Flying Over I-40 N. With Manners. With None.

Friday morning, 7:30 a.m.
DFW to Laguardia
American Flight 1140
Aisle Seat 12D.
All events real (not enacted) and on same flight.

The Good:

  • One row back and across to my left.
    • Three children ages 5-12 quietly eating pancakes with plastic forks and knives. Napkins draped on laps.
  • One row back and across to my right.
    • Single Mother breast feeds infant while occupying another toddler with crayons and coloring book. 3 hour flight, both children occupied and quiet.
  • To my right.
    • 6’3″ seat mate, draws unlucky middle seat, respects shared armrest for entire flight.

The Bad:

  • At gate waiting to board.
    • Man (~30) pulls roller board over my shoe, oblivious to infraction, and then stands directly in front of me waiting for his Zone to be called.
  • Boarding Plane.
    • Man in aisle jams his oversized roller board into the overhead. It won’t fit, no chance, no how. He keeps jamming. Long line builds behind him. “Sir, you’ll need to check that bag, please.
  • One row up, in middle seat.
    • A Pilot (in uniform) is catching this flight home for the weekend. He presses the recline button on his seat, leans back heavily, slamming his seat into the knees of the tall, young lady. She grimaces, rubs her knee, adjusts her skirt and simmers in silence.

The Ugly:

  • One row up and across to my right. Aisle seat.
    • It’s 8:35 a.m. Out comes the Tuna Fish sandwich. Fish fills the cabin. She finishes up. And then falls asleep.
  • Two rows up and across to my right. Aisle Seat.
    • What’s that musty smell? Sneakers off. White sweat socks. Foot up and resting on back of arm rest.
  • And, AND...
    • I walk down the aisle to the back of the plane and step into the lavatory. Upon releasing the door lock, I turn, noting my thumb and forefinger are moist, and… the toilet seat glistens with urine.

Impossible Miller. Impossible

Have compassion for everyone you meet
even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit,
bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign
of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on
down there where the spirit meets the bone.”

– Miller Williams, “Compassion” in The Ways We Touch: Poems



  1. Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And then the choice is ours – do we spend more time focusing on the children, the mom and the tall man – or the boorish people who may not know what they do (tho’ honestly, I think some of these people do…)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I was doing well until the last image David.

    The Bad and Uglies display what Karl Abrecht in his excellent book “Social Intelligence” calls Social Halitosis (steady stream of insensitive behaviour) or Social Flatulence (occasional unpleasant outburst of nastiness.) Yours cover both categories.

    Some know no better (they were brought up to see this acceptable) and others should know better. The latter need a kick up the arse or worse.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The Ugly made me laugh 😂 What a great reminder for when it happens to me … as it surely will!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my. Your last image – well, I’ve experienced similar situations myself. The golden age of flying is truly over, if ever there was one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Eeuww on the bathroom, David! Flying is not what it used to BE. ♡
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m not in a hurry to fly again! What you’ve related here is a typical cross-section of society all crammed into a small space so we have to look at all kinds of characters. I suppose there are even more obnoxious ones you could have run into (the loud drunks, the unwashed, the kids kicking the back of your seat, etc.) We are forced to notice them more because of the confined space, where we don’t have the option of walking away. What a horror show! — I suppose it keeps your mind off the possibilities of an air disaster though, so this “melting pot” does have its benefits.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Did you ever fly Porter Airlines?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No.


      • My sons fly Porter all the time. They only fly into a couple of American cities, but mostly in Canada. All propeller airplanes.

        So last September I decided to give it a try, from Montréal to Toronto and then chicago. The airplanes are way smaller than the average. I had the window seat and a younger corporate millennial got the aisle seat next to me. First thing he did was hit the floor by my feet with his newspaper. And as if hogging the armrest wasn’t enough, his elbow was poking me in the waist, leaning on my hip bone. I wanted to say “I’m not your mother. ” But I let it go. Once he started reading his newspaper the sections he wasn’t reading from were all over the place, my feet, in the aisle!!!
        Now, I have no idea where I got the patience or how I kept my mouth shut. Maybe because if I opened my mouth is was not going to be a brief comment.
        Yours truly was reading Lusseyran. I looked out the window and I thought we passed Toronto. I mean, there is no mistaking Toronto or the tiny Billy Bishop Airport. Went back to Lusseyran. Then came the announcement that I didn’t hear well. Then again. So I finally looked at his face and asked him what is it they are giving vouchers for?

        “Is this all you heard?”
        The attitude, we are stuck in the air because the airplane can’t land, a mechanical problem, which explains why we passed Toronto, and he’s giving me an attitude. I’m probably old enough to be his mother.

        We had to get permission to land in another airport with longer runways. A grand mess.

        I went back to reading, he had the nerve to ask how I’m able to read. Then he came to me after we landed to see if I would like to share a long cab drive back to Billy Bishop.

        “No. I’ve had enough of you.”

        Liked by 3 people

  9. I so don’t think I would want to fly…an aluminum sarcophagus, is a sentence of confinement that continually evolves…into reality for those seat occupiers, a shared destiny in lofty flight and I think of your observations & Miller’s compassion, seat 12D, makes me think 12 apostles & David…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you…your mind also works in fascinating ways…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So, when the book out David? You Know – you have at least 7,423 readers! Miller Williams philosophy of cutting others’ some slack has so much merit.
    Many times that poor behaviour was a one off. And most people, would do better if it is brought to their attention (gently)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. behind each individual and their actions, there is a story, there is always a story.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Love the quote at the end. Ties it altogether. The good, the bad, the ugly. That’s life. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. From the music of CSN&Y – teach your children well. That’s our only hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Excellent observation about everyday perils. Stinky feet and all.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Shaking my head and smiling, pal, as we just flew yesterday. My husband fumes at the lack of manners and awareness. I just try my best to zone out and buy another Powerball ticket , as my idea of true luxury would be to have my own plane. HEAVEN…😉


  17. Indeed. I really think that has to be one of the most exquisite luxuries. Being able to walk onto a quiet plane, at your leisure, pick a seat, any seat!, walk around during the flight, all of it. And the sad thing? We have a friend who’s a pilot for NetJets and he says he flies kids around for spring break and such who have (seemingly) no appreciation for the privilege they are afforded to fly in a private jet. THAT annoys me mightily….

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Me, too, pal, me too. Our friend tells us that, conversely, Warren Buffet, couldn’t be nicer. Kind and respectful to the crew and carries his own luggage onto the plane.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m glad I dont travel enough to really notice any of the negative. Its entirely wondrous to me, going places; i feel like a dog in a car with his head out the window, ears blown back.
    and I think to myself what a wonderful world.

    Liked by 1 person

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