‘I’ve Seen Some Bad Behaviour On Flights, But I’ve Never Seen This’

Bringing a whole new meaning to 'aeroplane jelly.'

‘I’ve Seen Some Bad Behaviour On Flights, But I’ve Never Seen This’

Image Credit: Newsweek

I’ve had someone fall asleep with their head on my shoulder. I’ve had someone recline their seat into my face (while I was eating). I’ve also had people kick their stinking feet up next to my elbow. But in all my life, I’ve never had someone squirt their dessert over their head and into my face. Until now…

I like to think of myself as a veteran flyer. An unruffled rapscallion. A globe-savvy hombre who eats flight delays for breakfast and positively enjoys racing for a connection. But nothing could have prepared me for the horrors of a recent flight to America.

The trip started typically enough. I spent $12 on soda and chips, walked onto the aircraft, and enjoyed an aisle seat down the very back of the plane (I was flying from Sydney to Portland, via Honolulu). I then listened to a couple of podcasts, watched Top Gun: Maverick, had a quick nap and – boom – I was there.

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Things quickly went pear-shaped in Honolulu. Not only did I almost miss my connecting flight to Portland (after spending an hour in TSA and getting sarcastically told to take my shoes off by a security guard) but when I got onto the flight, I realised I had forgotten to download any podcasts or music for this leg of the journey.

Worse: on this Honolulu to Portland leg of the journey, seconds after the woman in front of me was served some kind of juice or jelly, she let it rip. And when I say rip, I don’t mean like the gentle popping of a champagne cork by a sommelier. No: I mean she let it rip like Krakatoa.

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The thing (I still don’t know exactly what it was) exploded over her head, up onto the ceiling, over her seatback, into my face and onto the arms of my jumper. The situation could easily have been assuaged by a quick turn of the head, a laughing apology or even a sheepish ‘mea culpa’ hand gesture. But no, she chose violence, deciding not to acknowledge the incident, and leaving me covered in some weird kind of goo, being looked at in bewilderment by my fellow seatmates.

I wiped it off my cheeks and lips, hoped she didn’t have any kind of contagious disease and decided to let sleeping jelly sticks lie. Though I was utterly bemused by the incident, I suppose worse things have happened on planes. In fact, due to poor passenger behaviour (of a worse kind than getting impatient with your lunch) the FFA have actually taken to doing things like (temporarily) increasing the fines passengers can face, in recent years, with flight attendants declaring they are sick of “playing babysitter for adults.”

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During the peak of passenger unrest, in fact, the FAA announced it would be giving itself the power to fine passengers a maximum of $35,000 for unruly behaviour. Now I’m not suggesting my jelly-slinging friend should have been stung with this kind of fine for baptising me on my latest flight. But an apology would have been nice…

Having said that, I can’t criticise her too badly; only two months ago I wrote about the guilty and unacknowledged pleasure of acting like a trash human on a cattle class flight (“it gives you a rare opportunity to be your absolute worst self, while feeling sorry for yourself the whole time”).

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Judging by that metric, I should actually be revelling in my latest experience (although I maintain, my squeeze-happy friend took my philosophy one seat row too far…). Just another day at the back of the plane, I guess…

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