I wrote a post yesterday about my worst seatmate ever. In this post, I described my experience being seated next to a sloppy drunk guy all the way from Rhode Island to California. He literally cried on my shoulder (think snot and tears), talked/slurred nonstop, and, for his grand finale, braced his body against mine so that he could triumphantly pop a zit.
The guy had clearly been to an airport bar before he even boarded the plane. However, when he first sat down next to me, he didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. He seemed a little clueless, but I assumed he didn’t fly much, and maybe he was nervous about being on a plane, so I was kind and polite. I answered his questions and listened to a couple of his stories. After awhile, I simply put on my headphones and tried to watch Dexter…but he angled in and continued to talk, ignoring the fact that I couldn’t really hear him.
As the flight wore on and the drinks cart rolled by, he began a drinking binge that lasted for hours, and he became more and more intoxicated. This was when he began to sob and drool on my shoulder, and to shake my arm for emphasis. When I asked (politely but repeatedly) him to stop, he sobbed harder. “I’m sorry!” he would wail. “I’m such a !@#*-up!” But he clearly couldn’t stop…he was slurry, sloppy drunk.
I got out of my seat and went to get help from the flight attendants. While they were sympathetic, they also (very nicely) said that they couldn’t do anything about it. I went back to my seat for awhile, but then, in a burst of drunken enthusiasm, my seatmate smashed me against the window as he popped his zit. That was enough to make me leave my seat for the rest of the flight.
The flight attendants rolled their eyes (at the situation, and the drunk guy, not at me) when I told them what happened. They offered me free snacks and drinks (ironic?), and let me sit in their jump seats for awhile. But it was a VERY long flight. When I got home, I wrote a letter to Southwest, telling them my story and suggesting that they reconsider (or better enforce) their drinks policy. It wasn’t a rant or an angry diatribe; it was a description of what happened.
Southwest responded with an apology, stating that they agreed that the drinks policy had gone awry with this guy, and sent me a few LUV vouchers.
And…story over. At least as far as I was concerned. But take a look at the comments on this post! I hit a nerve.
One of the things that has been most surprising to me is that some people seem to think that by writing a letter to Southwest, I was somehow trying to blame the airline for what happened, and that the blame instead rests squarely on my shoulders.
You should have spoken up and said you do not want to be disturbed and need privacy. However, you did what I would expected…. “When I got home, I wrote a long email to Southwest, and they gave me free flights”. Not sure why the airline is responsible.
Your mission accomplished. Shameful.
The shameful part is that you failed to control the situation and then got LUV to give you free flights (I assume you meant to type PLURAL) for something they have no accountability or responsibility for.
This is the same as getting drunk in a bar and then blaming the bartender.
Yes, the dude was annoying, but not LUV’s fault. You could have handled it better unless you felt the guy would physically assault you if you spoke up. Which he did not sound like based on your account.
But bravo, you finagled a free flight (or more)
This guy was way over the line. Totally in my space. (And it wasn’t like I could walk off the plane!) Was that somehow my fault? Was I “asking for it” by kindly answering his questions?
Should I have “controlled the situation” with the drunk guy? “Handled it better?”
Kept quiet instead of writing a letter to Southwest?