in the middle seemed quite annoyed. When we returned from the lav, it only took a few minutes before my son put down his crayons and turned to me. “Mommy, I have to spit!” Sure enough, he was pale and looked unwell. I frantically searched for a barf bag, but there wasn’t any in the seat pockets. My husband passed one up from behind, and I leaned across Mr. Cranky to reach my son. My son did the same thing and promptly vomited all over Mr. Cranky. Horrified, my three year old son apologized profusely while continuing to puke, this time missing the barf bag and ending up vomiting on his own arm.

A FA rushed over with wet towels and napkins, and Mr. Cranky turned green as he attempted to clean himself up. He then sprang from his seat and demanded in perfect English that my husband trade him seats, as his was now wet with vomit. My husband refused, citing that he had paid for that particular seat and was not going to switch for him when he could have avoided this in the beginning. Mr. Cranky then turned to me and demanded to sit in my seat. I politely declined. He then spent the remainder of the flight in the lavatory until the plane was prepared for landing and the FAs made him return to his seat.

Once we landed, we headed straight for the bathrooms and I cleaned my son up. The poor little guy continued to apologize for “spitting on the man.”

The next leg of our flight was from Belgium to Dulles (as far as memory serves). This time we were seated together, but unfortunately we were right at the end of the non-smoking section. Back in those days smoking was permitted on international flights not originating in the US. Being non-smokers, we were not happy about this. I was especially not happy because I was pregnant. However, we recognized that it would be rude to insist that others accommodate our wishes, and as long as no one was breaking any rules I could not justify complaining.

We tried to sleep, but the three young gentlemen behind us were having a lovely cocktail party. At one point my husband turned around and made eye contact, a very subtle way of letting someone know they are annoying you without being pushy. One of the men said, “Sorry man, are we loud?” and bought us both a beer. We thanked him, but being pregnant, I did not drink mine. My husband drank them both, and then felt relaxed enough to go to sleep.

The young men behind us did quiet down, but continued smoking. I realized that it was my turn to vomit, so I made a beeline for the lav. I vomited a couple more times during the flight, and while my son now felt fine, I was miserable.

– Jen

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

James November 24, 2013 at 1:27 pm

I am glad smoking is banned from planes. Perhaps the worst was Ansett Australia, when I flew them in 1986, it wasn't row numbers, it was which side of the aisle… the cabin was filled with smoke.

THAT was a flight from hell.


Gregg November 24, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Here's a story about smoking on airplanes that you might find to be of interest James:


Alex December 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm

🙁 I miss ansett and their shenanigans


Trixi November 25, 2013 at 6:40 pm

I think Mr, Cranky had the flight from hell.


Rich November 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Well, lets see. He refuses to communicate even though he spoke both languages being used and refused reasonable offers to move seats. He could even have kept his coveted (?) middle seat by switching with the Dad. He could also have attempted to offer help when it was obvious the child was in distress even if it was just to pass the barf bag over. I'd say he got what he asked for.


tollbaby February 5, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Yuck. Sounds like that was an uncomfortable trip for all three of you. I find being sick distressing enough in the comfort of my own home. I couldn't imagine doing it on a plane 🙁 Poor you!


Dannielle March 6, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Poor baby being sick and then feeling guilty about puking on the a-hole. I love your responses to him though. That is priceless, you reap what you sough. He was just being difficult and he deserved what he got. Rich I think you said it perfectly.


Dannielle March 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Oops You reap what you sow*


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