Nightmare Flights

Image by tripadvisor

The above image is from TripAdvisor’s Airplane Seat-Mate From Hell survey and whilst I am unaware of the ongoing status of the survey, looking at the photographs I have sat next to a few of them myself. I think I can confidently say I personally don’t fit into any of the categories.

Being on a long flight isn’t much fun from take off to landing and the person(s) occupying the seat next or either side of you can make your flight for the better or worse. Aside from shortly before take off hearing a Steve Martin-esque voice announce ” this is your Captain speaking, ” sitting next to someone with a running nose or a wagging tongue can make your flight a torturous ordeal.

I’ve been lucky on my numerous flights to have never been seated next to the Oblivious Parent, probably my own personal choice of seat-mate from hell. I always try to get positioned right at the back of the plane, it’s easy for toilet access and the drinks and food galley is a few steps away. It is on a very rare occasion I’ve seen children sat at the rear, although I have heard their screams many a time.

I’m the type of person who can easily develop an in-flight dry throat and cough (air condition has this affect on me). I get quite uncomfortable about the probable disruption I’m causing to other passengers and remedy the problem by getting a drink of water from the air stewardess. The oblivious parent seems to ignore all cure or solution to their fellow passengers agitation caused by their noisy child. This one would get my vote…..then again. © Denys Dolnikov |

The Bio-Hazard…sniff, sniff, sniff. It’s one of those noises that really irritates me. If you’re due to board a flight and the days leading up to it see you come down with a cold or possible influenza, you take medication to relieve the symptoms. Not the bio-hazard passenger. Sat next to the bio-hazard traveler and Elton John or whoever just doesn’t sound quite so good over your headphones.

And it seems to me you lived your life

Like a candle in the wind

Never knowing who to cling to

When the rain set in, sniff sniff sniff.

The Chatter-Box is another who really gets my goat. I honestly don’t want to know about their messy divorce and how they have now found love in Thailand with a ladyboy half their age. The ins and outs of getting caught in your next door neighbours greenhouse late at night with their teenage boy and a greased cucumber is no concern of mine but…

” Yes I can obviously understand my wife being a little annoyed, but divorce was a little harsh.” he drones.

You’ve just got to hope when the food comes round he hasn’t ordered a special salad.

Your best bet with the chatter-box is to put on the headphones and feign sleep. If that fails then get blind drunk and blatantly ignore him.

The Nervous Wreck is in all of us but it depends to what degree. Air turbulence does scare me a bit, mainly because I might spill my Jack Daniels and Coke and the wait for another one depends on the pilot’s prowess in gaining safer altitude. They say some people can hear a pin drop, the nervous wreck can hear a pin drop and roll to a stop…..Plop.

” Jesus shit man, one of the engines has just blown.” he screams and grabs your hand, somehow drawing blood with his chewed nails.

” Calm down sir, the gentleman in front has just popped open a tube of Pringles.”

In truth you’re thinking.

” You bastard, piss off and annoy someone else.”

The problem with the nervous wreck is your suggestion of an alcoholic drink to qualm their fears is met with the resounding answer that it would only make them sick.

I’ve touched on just four of the ten choices in Trip Advisor’s poll, the other six being Seat Swapper, Entertainment Director, Carrie Carry-All, Space Intruder, Self Entitled and Smelly Snacker. Which of the ten would be your least favourite seat mate.

If any of you do have a minute to spare then please click on the link at the top of the post and register your vote in Trip Advisor’s survey. If enough of you vote then Trip Advisor might forgive me for borrowing their survey image. Thanks.


Photograph Medicine   by  Dolnikow  / Dreamstime

Song Lyrics by Bernie Taupin

Photograph Cucumber by © Lukajani |


I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

17 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    Hi Martyn yes I read the original thanks to the Telegraph, I like yours better.

    Overall I have been lucky although I once sat next to the chatterbox who told me his sordid double life as a shoe buyer in Thailand, he was from Northampton.

    On a flight from India I sat next to a bio-hazard-he had Malaria-which I obviously couldn’t catch but I thought he was going to die and it spoiled my view of Everest as we headed home!
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..Cycle Rickshaw Samlor Photo Image =-.

  2. Stu Lloyd says:

    Hahaha … good stuff. Yes, I too have suffered nearly all of those seatmates. But it made me think, whether I have ever been on of those types too? Hmmm. Leaving on a jet plane again tomorrow, so we’ll soon see. Cheers, Stu

  3. Talen says:

    I think I have had every type mentioned next to me on one trip or another. The best trip I had a young Thai woman sat next to me that fell asleep promptly after we took off and only woke up for meals.

    The worst was a guy that was on his first trip to Thailand. He talked incessantly for the whole trip. I could understand his excitement but it irked the hell out of me how he kept needing to tell me how he already knew everything about Thailand from the internet. He also continually reminded me he was definitely not a sex tourist…I had to stifle a laugh when he told me about the upscale hotel he would be staying in while in Bangkok…The Nana Hotel.

  4. Catherine says:

    I can deal with most adults, it’s the kids that drive me nuts. Especially the seat kickers, coke can crunchers, and plastic wrap scrunchers.

    Snorers and snorters also make me uncomfortable, but I’ve learned that you can grab the can away from the kid and lob it. Hard. It shuts both up every time. And the kid gets the blame.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Thailand’s Tiger Temple Sues Conservationists =-.

  5. Hoo Don says:

    Mike I thought it was quite an interesting poll, very topical. Sitting next to a chatter box shoe buyer would make the flight quite a long one. The Chatter Box does seem to be the one you are most liable to meet.

  6. Hoo Don says:

    Talen – Thai women who can fall asleep at the drop of a hat and Thailand newbies who think they know it all, they’re probably the two sets of people who I can remember most from my Pattaya days. The sleeping bar girls I used to say to “sleep is cheap” and found it an enviable habit in some ways but the farang know it alls used to annoy the hell out of me. The chatter box tourist does appear to be sat in most aisles.

  7. Hoo Don says:

    Stu – thanks for your comment and glad you enjoyed the read. I visited your blog and it looks a good read. The joys of Kanchanaburi, I remember them well. Have a good trip.

  8. Hoo Don says:

    Catherine – I have never actually come across a snorer, which when I thought about it quite surprised me. Alcohol, heavy tiredness and sleeping pills would seem the perfect concoction to breed one. As I stated in my post the kids are the ones I most like to avoid, I think the plane should have a few sleeping capsules up with the hand luggage lockers and the noisy kids should be thrown inside them.

  9. Jon says:

    Little late on the punch HD but I think I’m certainly half the flightmate you’ve never had, being as I am a parent.

    We’ve flown since with the boy around his 1st birthday.

    I’m not sure I can put into words the stress of taking a little one on the plane. Sure when he was asleep it was fine but that left around 6 hours to fill.

    Cab crew were gracious enough to help entertain his and give us seats with a good deal of room (at the front of an aisle) so I turned it into a play area for him.

    I think he got away with it because he was cute. To be fair he did behave quite well but the pre-flight stress nearly killed me.

    Can’t believe any parent could be oblivious.
    .-= Jon´s last blog ..New iPhone Competitor In Thailand As BlackBerry Bold 9700 Launches =-.

  10. john says:

    great post martyn ive had myself a fair share of lets say interesting travel companions these days i have a little bit of a buffer when i travel with my wife and son who i might had is well behaved our he gets the hard word there’s nothing worse then children with parents that are unable our unwilling to control them in what is a very small place
    i would take the the big fat fella rather then a screaming child
    talking of are fat friends you don’t really see and really large people on the planes these days maybe i have just been lucky but there’s loads in Thailand so they must of got there somehow do they hire there own planes
    of course there.s nothing wrong with being grossly overweight unless your stuck in economy with some lard arse leg fat pressing against your leg
    OK maybe the kids are not that bad at least you could jam then into the overhead lockers if they start to scream the place down
    .-= john´s last blog ..issan blog updates =-.

  11. Hoo Don says:

    Jon I think the survey and its Oblivious Parent category is more aimed at older children who run up and down the aisles rather than the babies who are just naturally doing what babies do. It’s nice to see the cabin crew gave you and the little one lots of attention and free room. He’ll soon be old enough to take to watch Saraburi FC.

  12. Jon says:

    He is already HD, went yesterday with me. Was good fun, lots of goals and an Iranian goalkeeper. Will have to get my typing boots on.

    Pattaya snagged a win too,
    .-= Jon´s last blog ..New iPhone Competitor In Thailand As BlackBerry Bold 9700 Launches =-.

  13. Hoo Don says:

    John the kids running wild do annoy me but as I have just commented to Jon (Foreigner) the young babies you have to give allowances to. I’ve never had to sit next to a big sweaty elbow rest hogging chap, being a Etihad Silvercard holder they tend to seat you on your own when possible.

  14. Hoo Don says:

    Jon he certainly is starting early, perhaps in a couple of years he might run out as the club mascot. BTW how much does it cost to watch Saraburi FC, I believe it’s about 60 baht for Pattaya United who had a good 1-0 win. BEC look the team to beat.

  15. Jon says:

    Was 50 THB although worth remembering it was for Osotspa Saraburi, a Premiership team. Saraburi FC are a few divisions lower and presumably a lot, lot cheaper.

    Going again on Monday, can’t wait.
    .-= Jon´s last blog ..New iPhone Competitor In Thailand As BlackBerry Bold 9700 Launches =-.

  16. loki says:

    I find that a pre flight crippling hangover is the best cure for seat mates. If I’ve had enough the night before I can usually just sleep the flight away.
    .-= loki´s last blog ..To P.E. or Not to Be =-.

  17. Hoo Don says:

    Loki – I don’t travel well with a hangover myself and haven’t gone that route for many years. Coming landing time I’m more liable to have developed one.

Copyright © 2023 All Rights Reserved.  WP Premium Plugin

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap