Seatmate Invades Personal Space

March 18, 2014

in Passenger Stories

I am one of those travelers that always tries to book a window or aisle seat in advance or I arrive early to request it. With the first flight it was no issue, but unfortunately the second was fully booked with the only seats remaining being the middle seat in the middle row.

My first flight from Bangkok to Tokyo was amazing; the gentleman who sat beside me was great and the service was really friendly. After a short layover, I boarded my second flight to YVR and was pleasantly surprised to find that I was sitting between a seemingly nice older man and a woman. I even held hope that I would be able to get a little sleep.

As soon as the plane finished boarding I noticed the man to my left was leaning into my seat by 4 inches and that he had a rather strong odor. I ignored it; honestly in the middle seat I don’t really expect an armrest never mind the full seat.

As soon as service started it got worse. The man ate with his elbows extended horizontally out, and though I don’t think he intended to, hit me repeatedly in the ribs, arm and head. I asked politely if he could stop doing that and received no response. After two more attempts I gave up and tried again to relax. Barely had the dinner trays been removed than he was back to bleeding into my seat complete with elbow pushing into my side as well as picking up anything I left on my tray to inspect.

When the FA came to help someone else I asked if they could just get him to move a bit, which they did. I don’t think he actually understood why they moved him; it didn’t matter anyways as 2 minutes go by and he is back to leaning on me.

My final straw was when he fell asleep and his head started to go towards my chest. I asked the FA to move him again and then spent the remainder of my flight nudging him each time he invaded too far into the seat. The FAs on all the JAL flights were great and this was no exception; they checked back several times on both of us.

By the end of the 9 hour flight I was exhausted and so was he. While I understand these flights are packing us in tight, I have reached the point where I refuse to give up more of the space that I paid for than is reasonable.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Seasoned Traveler April 9, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Your problem began when you did not plan in advance and get an aisle seat assignment. I cannot understand why anyone would put themselves through that torture on a long flight. It is also torture to those of us who are in the aisle or window seats. If only middle seats are available, reschedule your flight to one that has aisle or window seats available.

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Getbacktooursense April 13, 2014 at 4:01 am

The biggest problem these days is that airlines are constantly seeking to maximize their profits and one of the ways is to herd more of use into a tin can of a plane. the seats have reduced in size, basically forcing each of us on top of the other. I recently read about Airbus's strategy of enlarging the seats in their new plane construction. I hope that idea takes and we can get back to a comfortable and space friendly environment. we need to become more demanding in the services we pay for.
But then again, the jerk could have just been trying to cup a feel.

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