I find flying interesting. You are jammed tight with random people thousands of feet up in the air. Each passenger has a different story, a different background. I had a middle school teacher who told our math class to always talk to the person next to you on the plane. However, unless it is my wife, I don’t do a very good job with that. Once I board, my goal is to fall asleep as quickly as possible.
This most recent trip we took across the country was a little bit different from the previous ones mostly because Sidney was flying pregnant. The day of our trip, my dad texted me and instructed me to do all I could to make sure Sid was comfortable on the flight.
We flew non-stop from Charleston to Seattle. Without even including the time spent on the ground for boarding and taxiing up to the gate, it was a five hour flight. When we entered the plane and saw how the seats were arranged and numbered, it became clear that Sid and I would be sitting in the middle and window seats, a major disadvantage for a pregnant lady. Luckily for us, the guy who had the aisle seat in our row was a complete gentleman. We asked him if perhaps Sidney could switch seats with him and without blinking an eye, he obliged.
It was very much appreciated. Sidney had to use the restroom multiple times and was antsy for most of our time up in the air. Having that aisle seat was a big deal. You know what else helped? Alaska Airlines offered tablets to rent. For $10, we were given a device loaded with movies, TV shows, music, and games. On the way out west we watched “Me Before You” and “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.” It sure made the time on the aircraft go quicker than usual.
We didn’t have the same luck coming back. On our flight from Seattle to Charleston, we were once again assigned the middle and window seats. However, this time around we didn’t even bother asking the lady who occupied the aisle seat if she would consider switching. She was already scowling at us from the moment we made eye contact when it became obvious that we would be turning into her row. To make this whole situation worse, we sat on the runway for two hours as we waited for our plane to be de-iced and then finally cleared for takeoff.
The whole time we watched this lady verbally abuse the flight attendants, cuss out her young kids, and mutter to herself how much she was hating life. Sidney, a 26-week pregnant individual trapped on a plane for over seven hours, dared to use the restroom just once. When we asked the woman sitting next to us as nicely as possible if she would allow Sid through so she could get to the lavatory, we were made to feel like the worst people ever.
Our neighbor gave us a nasty fake smile and sneered in the most sarcastic voice:
Even though we had braced ourselves for the negative response we knew we would get, her sarcastic and scathing response still surprised us a bit. Thankfully Sid was able to sleep on the plane and she did extremely well considering the circumstances.
Things won’t get easier for us. Next time we fly out west it will be with a baby. We can only hope and cross our fingers for fellow passengers like the guy we encountered on our flight out west. In the meantime, I can reevaluate my own manners on the plane. Like I said at the beginning of this post, my main objective when flying solo was usually to just fall asleep. Perhaps in the future I can actually briefly chat with my neighbor and make sure he/she is happy and comfortable. Perhaps my indifferent attitude in the past helped us get seated next to the uncompassionate individual on the way back to the east coast. Don’t Blink.