Flustered by Farts in the Face

October 14, 2014

in Senior Stories

This had to be one of the worst few minutes of flying that I have ever endured. My story began as I was taking a flight from Paris, France to Athens, Greece with Air France. The flight was supposed to take around 3 to 3.5 hours. And for most of that time it was just fine, save for a 10 minute stretch of pure hell. And I mean pure hell.

My parents and I were vacationing in Athens for a few days in October, this right after the 2004 Athens Olympics had completed. I was looking forward to the trip as I had never been to Greece before.

We arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport, which to some can be the equivalent of an airport-themed labyrinth. Luckily for us, we had been through there many times, and had no problem getting checked in despite there being only one open desk for check-in for our particular flight.

Bags were checked, boarding passes received and security navigated. We got to the gate and the plane was already there. From what I remember, it was an A320 or A321. Looking at our passes, we were booked for somewhere in the back of the plane, and queued up to board the aircraft. Again, lucky for us it didn’t seem like it would be a full flight.

We board and I traverse to the back of the aircraft and find I’m in the last row of the plane, next to the galley and toilets. I’ve got the aisle seat, and my parents are booked in the row across from me in the aisle and middle seats. The plane boards and the doors close. A middle-aged French lady sits in the window seat to my left, and the middle seat is left open. Is there any better feeling than this when flying? My parents weren’t as lucky as an elderly gentleman sits in the window seat on their side.

Looking around the plane, it seemed to be about 2/3 to 3/4 full. A scattering of empty seats, but definitely wasn’t empty. The usual pre-flight sequence of events occurs… doors close, flight attendants perform the safety briefing, plane taxis onto the runway. We take off and are underway to Athens.

About an hour into the flight, when the crew is getting ready to begin beverage and meal service, it seems like EVERYONE needs to get up and use the restroom. All at once. Since we were seated near the aft toilets, these were the only ones to use. Normally if I have to use the bathroom on a flight, I give a quick look before I decide to get up and go. But not today. It seemed like the entire flight decided to have a parade down the aisle to the restrooms. And despite people queuing up at the back of the plane, more people came! At this time, we’ve got at least 15 people standing around the back of the plane waiting to get in line. I would think this HAS to be some sort of violation and that the flight attendants would direct people to return to their seats, but nothing happens.

Now, the flight attendants need to leave the aft galley to begin beverage and meal service. Except they have a human conga-line to part before they can get the cart down the aisle. So instead of people returning to their seats and waiting, they decide to jump into nearby seats and wait it out there. A lady and old man force their way into my row, without asking or making any attempt at communicating their desires. I let them in, mostly because I didn’t have a second to form any sort of protest. I figured it would be only for a second anyways. Maybe they really have to go?

The lady stood in the vacant middle seat area, and the old man stood right in front of me, facing forward. I am not a big guy, and definitely did not take up all the legroom. But with someone occupying the seat, there was absolutely not enough room to leisurely stand there as they waited out the beverage cart. I had a front row seat (literally) to this old man’s hind quarters as he held onto the seat in front of me. I glued myself to the back of the chair… as far as I could go backwards, to try to separate myself from him as he stood. I moved my legs towards the middle seat as far as I could to give him some room to stand, because at this point there was no turning back.

Meanwhile, the flight attendants are kindly asking people to clear the way for the beverage cart. Some people are trying to do exactly what old-man-with-no-personal-space had done and invade a row, while others return to their seats to wait out the drink and meal service. And then, it happened.

The old man starts to rip off some pretty pungent farts. And these aren’t silent little farts, either. This man had some serious smelly flatulence. And I was in the perfect place to receive whatever he was giving away.

Simultaneously, the flight attendants are trying to start wheeling the beverage cart down the aisle. But of course, they are having troubles disengaging the safety “brake” that prevents the cart from wheeling on its own. They keep pushing on the foot pedal to release, but apparently it wouldn’t come free. I see all of this through teary eyes. I have refused to take a breath, attempting to deny my involuntary need to consume oxygen. I can feel the warm air from this old guy’s flatulence on my face and I am trying so hard not to gag, vomit or cough. My mother, who is in the aisle seat on the other side, is laughing with her hand covering her mouth. The lady in the middle seat, who is some sort of relative (daughter, I guess) of the old man, has her head in both her hands. She was aware of what had happened and was speechless.

I sat for several minutes in almost complete silence as the flight attendants finally removed something that was jamming the wheel lock, and are able to start rolling the cart down the aisle. In this time I managed a couple of choked breaths and luckily kept it together. I’m sure my face was some combination of green and blue.

As soon as the cart went by, the lady rushed the old man out of the aisle and into the gallery area. They were the two next in line for the restrooms. They both exited after visiting the restroom and walked back up the aisle to their seats.

In the meantime, the stench dissipated and I was able to take more regular breaths. My mother was still laughing; my dad was fast asleep. I was still in shock. I just got farted on. Who does that to someone else on a plane?

Later in the flight, the lady came to the back row of the aircraft and apologized to me for what had happened. She told me that her father (guessed right!) had been having some digestive issues and frequently needed to use the restroom. She was very apologetic for the next few minutes, offering to pay for headphones and some of the “extra” meal options to make up for what had happened. I politely declined her offers, saying that I understood and not to worry about it. I’m sure she had her hands full anyways.

The rest of the flight was fine. We landed without issue, and the woman and old man went off after de-planing. But still, to this day, I get made fun of by my parents for being farted on in the last row of an Air France flight.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Diablo August 18, 2016 at 10:45 pm

Rest in peace your nose. It's dead now. Definitely dead.


Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post:

Next post: