How Not To Be That Person Everyone Hates On The Plane

Okay, let's start at the gate. We should really start a little bit before the gate, in the line going through airport security, but I'm going to give That Person Everyone Hates On The Plane the benefit of the doubt and assume that he or she hasn't watched the news or got on the Internet in the last five years, because that is the only excuse he or she has for trying to bring through that 10-oz bottle of Banana Boat sunscreen. And hey, PSA to That Person Everyone Hates On The Plane—henceforth to be known as TPEHOTP, or maybe just TP, because they're both (sorry about this) full of crap—but arguing with the TSA never got anyone anywhere. "But they let me do it in Tampa!" just ain't going to fly, my friend, and soon you won't be flying either. Believe it or not, "but they let me do it in Tampa" is exactly what I heard a fully-grown man shout last year at an airport security officer when a knife found in his pocket was summarily confiscated. (As a particularly classy touch, this happened on September 11th. Yeah, that September 11th.)

Once at the gate, the TPEHOTP exhibits his first symptoms of TPEHOTP-ness when he refuses to board with his correct group. "Hmmm," he thinks to himself. "They're calling group two, and my boarding pass clearly says I am in group three. What I am going to do, however, is I am going to pretend that I'm in group two. I am far more important than the rest of group three, and it is of paramount importance that I get on the plane immediately. Group three is basically group two anyway, right? Who's going to mind?"

This, by the way, is why your allotted space in the overhead baggage compartment is full when you finally get on the plane. TPEHOTP has got there before you and marked his territory. If TPEHOTP could have physically peed on that space in the overhead baggage compartment without running the risk of getting a little dribble on his Abercromie & Fitch button-down, TPEHOTP would have done this. TPEHOTP  always steals the baggage space above your seat. You can thank TPEHOTP next time you have to check your perfectly appropriately-sized carry-on, or—worse!—store it all the way in the back above 32F. TPEHOTP is basically the devil.

At least, I'm assuming this is the case, because it's the only reason I can think of to explain why TPEHOTP never attended that class called "How To Get Out Of Your Airline Seat Without Pulling On The Back Of Mine." Must have been too busy stoking the fires of hell that day or something. Armrests, people. You put your weight on your armrest. When I become President, this information is going to be in every seatback pocket around the world.

Speaking of armrests, here's what I consider to be the deal: the person on the window gets the window armrest. The person on the aisle gets the aisle armrest. The person in the middle seat, god love 'em, gets special dispensation to use both armrests, purely as a reward for taking one for the team. Do you agree? You do? Huh. TPEHOTP does not.

It goes without saying, of course, that TPEHOTP is a seat-kicker. He's also a gum snapper, a mouth breather, a silent farter, a nose picker, a deodorant eschewer, and the person who sighs loudly the minute a baby starts crying. (Babies, by the way, are never TPEHOTP, and neither are the baby's parents. The former is probably teething or something, and the latter looks way too tired and worried, and should instead be smiled at sympathetically and then bought a shot. Or a small plastic bottle of just-about-drinkable Chardonnay.)

I'm sure it comes as no surprise, but TPEHOTP is also into other things: reclining his seatback during the meal service, for instance, or giving you the special honor of listening to the bass line of his tinny music through his sub-par earphones. He has obnoxious conversations in the seat behind you at 3am on a redeye. He always has to be asked three times to power down his electronic device.

Oh, TPEHOTP. You've met him too, haven't you? What have I missed?

Nov 16, 2011

When I am President of Rules Regarding Air Travel, I will make a rule about the luggage carousel. Because while I do hate that guy on the plane, I have burning fury toward the people who stand with their knees touching the luggage carousel. Everyone in their family. And their luggage cart. AUGH. If we all took one giant step back (Simon says) then EVERYONE could see all of the luggage. You would see your bag coming, because you'd have a wide field of vision. And when you see yours, you can calmly step forward and grab it without knocking down 12 people in the process. Doesn't that make more sense?!?

Bailie Marie
Nov 16, 2011

I will add that the TPEHOTP is also the person that stands the minute the plane is one the ground and then is told to sit and then subsequently runs down any old lady on the plane, I do not think they know the plane is not leaving without everyone getting off.

Nov 16, 2011

TPEHOTP likes turning on his/her mobile phone mid-flight, "just to see". JUST TO SEE WHAT?!

Nov 16, 2011

No the parents can definitely be TP. When it's a 14+ hour flight and your baby SCREAMS the entire time and you never get out of your seat, or walk around or visit the toilets or change the baby etc. But only sit there with your headphones on, occasionally jostling the basinette in which your screaming baby is lying. Yes, you are most definitely TP.

I generally try to be ULTRA forgiving of parents and crying babies. But not those ones...

Luckily the flight was international so I just drank. A LOT.

Nov 16, 2011

@Bailie Marie - or he is they guy in the ailse seat when I am in the window seat who lets everyone in the plane get off before he lets me get my luggae from the overhead locker.

Everyone else is happy to exit row by row, why am I stuck here!

Pretzel Thief
Nov 16, 2011

Bahahah! Oh Holly, why do you kicketh ass so?

Props, also, to everyone in the comments for making me laugh. Laughs are needed on a Wednesday night (yes, 'tis Wed night here in Melbourne, Oz).

I loathe TPEHOTOP and would like to kick him (it?) in the shin. There, I've said it!

Nov 16, 2011

You have successfully described every single flight I've taken & the worst part is they have been long haul flights. 24 hours next to one of these people is enough to drive you to drink.............oh wait TPEHOTP has beaten you to it just in time for lights out!
Why are they everywhere?!!

Nov 16, 2011

I have to agree with Bailie Maire - TPEHOTP is the person whose seatbelt you can hear unbuckling the second the plane hits the ground. Because a buckled seatbelt is clearly a sign of weak character and you wouldn't want to be seen with one as the plane taxies.
TPEHOTP is also the one still in conversation on their phone as you are about to lift off. Because he hides his still switched on phone next to his thigh when the flight attended walks around to check. Like a 5-year-old.

Pretzel Thief
Nov 16, 2011

"TPEHOTOP" = dammit! Apologies for this maddening typo. D'oh!

Nov 16, 2011

The TPEHOTP that make me homicidal??

"Laz-e-Boy",the person who must leave their seat reclined at all times, effectively pinning the person behind them in their seat. They often throw themselves into the reclining position, forcing the person behind them to wear their beverage. Then there's "the Jiggler". That's that person who can't sit still no matter what. If you get one in your row, you'll quite possibly suffer flashbacks to a wild youth that may or may not have involved quarters, cheap motels and magic fingers. If they're in front of you, you'll quite possibly exit the plane with a slight limp due to kneecap dislocation. Last but not least is "the Mules". The mules can be spotted in the security line. They are easily identified by a literal pile of carry on bags. I find them to be equally split between "too cheap to pay baggage fees" and "my stuff is way too valuable" to check. Many of them are families, who saddle small children with giant backpacks filled with more toys and games then most children could play with in a week. They're also the people at the gate taking up twice as many chairs as they need...

Charissa Steyn
Nov 16, 2011

hehe :) Had to laugh at this just had an 11 hour flight a few days of my fave things to do is watching these kinds of folk! Although they are annoying they are super hilarious!! They make flying such an adventure ;)

Nov 16, 2011

I'd add that anyone who reclines their seat, particularly on a domestic flight, is also TPEHOTP, because there is no room for that anymore! And the person who still reclines, causing bodily harm, after being asked nicely by the 6ft+ person in the seat behind them, because it is TPEHOTP's airline given right to be able to recline? That person? Deserves whatever they get.

Nov 16, 2011

Oh! Ladyloo, that is EXACTLY why I was logging on to comment. My poor, long suffering husband is 6'7', and even though he always gets the aisle seat, he does need to tuck his knees in to avoid, you know, other people and the beverage cart and such. TPEHOTP--really? A two-hour flight to Phoenix is just SO exhausting you need to immediately drop that seat back as far as it goes?
Also, in my observation, TPEHOTP is the person whose genitalia is apparently SO BIG, he must sit with his legs wiiiide apart, causing the people on either side to either cringe away or endure awkward thigh rubbing for the entire flight. TPEHOPT also carries a ridiculously large laptop, and will whip that sucker out to play Minesweeper as soon as possible, annexing everyone's tray in the process.

Nov 16, 2011

My last flight I was on the woman beside me had a diabetic attack, then spent the rest of the flight throwing up into everyone's airsick bags. (Really. We had to start collect them from other rows.) Her husband kept apologizing to me. I didn't understand why he was saying sorry to ME. It was nice, but really, I just felt bad for her.

And I'd rather sit next to her than TPEHOTP. Any day!

Nov 16, 2011

How about when they push the flight attendant button because "they need more water"?

Denise V.
Nov 16, 2011

How about the parents of young kids who bring the loudest, most obnoxious toys they own for the plane ride and NEVER have headphones for the portable DVD player. No no no!!! You must give them headphones for those things or you are TPEHOTP straight away.

Nov 16, 2011

You forgot to mention that TPEHOTP's "carryon" bag is the size of a beluga whale and yet he still insists on carrying it on the plane and shoving it in the oversize bin while you shoot daggers from the "bag must fit into this size" exhibit to the back of his head, willing him to understand that there are RULES here that must be followed.

Nov 16, 2011

The last time I flew, there was a large lady in a patterned shirt who was carrying three bags on to the plane. (Two of them were Vera Bradley bags. Do you guys know the type of lady I am talking about here?)

I had my suitcase and my breast pump, which counted as my second item. I was going away for the weekend. And yet I managed to get all of my items, including my breast pump parts (and, on the way home, my pumped milk), into two bags. BECAUSE THAT IS THE RULE. I was filled with rage at her and her slowness and at the flight attendants for not stopping her. I would like to nominate her for TPEHOTP.

Nov 16, 2011

(TPEHOTP's slowness is because THREE BAGS are really weighing her down.)

Anna Louisa
Nov 16, 2011

I had one of the last offenders you mentioned (the bass pumping out of the crappy headphones) next to me on a red-eye from San Diego to D.C. last month. I alternated between wanting to cry and wanting to hit him...and of course did neither. I'd like to blame my work productivity the next day on that TPEHOTP :)

Nov 16, 2011

TP will also fall asleep, on you, in your personal space, and won't wake up when you need to get out and use the rest room. ESPECIALLY ON AN INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT.

Nov 16, 2011

TPEHOTP stands in the aisle during boarding, bargaining with flight attendants and other passengers in order to somehow relocate the baggage already in overhead compartments in order to make room for his bag, which cannot possibly fly anywhere other than directly over his head. TREHOTP refuses to believe that his bag is too large for any overhead space he may see, and TPEHOTP has no problem calling out: WHOSE GREEN BAG IS THIS IS THIS YOUR BAG CAN I MOVE YOUR BAG WHOSE BAG IS THIS? because his luggage is far, far more important than anyone elses luggage. TREHOTP also pretends he did not notice his seat was fully reclined as the plane prepared for takeoff.

Nov 16, 2011

1. The TP drinks alcohol and takes sedatives on an international flight resulting in an emergency medical situation in the middle of the night.

2. When there are 2 TPs together, particularly about the same age as your parents, they make you feel very uncomfortable in your window seat when they ask for a blanket from the flight attendant, throw it over their heads and start giggling and making out next to you as if the cheap thin blanket were some kind of invisibility cloak. On an international flight. And the plane hasn't even taken off yet.

Nov 16, 2011

My husband is one of the sleeper TPEHOTPs, and I seethe at him on every flight. Although he does not take up anyone else's personal space, nor does he put his chair back, he still manages to annoy with his open-mouthed sleeping style. He travels a lot for work, and so I hereby formally apologize in advance to other travelers for the cute guy from Milwaukee who may be sleeping next to you on future flights.

Nov 16, 2011

As a flight attendant, I hereby proclaim that this shall be a mandatory read before anyone can even print their boarding pass. Not one like the "terms and conditions" which everyone scrolls through and says they've read. More like it will be read out loud book-on-tape style by Angela Lansbury and you shall not be able to click "continue" until it finishes and there is a verbal agreement.

Thank you.

It's hard to remember that we have sane passengers, because TPEHOTP ruins it for everyone.

Nov 16, 2011

I've also had the guy who want stop talking to you about why he loves pot so much (so much he smoked a bowl before heading to the airport) even after you try reading, putting in your headphones and feigning sleep.

And the lady who loudly starts a conversation with the person next to her (who clearly does not want to talk) about how she has premonitions and totally saw Kim Kardashian's divorce coming, and how sometimes she has premonitions of being in a plane crash, but hey, it's probably not this flight, right?

Nov 16, 2011

TPEHOTP refuses to take their book, snacks, head phones, travel books, map of destination city, etc. out of their inappropriately sized carry-on before the flight takes off. Instead the TPEHOTP takes each item out of their inappropriately sized carry-on which is hogging up an entire overhead bin one at a time at 4-5 minute intervals throughout the duration of the 8 hour flight.

Camels & Chocolate
Nov 16, 2011

Pulling on the armrest is THE WORST. And TPEHOTP always acts so nonchalant when he performs this act, as if HIS pulling on YOUR seat means you obviously don't feel a thing. Bollocks.

Nov 16, 2011

All of these pale in comparison to the chronic stealth plane farter.


On my flight a few weeks ago, the dude next to me took off his shoes and socks, picked the lint out from between his toes, and then sat cross-legged with his foot sticking out into the middle of the aisle. He was really tall, so his foot was basically four inches from my shoulder.

He also kept standing up and walking around, so no one else could get through the aisle. And! At one point he decided to crumple up his entire newspaper, piece by piece, as loudly as humanly possible.

Nov 16, 2011

TPEHOTP jumps up when the plane reaches the gate and tries to sneak up a few aisles before everyone else stands up. Each row has to wait their turn, TPEHOTP!

Nov 16, 2011

Guys, these comments are killing me -- you are all DEAD ON.

Laura B.
Nov 16, 2011

TPEHOTP is the person who likes to stick they're foot around the seat divider into your under the seat legroom because his legs are just 'too long.' Sorry buddy, I paid for the same amount of leg space as you so stop with the awkward thigh touching and get out of my legroom space!

Also would like to second that TPEHOTP also tries to cut you off as you are getting off the plane. It goes row by row buddy. Just wait two more minutes and you too will be stuck at the luggage carousel like the rest of us!

Can't agree with you more that the middle seat gets both armrests! How does everyone not know this!?

Nov 16, 2011

TPEHOTP insists on personal grooming in a confined and crowded space, ie: breaking out the nail clippers and DOING. WORK. Blowing one's nose often and voraciously, and then going after any hangers.

It is sometimes surprising who the TPEHOTP crowd is. I was recently on a flight with a very nice looking older woman who came aboard with three bags (a roller board, a huge Vera Bradley monstrosity, and a "leather" purse that could have concealed a small child.) She stored her purse under the seat in front of her and then, since that was now full, proceeded to store her VB bag under the seat IN FRONT OF ME. Sure, don't mind me. I didn't have my feet there. She was guilty of several other of the TPEHOTP crimes (arm hogging, refusal to turn off phone, problems with the direction of the air vents ie: turning them towards me at full blast, silent farting, gabbing with her girlfriends across the aisle and a row ahead of her), but she started with bogarting my space.

Nov 16, 2011

i would like to add excessive perfume / cologne to the mix - ugh. gag me.

Nov 16, 2011

How has no one mentioned the drunkity drunk drunks? The ones who get completely hammered before the flight (usu. on the company dime) and then spend the flight slobbering and generally being loud, or worse, crying? Ack.
Of course, on the flight I took this weekend two old men (who didn't appear to know each other) started an argument that ended with one threatening to kill the other one (at top volume) right before take off. The delay while we waited for the police to come was awesome as was getting home well after mid-night on a work night.
Last rant, !2 items! - only one goes in the overheard people, the other should be stowed at your feet unless you have an empty flight, which never seems to happen anymore.

Nov 16, 2011

AH, I sat next to TPEHOTP on my flight back from England. She refused to put the armrest between us down and this was probably because she was comfortably taking up half of my seat (I was in the middle, joy). Then she proceeded to snore. the. whole. time. (Before the plane even took off mind you). THEN the flight attendent asked her if she wanted pretzels or peanuts and she rudely said "NO." then eyed my pretzels the entire time, pressed the flight attendant button and demanded that she get pretzels. Then, she played the quiz game on the touch tv, and everytime she'd get an answer wrong would let out a huge sigh and talk to herself.

She was fun.

Kate in Ohio
Nov 16, 2011

Kim wins, but the farters are a close second. Is there really such a thing as a mile high club? I just can't figure that one out.

Susan H.
Nov 16, 2011

Three weeks ago had a Carry-on Nazi flight attendant who demanded that those with more than 2 items consolidate them before boarding the plane--I wanted to hug her! THANK YOU for enforcing the rules that the rest of us adhere to religiously, only to be mocked by those carrying a laptop, a rollaboard, a shopping bag, and a purse, with their coat hanging over their arm. Grrr.....

Nov 16, 2011

I just need to confirm a rule here:

You are on a flight with four seats in the middle section (in this instance a Virgin Atlantic flight from London to SFO, just to give you an idea of how very long the flight is and how very narrow the seats are. Economy of course because I am a poor person) and one aisle seat is assigned to a stranger (me) and the other three are: father, son, unassigned do you...

Father and son sit next to each other right?! RIGHT?! They do not put the empty seat between them! I firmly believe the rule is that if you have a choice between crowding to a stranger and crowding to a family member or friend, then you get cozy with the person you know. Right?

It was especially awkward because the son was whatever the Belgian equivalent of Gomer Pyle-type is (so enormous and literally slack-jawed) and clearly had never touched a woman in ANY WAY so spent the entire flight twitched and adjusting. After about 10 hours of deep sighs and side-eyes, as we approached the city and the twitching got worse I finally snapped "OHMYGOD STOP MOVING!!".

And that middle seat stayed nice and wide open the whole time.

That trip was seriously worse than the flight from Tokyo to SFO where I had the flu (sorry fellow passengers, I didn't think it was that bad when I left Bangkok and it didn't seem like the business lounge in Tokyo was the best place to declare myself unfit to continue onwards) and the guy next to me was a backpacking douchebag who stole into Economy Plus, got drunk and got into a fight with the flight attendant. At least then I had sweat death to look forward to, or felt like it.

Nov 16, 2011

ATTN MIDDLE SEAT PEOPLE: You have a seat, stay the FUCK OUT OF MINE. Ok I give them the armrests but KEEP YOUR LEGS AND OTHER BODY STUFF OFFA ME.

And OMG the banging of me on my head as you go down the aisle with your oversized bag that I cannot for the life of me figure out how is legally allowed as carry on. I have a PURSE, it stows nicely above or below, I check my luggage. LOOK INTO IT.

I have to get on a plane in a week and LORD ALMIGHTY I am already cranky about it.

Nov 16, 2011

Mary-Lynn, you're absolutely right. Except as far as I'm concerned, the unassigned seat is a shared benefit of the people seated either side of it. So by my figuring your twitcher had rights to half the seat next to you, and the rest was all yours.

I used to get a spare seat next to me (whenever it was possible) as part of my frequent flyer plan and at one point I got so fed up with losing it to greedy PEHOTP that I told the couple (who should have been at the other end of my 5 seat row) that THIS was my spare seat, only one of the two spare seats between them was theirs, and would they move back to give me a little space on the 13 hour flight? Then I got grumpy that they'd made me be TPEHOTP.

And although it seems minor in the light of all these other travesties TPEHOTP is the one who leans on the seat in the last row before the lavatories while they're waiting in the queue. It's my seat, not a leaning post!

Venita Michelle
Nov 16, 2011

TPEHOTP, why oh why do you insist on bringing everything you own with you on the plane ride? Why do you assume a 2 hr flight is THE perfect time to manicure your nails, pluck your facial hair, or read a 10,000 page tome in full-size hardback print complete with a separate accompanying dictionary? Why do you need both a floor-length parka and an oversized snuggie? WE ARE NOT CAMPING OUT HERE! Do you really need an Ipad, Ipod, enormous laptop, Nook/Kindle, and cellphone with you? And furthermore, do you really need to have all of this superfluous crap out at the same time so the seat occupants next to you have to smoosh together to allow more room for your electronics ON A TWO HOUR FLIGHT?


Nov 16, 2011

Oh. OH! I hate TP. I hate when the flight is nearly over and the attendant comes the aisle to collect the rest of the trash and the drinks that have not been finished, and TP hasn't finished her wee little vodka and soda, and she doesn't understand why the rules apply to her. "Can't I just hold onto it," she asks, batting her eyes. "No, I need all drinks and trash. Right now," replies the attendant, daggers shooting from his eyes. The two lovestruck stupid ass passengers around her plead her case, and she keeps explaining how she'll be done in JUST a minute, if they could just let her hold onto it.

And then I walk up and pour it over her head. (In my mind.)

Nov 16, 2011

The person who, seconds after the plane touches down, RUNS to the front of the plane to get off, and bangs his stupid bag in your head in the process. Or the person who slams his should into your aisle seat and then refuses to apologize. I PAID FOR THAT.

Nov 16, 2011

I would like to also add people who bring stinky "real food" onto the plane. Please just bring non-smelly snacks that are not drippy or stinky.

Nov 16, 2011

I would like to also add people who bring stinky "real food" onto the plane. Please just bring non-smelly snacks that are not drippy or smelly.

Nov 16, 2011

Sorry about the double-entry. Computer issue. :(

Nov 16, 2011

I'm always the unfortunate sack stuck in the middle seat with ZERO armrests. I'm also the unfortunate sack who's too polite to point out to people that it's so totally unfair.

Nov 16, 2011

My pet peeves -- just because the seat can recline doesn't mean that it should. I don't see any reason for someone to have to recline ALL the way on a short - less than 2 hour mid day flight. And I have to say, it is totally impossible to get out of my seat without touching the seat back in front of me when it is reclined all the way. Grrrrrrr.

I also get very aggravated when people from the back of the plane try to push up to the front when we land. Just wait your dang turn.

Smelly food... ugh. Kicking my seat back - Argh.

Loved reading all of these.

Nov 16, 2011

Ugh! I think I always end up sitting next to the one person you NEVER want to sit by. The last time I flew, I sat next to this guy who had the worst body odor ever. He took his shoes off and pretty much slept an inch from my shoulder the entire 4 hour flight. The time before that, this nervous flyer got sick all over the place right next to my seat. I'm in desperate need of a happy flight experience!

Nov 16, 2011

Amen, sister.

Nov 16, 2011

1. Parents who bring toys that make noise for their kids to use on the plane. Endless, repetetive, mind-numbing noise.

2. Nail polishing. Should never. EVER. Happen on a plane.

3. People who use their travel partner/child/pet as an excuse to broadcast their opinions/latest sexual conquest/entire life story to the entire plane. Nobody cares, TP.

4. So, TP - you thought eating raw onions on your salad was a good idea, right?

5. "Peekers". They have to side-eye your novel, your laptop, your newspaper, whatever you're doing. Unless you're Josh Holloway, keep your peepers to yourself.

6. Obviously sick people who can't bother to cough into a tissue or hanky - they just hack open-mouthed into the general vicinity. AAAAAACK!

Nov 16, 2011

If you show up late to board the plane, do not get huffy that there isn't enough room left to stow your pool cue. When the stewardess takes it to have it checked, do not sit there like an immature brat talking loudly on your phone about how they wouldn't let you keep your stuff on the plane. And when a flight attendant asks you for the third time to hang up and shut the phone off, do not loudly bitch about it to your conversation partner.

Now as a change of pace, I do have a semi-good story. I was on a red-eye from Oakland to Boston and the plane was almost finished boarding. The last people on were an Asian family of three; a mother, father and son, about 5 or 6 years old. Dad sat in middle seat in front of my row. Mom sat in the middle seat in the row across the aisle me. The son sat in between me and another passenger. Mom asked me if I would be willing to trade with her. I felt bad but ended up saying no. The son was A DELIGHTFUL passenger. He was quiet and polite, watched some tv, had a few snacks (the other passenger and I both made sure he was doing ok) and when it was getting late enough for the cabin lights to dim, he asked dad what he should do next. Dad said "it's time to go to sleep". And so he did. Which allowed me to catch up on some sleep as well.

Now if all passengers behaved like this boy did, we'd never have any problems!

Nov 16, 2011


MOUTH SNEEZING! That PEHOTP? He's a mouth-sneezer of the worst order. You know the kind, and they are always *right* behind you! "GAAAHAAAAGGGCHEW!" No seat back in the world is constructed too withstand that kind of blast."

People, please! Crook your arm and cover that spew.

(Returning to calm mode now, but thank you Holly for allowing us to vent, and I do apologize to your readers for this uncontrolled shouting!)

Nov 16, 2011

Ah, yes. My last plane trip, there was a guy wearing headphones, but singing along, out loud!, to all the songs. But intermittently, so you'd get lulled into the idea that he'd stopped and then he'd scare you again with an off-key verse. Finally, FINALLY, an attendant asked him to stop, toward the end of the flight. And he said, Sorry, just can't resist the Skynrd.

There was also a heavyset guy who unfortunately broke his seat so couldn't help but recline into me the whole way across the country. He also reaked of alcohol. :(

And how about the folks who recline during take-off when they're not supposed to, putting you in an ethical conundrum? Am I supposed to tell on him? The attendant already went by and prepared herself for takeoff. What are the dangers? Will I lose my legs if we takeoff this way? What should I do????

Nov 16, 2011

Sorry, one more thing. I do get a little peeved when I see parents bringing young children on a night flight. That can't be a good sign for everyone else, but I suppose those are the least expensive fares these days... :-(

Nov 16, 2011

You've missed the following bad behavior I've witnessed on planes:

Ignores electronic rules, including making a call AS the plane is landing

Ignores instructions to sit down during heavy turbulence

Constantly opening and closing overhead compartments with heavy stuff inside that falls on people's heads

Sprays chemically disinfectants into the air of an enclosed plane prompting panic amongst flight attendants as to the source of a strange smell in the cabin

I mean, there is run of the mill annoying (loud talkers, ill-behaved children, disturbances to be expected as the cost of traveling) and then there are the people who are violating every single safety rule in a manner that would land me in Guantanamo if I behaved with such flagrant disregard.

Nov 16, 2011

I can't stand when people launch out of their seats about five seconds after takeoff. One, it scares me and makes me think shit is about to go down and two, it is unsafe and AGAINST THE RULES.

Also, the folks who go in the lavatory and camp out in there doing god knows what.

Oh, and definitely the ones who hide their cell phones during final check for departure, then whip them out and keep talking or texting. Again: AGAINST THE RULES.

Nov 16, 2011

I'm not a man. Maybe it's really hard to aim. I guess weeing in unexpected turbulence is forgiven. But from the two-inch deep puddle of wee in the plane lavatories, you'd think they had to get it through the eye of a needle. TPEHOTPs, please, stop pissing on the floor.

Nov 16, 2011

I know we're focusing on passengers, but may I add that the Pilot everyone hates on the plane leaves the seat-belt fastened sign on for the entire 12 hour flight, on a perfectly smooth day. NO ONE can hold it that long.

Nov 16, 2011

I would like to propose a rule that you must demonstrate your ability to lift your luggage over your head before being allowed to carry it on. I've had a bag dropped on my head so I get angry whenever I see someone with pencil arms and roller bag the size of themselves boarding the plane. Clearly you can not get it into an overhead compartment without a stepstool and a kind stranger's assistance. If you can't lift it, check it!

Nov 16, 2011

My sister once sat next to a woman who was flossing and then RE-EATING FOOD BITS FROM THE FLOSS. It was last year, but my stomach still turns like it was yesterday.

Nov 16, 2011

Oh, Astrid, you are on to something there. It is totally possible for TP to be a crew member. How about the pilot on a red-eye who actually gives a 5 minute lecture on what is outside the plane? ONLY IT'S MIDNIGHT AND PITCH BLACK SO I CAN'T SEE IT AND OH YEAH I WAS ASLEEP.

Or the flight attendants that make long... full of awkward... pauses ... announcements.... that are loud and annoying and weird. Presumably you've done this before, right? Say your piece and let the quiet resume, TP Attendant.

Nov 16, 2011

I agree with all of these (thanks for the laughs) and also would add the flight attendant who insists on being "funny" while making announcements but they are ARE NOT FUNNY at all. I like how Virgin Air does it. I'd rather watch the video than hear someone flight attendant's take on humor. Does this make me a bad person? Probably.

Nothing But Bonfires
Nov 16, 2011

Oh god, I think Kristin wins.

Nov 16, 2011

I'd also like to nominate the passenger who uses the bathroom and walks back to their seat at the same time the beverage cart is going. Instead of waiting until the cart finishes its rounds they try to "squeeze" on top of the person in the aisle seat so the cart can get by. Hello, TPEHOTP, thank you for sitting on my lap this evening.

And I agree with Nissaday - "real" food that STINKS is the worst. Granola Bars or Bagels, sure. Disgusting Panda Express or bean-filled Mexican food? NO!

Nov 16, 2011

oh these are making me laugh so much.

but guys, one time TP was sitting behind me on a cross country flight (seattle to atlanta) and got drunk and then grabbed the back of my seat to stand up and promptly leaned over the seat and threw up on me. full on barfed on me. it is so ridiculous and disgusting that i still can't even, two years later, really deal with talking about it.

the flight attendants were a dream. it was the longest two hours of my life. OH! and the person next to me was so skeeved by the whole thing that she got drunk! she said it was the grossest thing she'd ever seen and she 'needed a drink!' and then i spent the rest of the trip being worried SHE too would barf on me. (!!!)

it was like an episode of punked and double dare all in one. a horrible, disguising episode of punked: double dare TP!!

Nov 16, 2011

You guys....I say this in all honesty (and shame) you know what is the worst thing? When one's SPOUSE is husband is a CHRONIC over-packer (who somehow always manages to forget something like...underwear, whilst bringing 3 suits on a trip that may require ONE nice shirt/tie combo). The man cannot, for the life of him, understand why he must only bring luggage that weighs a mere 50 lbs...and this is a kind, funny, sweet man...something about Rules just makes him...contrary. Our most recent trip featured me and my easily rolled-on bags- small duffle and rolling suitcase that are overhead approved...and him bringing an enormous bag, huge duffle and ginormous overcoat. On the way BACK from said trip, two! MORE! huge! bags filled with heavy tools appeared, which required ME turning into TP due to me having to check "my" new 'luggage'.

So all I'm saying? Sometimes TP is just the innocent spouse of a normally normal person who cannot, for the life of them, pack a gee dee suitcase properly.

That being said, he does NONE of the other TP things.

Nov 16, 2011

Yeah, the pilot/flight attendants that I hate have the speaker volume turned up so loud that I actually have to plug my ears during the announcements. And they're not telling me anything useful, like what snacks are available for purchase. Usually they're making the seven-minute pitch for the mileage plus credit card I already have.

Nov 16, 2011

Hilarious article and comments. Making me slightly dread my USA to UK flight in two weeks time. Hopefully I won't get stuck next to a TP or worse, stuck between two of them!

A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I got on our plane and discovered someone sitting in our aisle seat. It took several attempts and a lot of her huffing and puffing before she moved into her window seat. I agree that sitting next to the window isn't fun... which is why I made the effort to check in online and get my boyfriend, who has a bad knee, an aisle seat.

No need to pretend not to hear us and be so rude Mrs TPEHOTP!

Nov 16, 2011

On long flights from Australia, and they are all long flights, TPEHOTP thinks the poor unfortunate wretch whose seat is next to the toilets is there to chat to during the night. He thinks their video screen is for him to watch and comment on while he waits for the loo or stretches or shoots the breeze with the other insomniac PEHOTP. This constitutes congregating in a dangerous fashion, in my book. Where are the air marshals when you need them?

Nov 16, 2011

Traveling with my son this summer I was horrified to find I'd raised a seat puller! I talked to him of course, but he promptly forgot. So to those on the Dec 20th flight to Denmark and find themselves yanked around my a tall teenager with an Iron Maiden tee on you have my permission to bark at him.

Twice Five Miles
Nov 16, 2011

Oh dear lord Kathleen for the win. Nobody is topping that.

Nov 16, 2011

Kathleen still wins.

Allowing your four-five year old continually kick, shake, lean on my seat, and have the audacity to smile. TPEHOPT.

The person that doesn't believe in deodorant (ever as reflected by the heavy BO scent coming from all of their personal belongings), and insisting upon taking off their shoes. Same person. 10 hour flight. I sat a row behind and felt terrible for the person sitting next to him. TPEHOPT.

Tuna in a Can. WTF? TPEHOPT.

Nov 16, 2011

I agree, kathleen (#68) wins. I think that would put me off of flying ever again.

I was once stuck in the middle seat of the last row of a completely full flight LAX-OAK. The man directly in front of me REEKED of cologne, talked on his cell phone until the very last second, reclined his seat aaaaaaalllll the way back, and coughed a lot. Also his carry-on was the approximate size of a St. Bernard.

I'm taking my almost 6 month-old to SF for Christmas. We're taking the earliest flight possible (because babies are sleepier in the morning), and sitting in Economy Plus. Short of shelling out the almost 400 bucks for a one-way ticket so she can have her own seat, it's the most I can do for my sanity and that of the people around us.

Nov 16, 2011

Once while trying to get my tired fussy baby to sleep on a flight the lady in the seat next to me kept reaching her hand under his blanket to touch him. Stop touching my baby! You're of NO comfort to him and really crossing a line lady! Don't touch other peoples baby's and asking doesn't make it ok, it just puts he parent in an awkward situation.

Also, It would be nice if the flight attendant knew for sure what she was talking about before having you unhook and move carseats around while your two toddlers wait, after you politely tell her that her coworkers told you to put the seats in this configuration only to later have her come back and say she was mistaken so you can unhook and move that carseat for the third Time! Installing carseats on a plane-not a cake walk.

Nov 16, 2011

Oh my word, each one of these 70 plus comments was AWESOME. I'm glad you've all met TPEHOTP

I remember one flight on a Sunday night (always the worst) from SLC to LAX in the middle seat, I'd just missed the upgrade to first class by ONE spot. This woman in front of me had hair down to her butt, and as the plane hit cruising altitude, she draped it over her seat until it skimmed my already-lowered tray table. Me, not wanting to confront her, asked the flight attendant to ask her to move her hair, and she wouldn't!

I made a new friend that day, Fred the hematologist. He shielded the aisle, I shielded the dude watching Lost on his iPad next to the window, and I dunked the bottom three inches of her hair in a cup of club soda. I neglected to think about the dripping, but luckily our napkins took care of it.

Gross? Yes. (Sorry, hope you weren't eating). But, I wish I had a video camera to capture her face. As we landed, she grabbed her hair and brought it forward with her hands, until she felt the wet ends. Then she turned around in her seat to look at us. It was all Fred & I could do to hold in the gut-busting laughter.

Concluding the world's longest comment, THANK YOU HOLLY for expressing so eloquently what I've always hated about TPEHOTP. I'm so glad I could get some of that latent anger out by telling my worst plane story. Though nothing beats unfortunate Kathleen...

Nov 16, 2011

OK, someone obviously believes that the "Mile high club" exists. Like the two (male) flight attendants during the dark hours of a flight from SFO to Hong Kong in 1980. Pity they didn't realize I was only 13...

Thanks for cutting us parents some slack. My daughters are teenagers now, and firmly in the Non-TP camp -- after much in-flight training -- but we did travel by air when they were babies, and I appreciated the forbearance of my fellow passengers, though my kids were usually pretty quiet. I try to compliment parents, especially of like toddlers and elementary school kids, when they behave well. It is so hard sometimes to travel with young children, and frequently unavoidable.

And on the odd, long trip, I will offer to rock a baby, if I don't had the sniffles. After all, it's not as if I can go anywhere...And I love to rock babies. Sigh.

Nov 16, 2011

Having flown many MANY times I think apart from the poor dear who was barfed on (oh you poor thing!) I've crossed paths with all of these people.

My biggest pet peeve comes with the wide body planes where the mid section lav is right next to a seat. Now a lot of people using that lav are conscientious but many, MANY of them bend over and stick their buttocks in your face as they open the door. It is bad enough to have to smell what came out of them every time the door is opened!

Nov 16, 2011

The person who decides to take their shoes off and then use your armrest as a footrest. I HATE YOU.

But Kathleen (#68) still wins.

Nothing But Bonfires
Nov 16, 2011

It's official. Kathleen has totally won. I feel like I should send you something, Kathleen. A golden barf bag? Too soon?

Tracy D
Nov 16, 2011

I was once on a flight where I had to sit next to a woman and her two kids for a 4 hour flight - her youngest pooped his pants at the gate and she DIDN'T BOTHER TO CHANGE THE DIAPER THE WHOLE FLIGHT. The older kid (she/he...I don't remember...seemed more like a small human possessed by the devil at the time) squealed and shrieked for the first 3 hours of the flight and would not stay in its kept sliding down and writhing maniacally on the floor.

It was worst experience I've ever had on a flight. Worse than sitting next to the guy who needs the seat belt extender who decides for you (because he arrived first) that no, you don't need armrests and that it is perfectly okay if his belly rests on your thigh.

Though I felt bad for this poor woman, I really didn't appreciate smelling her baby's poo for the entire 4 hours. Nor did I appreciate her other child being possessed by the devil until it cried itself to sleep. She looked a hot mess. By the end of the did I.

Angie Orth
Nov 17, 2011

Kathleen - winner.

This reminds me of just about every flight I've been on this year. I can usually pick out TPEHOTP in the boarding area now - I just look for the tackiest, sketchiest, stinkiest person at the gate and automatically know that this is who will be hogging my armrest the whole flight.

And how many times have I been smacked in the face by the TPEHOTP's GIANT carryon luggage?

Hope you get lucky on the way to Cape Town and miss out on any more TPEHOTPs!

Nov 17, 2011

Oh and don't forget the TPEHOTP who hasn't brought anything with them to read and gets bored 5 minutes into the flight so leans over and asks to borrow your magazine/paper/book etc.
This happened to me recently, I always bring a couple of magazines or books with me on a flight and shoved my brand new magazine into my seat pocket while I browsed the inflight magazine.
The TPEHOTP next to me leaned over, grabbed my magazine and then said 'Oh can I read this? I'm bored'. Um well yeah I guess so buddy as it's now in your hot little hands. I don't mind sharing but let me read the damn thing first!

Nov 17, 2011

winning has never tasted so, em, slimy.

i'm a bit relieved no one has experienced anything worse then the thanksgiving barf fest flight of '09, but i'm also sorry that i had to take that PARTICULAR one for the team.

in my perpetual pollyanna-ness i've often wondered what lesson i should take from the whole disgusting thing, and well, i've got nothing. don't barf on strangers? don't fly on holidays? oh lordy.

Nov 17, 2011

OMG - When I travelled a lot for work I used to say I was going to write a book and go on Oprah to promote PROPER AIRPLANE ETIQUETTE!! I am 100% in your camp with giving the middle-seaters both armrests. Stop playing elbow-hockey with the poor person stuck in the middle seat.

ALSO! If you are travelling with your elderly, frail mother who has the middle seat, and you are in the window seat. When the kind stranger agrees to let your mother have the aisle seat so she can access the bathroom easier (which she never used ONCE on the entire flight. But honestly I really didn't care becase...FRAIL AND ELDERLY MOTHER), YOU TAKE THE MIDDLE SEAT! You do not make the KIND STRANGER take the middle seat and then PLAY ELBOW HOCKEY WITH HER(see above)!! OMG I'm getting worked up even remembering this situation. haha

And lastly! Exit the plane in a ZIPPER FASHION starting from the front row and moving towards the back. Do not jump into the aisle and RUN as far to the front of the plane as you can get when you hear the ding. Sit patiently collecting your bags in front of you, wait until the aisle in front of you begins exiting, then stand and exit once they are done. Do not crowd the aisle and cause a stampede because you want to exit 15 seconds before the row ahead of you. (This rule can be changed in cases where travelers in the back row are late for a connection and have politely requested to exit first. In this case DO NOT CROWD THE AISLES blocking the poor people trying to make their next flight.)

Woosh! I feel so much better knowing there are others in the world who understand this!

Carrie (in MN)
Nov 17, 2011

I think I would've gotten violent Kathleen.

Silent farters, WTH? I don't care if you are about to explode, do not rip silent-but-deadlies on a plane! This person was on my last flight and I finally turned to my seatmate, who was quietly fanning herself and announced, loudly, as I pulled my pashmina over my nose "it's not me."

Nov 17, 2011

OMG I totally forgot. I had one flight, can't remember where I was going but there was a 30 yr old dude sitting with his mother.

He was in the row next to mine. As soon as the plane took off he started READING A MAGAZINE ARTICLE OUT LOUD to his mother. And when I say outloud I mean LOUD.

The businessmen around me were casting side eyes and sighing and the one in front of him actually turned all the way around and GLARED at the reader. To no avail. 2 hours of magazine articles, read aloud, completely oblivious.


Nov 17, 2011

intense and heady cologne.
THE WORST KIND. and usually the scent-wearer is into leaning into you heavily or even PUTTING UP THE ARMREST so he can lean even further.

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