Why do some individuals believe that following rules and having common sense do not apply to them when they are on an airplane? Passengers recount the most arrogant behaviors they’ve witnessed in fellow travelers. Content has been edited for clarity.
Assigned Seating Gone Wrong
“A couple of months ago, I had a flight. I had booked a window seat in the next-to-last row intentionally because I have a strong preference for window seats, regardless of the row.
As I settled into my seat, a man and a woman with a small baby stood in the aisle nearby. The woman explained to me that her companion was assigned to the seat next to mine, while she and the baby were assigned to the row behind. She asked if I would be willing to switch seats so that her baby could be with his father. While I didn’t mind switching, the catch was that I would end up in the middle seat in the last row. I wasn’t willing to endure a middle seat between two strangers for the duration of the flight. I politely explained that I would gladly switch if they had a window seat or even an aisle, but I couldn’t sit in the middle. This didn’t sit well with the woman, and she began to express her dissatisfaction to a flight attendant nearby. I chose to ignore her and went about my business.
A few moments later, they approached a non-English-speaking passenger, causing considerable confusion by repeatedly asking about seat-switching. Eventually, the confused passenger simply moved to wherever they directed him, enabling the couple to sit together. The flight attendant rewarded him with complimentary drinks and snacks, remarking that he was ‘the only one who offered to do that for them’ while giving me a pointed look.
To be clear, my refusal to switch seats was not driven by stubbornness but by my discomfort with the prospect of a 4-hour flight in a middle seat. Had they not been requesting a middle seat, I would have readily agreed to switch. Additionally, it seemed that the couple didn’t give the non-English-speaking passenger much of a choice, leaving him perplexed about the situation. In conclusion, I found the woman’s behavior to be unpleasant, and I couldn’t help but feel frustrated by the flight attendant’s stance in favor of the couple.”
The Pizza Guy
“I was on a flight from NYC to PDX. The only empty seat was next to me, a middle seat. Bulkhead but the kind where there isn’t a wall, just the first-class seats in front of us.
The door is about to close when a large sweaty man comes running onto the plane to claim the empty seat. He was carrying a full-size pizza box…
All overhead bins were already closed (and full) but that didn’t stop him from proceeding to open them to find a place to stash his pizza. The stewardess kindly informed him that he couldn’t put his pizza in an overhead bin. ‘
But it’ll get stepped on!’ he gruffly informs her.
She proceeded to tell him to take his seat and put the pizza in front of him. He told her that he flies with pizza all the time and has never been treated this way. He persisted but as their argument was getting pretty heated he finally succumbed and put the pizza under the seat in front of him and sat down.
The stewardesses have now started the safety video/demonstration and he pulls out a flip phone and proceeds to make a call. I can tell he’s going through menus, so I think he’s calling Delta to complain.
Nope, turns out to be his landline phone company. He had been late paying his bill and was trying to get them to waive the late fee. They wouldn’t. He is arguing with them. The plane has pushed back from the gate and is headed toward the runway at this point.
The stewardess comes over and tells him he needs to put his phone away NOW.
He motions with his hand to say ‘one minute’.
‘No, sir, it needs to be put away NOW.’
He flips it shut dramatically mid-sentence and puts it in his pocket. The stewardess is back to the front of the plane. He then decides to stretch. I’m pretty much plastered to the wall trying to stay out of his way as he extends his arms up, and then to the side, etc., and then twists in his seat back and forth, clearly agitated.
He then extends his arms up, stretches out his fingers, and proceeds to crack his knuckles very expressively one at a time. In that whole knuckle-cracking process he flips a middle finger toward the flight attendant. I didn’t notice her reaction as I was just waiting to get this 6-hour flight underway and over with.
Next thing I know, I can tell we’re pulling back into the gate. ‘Flight attendants prepare for arrival and cross check’ message comes on, while the cockpit door opens.
Captain comes to our row. ‘Sir, I understand you were harassing my flight attendant. I need you to leave the plane now.’
The pizza man attempted to argue and even asked me and the other neighboring passenger if we had witnessed anything. Clearly, the pilot wasn’t budging on his decision so the guy got his pizza off the floor and left the plane. The door closed and we departed, an empty seat next to me.”
“Do You Know Who I Am?”
“A fellow passenger across the aisle pretty much thought he was flying private instead of being on a commercial carrier. Always pressing the overhead button and making demands with no ‘pleases’ or ‘thank you’, just a constant barrage of orders.
The end came when he pressed the button and shouted, ‘Get me a drink now! I want a scotch with a splash of soda and not too much ice!’
The FA was very accommodating in spite of this person being a total jerk. She brings the drink, hands it to him and he bellows, ‘There is too much f*cking ice in this drink make me another!’
She was dumbfounded and at this point very flustered. She turned around and headed to the galley at the front of the plane. The lead FA comes back and proceeds to tell this ‘man’ that he needs to behave etc…
Well, that just made him amp it up. Wait for it….’Do you know who I am?! I am a very good long-time friend of Mr. X…you know him, one of the executives at your f*cking airline. He’s a personal friend whom I’ve known for years. Give me your name and the name of the idiot who can’t make a decent scotch and soda!’
I chime in at this point. ‘Sir, if Mr. X is a long-time personal friend, what is his nickname? His very good friends address him by his nickname, not his surname.’
He looks perplexed and then tells me to ‘mind my f*cking business.’
The FA tells me very nicely to not involve myself and she will handle this.
He says, ‘Your damn right you’d better handle this.’
I reached into my wallet and pulled out a picture taken on my wedding day that had me in my suit….the new wife in her wedding dress…and my new in-laws, one of whom is Mr. X. I handed it to the FA, and said that I will call the office when we land and let him know that one of his very good friends is dropping his name and treating members of the flight crew in a very unprofessional manner.
‘Sir, may I have your name so I can tell my father-in-law that you are going to make a formal complaint against members of the cabin crew?’
Crickets…nay but a peep. The lead FA hands me back my picture and tells the guy if he touches the button again or even speaks to any of the FAs, the police will be waiting for him when we land.
I called the father-in-law after we landed to fill him in, just in case. I found out much later that he pulled the passenger manifest and wrote the guy a letter banning him from traveling on the airline.”