Airline Seatmates From Hell: One Man’s Story

Hot off of blogger/travel writer Kelsey Timmerman’s Twitter comes his shocking account of nearly getting thrown down by an “octegenarian” seatmate.

Timmerman, who states he never reclines his seat during flights out of deference to fellow passengers, apparently shifted his weight a tad too violently, provoking the elderly gentleman behind him to take action. After jabbing Timmerman in the arm and informing him that he was “hitting” the gentleman in question’s laptop, Timmerman politely explained that he was just sitting there. The response? “I’ll kick your ass!”

The scene soon escalated to the octegenarian assaulting Timmerman in the form of violently punching the back of his seat and threatening to “kick [Timmerman’s] f–king ass” when the plane landed. A flight attendant then stepped in to defuse the potentially lethal seatmate situation (things can get ugly when catheters and Pacemakers malfunction at 30,000 feet). For his part, Timmerman was just hoping the cantankerous passenger would settle down, so the plane wouldn’t be forced to make an emergency landing.

Timmerman ended up with a sore neck and some sort of inner ear trauma, along with an epiphany. “Flying can be frustrating. Flying is frustrating. I’d rather be punched in the face than be delayed.”

We’d love to hear your worst seatmate stories (Mine involves an aggressive elbow/armrest war with an elderly Chinese woman on an overseas flight that led to her sleeping on the floor in front of her seat. I swear I didn’t hurt her, and the funniest part neither of us every uttered a single word.).

Discuss amongst yourselves, and share.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Olivier.Asselin]

Federal judge will decide on your right to relax, not airlines

Nobody likes it when the passenger in front of him reclines. I can’t fathom any circumstance in which having the person’s seatback on your lap is enjoyable. I have numerous tactics I use to prevent the person in front of me from reclining, and I suspect I’m not alone (in fairness to the person behind me, I rarely recline, and if I do, it’s never more than half way).

So, when you drive your knees into the seatback in front of you, are you being an unreasonable and impolite … or are you depriving the passenger in front of you of his right to recline?

It looks like the answer will come from the U.S. District Court of Colorado.

On an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Denver, two passengers got into a rather heated argument over this right (or privilege) to recline. CNN reports:

As Brian Dougal leaned back on the Denver-bound flight late last month, he felt someone bump his seat, according to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Colorado.

“Are you serious? My knees are up against the seat,” said the man behind him, identified as Tomislav Zelenovic, according to the complaint.

Dougal suggested that Zelenovic also recline, slide into an empty seat next to him or move his legs to the side. Dougal told the man in 10C that he paid for his seat and was going to recline it.

Zelenovic then shook the back of Dougal’s seat and grabbed his right ear, pulling it back and down with enough force to knock Dougal’s glasses off his face, according to the complaint.

Okay, that is hard core. The cops were waiting for Zelenovic on the ground, and he was charged with assault (he’s pleading not guilty).

Yeah, this behavior is nothing short of absurd, but it does speak to the fundamental issue of whether we should (or should) be able to recline. Frankly, this debacle makes Michael O’Leary look like a genius. After all, you can’t recline if you can’t even sit down, right?

Hey, how do you feel about reclining? Drop a comment below to share your thoughts.

[photo by Andrew Mason via Flickr]

Airborne booze fueling Brit air rage to new heights

It isn’t really a stereotype if it is true – and the stereotype that British air passengers are a bunch of drunken hooligans doesn’t really sound untrue when you read the latest statistics.

In the past 12 months, in-air rage incidents on UK carriers rose 30 percent, and alcohol played a very important part. Almost 3,500 incidents were recorded as “significant”, and 44 were “serious”.

Incidents varied from smoking, to acts of violence. Of the 44 serious incidents, 29 of them involved passengers being restrained, and in 13 incidents, the plane had to be diverted.

37% of the incidents were booze fueled and men are involved 73 percent of the time. The figures are pretty bad, but the chance of being involved in an air-rage incident in a UK carrier is still just one in 24,000.

Once again, it raises the question what is more important to airlines and airports – passenger safety, or making money off alcohol sales?