Two Recent Flying Stories

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As I was getting ready tonight to fly with Little C and The Man tomorrow, I remember I hadn’t yet shared two quick stories from recent flights I was on.  Both of them came rushing back to me as I was planning out our travel logistics for tomorrow.  I learned some good lessons from both of these experiences!  I’d love to hear what you would have done in each of these scenarios!

Airplane Story #1:

On my way to the Chicago Seminars, I was sitting in the window seat (in coach, of course), when a girl in her early to mid-20’s sat down next to me in the middle-seat.  She was one of the last to board and seemed very rushed and a bit overwhelmed as she boarded.  Once she sat down and got settled, I swear she fell asleep within about .2 nanoseconds.  I was jealous, but happy for her since it seemed like she must have really needed some sleep.  Then, as soon as we were up in the air she put down her tray table and seriously passed out with her head on the tray table.  She was sound asleep.  It looked insanely uncomfortable to me, but it was working for her.

Here was the problematic part for me.  About half-way through the flight I realized I must have had too many Diet Cokes in the United Club, because I really needed to make a trip to the lavatory.  Unfortunately, my sleepy neighbor was totally and completely blocking my path.  Here is a photo of the bathroom-blocking subject.

I was torn as to whether to wake Sleeping Beauty, or just suffer in silence.  Since my flight to Chicago wasn’t an extraordinarily long flight, the “Mommy” in me decided to let the poor girl sleep.  I would just suck it up and try to think about something else…..though it wasn’t easy!  She slept until it was time to get ready for landing.  Turns out she was on her way home to France for a visit and had been working 18 hour days with the company she works for as a consultant and was just truly exhausted.  She really was very nice (when she wasn’t blocking my escape route to the restroom!) and I was glad I let her sleep, but it has now made me doubt my normally comfortable window seat selection.  If she had been blocking Little C when C needed to go to the restroom, I absolutely would have disturbed her slumber.  What would you have done?  Has this happened to you?  Am I the only one that thinks sleeping on a tray-table looks insanely uncomfortable?

Airplane Story #2:

Okay, technically this is an airport story, but close enough.  On my way to LAX for BlogWorld last week, I took off my shoes, as usual, to go through security.  As soon as I was loading my bags and bins up to be x-rayed, I could tell I had stepped on something that hurt.  I didn’t think much of it at the time, but by the time I got through security I realized that I was leaving a trail of blood where my left foot had stepped.  Oops.

I gathered my shoes and bags and sat down at the nearest bench to figure out what had happened.  I noticed that there was a small piece of glass stuck in my foot.  Gee, thanks for making me take my shoes off where there is busted glass!  The TSA was helpful in handing me rubbing alcohol (though drinking alcohol might have been just as helpful at this point) and some paper towels while I tried to remove the glass with just my fingers.  I could hardly see what I was doing due to the blood that kept coming out of my foot.  It didn’t take long for an apparent airport big wig in a suit to show up and point out to me that the incident occurred on “city property”, since I had not yet gone through security.  I’m sure I looked at him like he was an alien, because I could care less whose “property” it happened on, I just wanted them to clean up the glass so it didn’t happen to someone else.  I also kind of wanted the glass out of my foot, but clearly that was up to my own fingernails to dig out.

After about five or ten minutes into the fingernail-driven procedure, I was able to get the glass out and bandage my foot.  It actually made me thankful that kids don’t have to take their shoes off anymore, because I certainly wouldn’t want that to happen to a little one.  While I don’t think I could have seen that small piece of glass anyway, I certainly am going to pay close attention when we go through security in the future.  Airports/cities/whoever is responsible, please keep the no-shoe zone free of glass and sharp objects.  Thank you.  Have you ever stepped on something like that going through security?

Hopefully my little family’s travels tomorrow will be quick, easy, and without incident…or blood.  🙂

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  1. I think it’s great that you let her sleep. That’s how I always sleep on airplanes – so easy and much more comfortable than it looks! Hope you foot is okay.

  2. If I were you, I would have waited as well since I absolutely hate disturbing my seatmates. However, if they were disrespectful and arrogant to me then I would wake them up in a heartbeat.

    This actually happened to me during my first flight in First Class due to an op-up from SEA-ORD. Lets just say that I an upset stomach so had to go to the bathroom a lot while sitting in my assigned window seat. Unfortunately, my seatmate had to get up everytime and I didn’t want to disturb her so I would try to “hold it in” as long as possible before asking her if I can get through. After a few “runs” to the bathroom, I asked her if she minded switching seats since I wouldn’t be disturbing her anymore during my “bathroom runs”. Thankfully, she agreed to this so the problem was solved. It’s funny that I introduced her to FlyerTalk so if you read this, I really appreciate it!

    I agree that sleeping on the tray table looks uncomfortable. I wonder how her neck must have felt when she woke up after being in that position for quite some time.

    I bet the guy in the suit at the airport was a manager at the airport and didn’t want a lawsuit due to your injury. On another note, I hope your feet is okay and didn’t get infected! 🙂

  3. I am actually that person sleeping with my head on the tray table! Much more comfortable than it looks, I promise! Just takes a few minutes for the back/neck to readjust once you wake up. I prefer my head against the window though.

  4. When ever I sit anywhere but the window I always say to my seat mates before take off ” if you need need to get up during the flight don’t hesitate to let me know, even if I seem to be sleeping. I don’t want you to feel like you are stuck in your seat.” It breaks the ice and makes things feel relaxed a little. I hate when people act like you are intruding when you ask to use the restroom. It’s strange enough to have to tell a stranger you are going to the bathroom……. Sorry about your foot , that really pissed me off, we are forced to remove our shoes in public , the area should be meticulously cleaned to prevent instances like this.

  5. I have a pair of socks tucked into my carry on – easily accessible – and pull them on to walk through. Have a hard time with the bare feet thing these days.

  6. Re: Story #1 — I would have done exactly the same thing — kudos for being nice! Still, to avoid that situation I now always book aisle seats (when possible) even though I would enjoy looking out of the window. 🙂

  7. Sleeping on the tray table? That position worked pretty well for me back in junior high and high school on many a warm, boring lecture afternoon. Of course those lectures didn’t last for hours either. (thank heavens!)

  8. Kudos on letting the girl sleep. As others have said, whenever possible, I sit exclusively in aisle seats, especially on long flights so I can get up and move/walk around.

    Regarding your cut foot, they were clearly trying to avoid a suit or to get you to sue the city, although I think they may lose that issue if it were ever presented in court (the glass incident clearly happened at tables next to their security equipment). Given security measures that require footwear to be removed, they have an obligation to keep the area clean of any broken glass, etc. Not surprisingly, I think they pay even LESS attention to it than they did pre-9/11.

  9. Forgot to add, since I’m 6’2″, there’s no way I could ever sleep on the tray table.
    Although I’m “out like a light” on most flights as soon as we take off, I wake up after about 15-20 minutes and then have a lot of trouble finding a comfortable position in which to try to sleep. Tried a travel pillow, but hated it.

  10. I made the mistake of falling asleep on my tray table once when I was 13 or so, and I slept basically the entire way between DTW and LAX. I slept like a baby, but when I woke up my tailbone was in unbelievable pain. I had to walk hunched over for 10 mins or so after the flight landed until my tailbone felt well enough to walk.

    I try like Hell to get a window seat because the view never fails to fascinate me…even at night. It’s worth dealing with a blocked exit to me.

  11. About the 2 stories in order

    1. It may not be un ep–my brother does that on planes all the time, and falls right asleep.

    2. Never trust the floor in the Denver Airport. I watched a lady one time have her dog pee on the terminal floor–the dog nearly peed on my pants, then the owner told me it was fine–FINE, MY FOOT!! I was disgusted so I told an airport worker, who said that was fine and happens all the time. Had I more time, I should have gone to their supervisor.

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