I ought to know. I’ve sat next to all of them.
And at times, I’ve been all of them.
Here are the worst:
(5) The type that wanted your aisle seat, but instead got a window, so they’re going to glare at you the whole flight and make your life hell because you wouldn’t engage in the absurdly noble gesture of switching with them. This happened to me once with a cracked-out hooker with long nails, and I averted her gaze the whole time, amazingly surviving to safety.
(4) The ones that won’t turn off their electronic equipment, no matter how many times they’re warned by a flight attendant. Either they know better than the authorities or they simply feel they’re above the law (usually because they’re celebrities, or think they are). Either way, they make me nervous because you wonder what else they’re not going to do during the flight.
(3) The people who nervously chat at you throughout the whole trip, clutch onto you when there’s turbulence, beg you to assure them you’re not crashing, then dump you the second you land. I hate myself–I mean other people–for this kind of shamelessly usery behavior.
(2) The opposite type, who look at you with a “Don’t talk to me” grimace. If you attempt to speak–even if just to ask them how to up the volume on the TV or to ask if you should help them hand their trash to the flight attendant–they act like you’ve criminally invaded their space and have thereby committed treason. But eventually they recognize you and want to talk. A lot. Forget about it!
(1) The constant bathroomgoers. An aisle seat is supposed to allow me relative comfort, but it often ends up turning into a calisthenic exercise from hell because Joe Schmo in the middle has to go to the loo every five minutes like clockwork. In fact, the second Joe sits back down, he’s shuffling around and looking for any excuse to go back. It makes him happy. It makes me crazy. If I wanted to do pilates at 40,000 feet, I would have just shot myself. I wish I’d brought a box of anti-puddling diapers to hand out. Better yet, I wish I’d stayed on the ground. Next time!