Airline customers get stinky deal
“When traveling…take large doses of patience and tolerance with your morning coffee,” Helen Hayes.
Flying can be a dicey proposition. The customer never knows what will happen once they turn their life over to people whose goal is to move the maximum amount of people with the least amount of effort. Often, it's a stinking deal.
If you fly then you know that the airline industry is run by sadistic, money-grubbing cretins who seem to enjoy inflicting pain and suffering on a gullible public. Travelers need to rise up against these unsavory practices by the soulless corporate bean counters.
My fight is a simple one. Just stop the overcrowding of passengers on the Airbus 380 by banning the most vile, disgusting seats on any airplane in the world, Row 47.
Let’s stop the maltreatment of good people like you from taking torturous trips in the airline seats from hell.
The seeds of my protest sprouted on a trip from Guangzhou to Los Angeles.
China Southern Airlines gave me seat 47C for the fourteen-hour flight on an Airbus 380. My excitement was high to go home to see family and friends after a year teaching in China. I boarded with a simple thought, “An aisle seat and a glass of wine and I’ll be happy as a clam.” I’ve never been more wrong in my life.
Here’s the 911 on the accommodations in Row 47, 17.2 inches per seat of pure traveling nightmare.
The devilish seats sit next to six restrooms that serve approximately 470 passengers on the jumbo jet. Bathrooms sit behind Row 47, next to Row 47 and across a small hallway from Row 47. (See the diagram.)
The bathrooms behind Row 47 are too close for the seats to fully recline. Restroom claustrophobia sets in as soon as you are seated.
My aisle seat gave me not only an opportunity to monitor the bathroom habits of the mostly Chinese passengers but see and hear a steady stream of crying babies, malingerers or big mouths in the adjacent hallway.
Fourteen hours of whooshing toilets, infants crying, objectionable odors and people leaning on my seat made me feel like the restroom attendant at the Mei Si Poo Metro Buffet.
Seatguru.com shows the airplane seating chart for every airplane. Place the cursor over any seat in Row 47 on an Airbus 380 and a popup says, “The proximity to the lavatories may be bothersome.”
Bothersome?!? Loathsome is a better term.
Row 47 problems really start during the flight’s food services. Breakfast was served about eleven hours into our loud and smelly journey. The passengers near the restrooms were served last.
Unfortunately, the percolating coffee inside the fed passengers helped swell the restroom line. Soon fifteen people lined up past Row 47 as the attendants tried to get us fed.
A UFC-styled wrestling match broke out between attendants and the pushy Chinese passengers as they exchanged anaconda choke holds and Peruvian neckties in the aisle.
The attendants, experienced in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, won and Row 47 was served.
As I fought a losing battle to open the package containing my utensils a middle-aged Chinese lady tired of standing in the restroom line. She leaned up against the temporarily-empty seat in front of me.
The lady, talking away to a friend in line, wrapped her arm around the headrest in a neck crank move and proceeded to slowly sink her behind closer and closer to my coffee and banana.
I stared in disbelief. Her butt covered about half of my tray and was one inch from my food. It appeared as if she was giving me an airline lap dance. The question was would actually sit in my food?
Instead of large doses of patience and tolerance, my morning joe was about to get dunked by a big bunch of sweat pants-covered backside.
I poked her in the arm.
“Hey! Can you please move your ass so I can have my coffee?” I said this as politely as possible to someone about to sit in my breakfast.
My palms went up in the universal sign of “what the heck are you doing?” Or something like that.
“Oh,” she spit out in a startled tone, quickly pulling herself up from this awkward position. I weakly smiled, gave her a half-hearted wave and began to gnaw on my breakfast roll in bear-like fashion.
The visual image of a butt hovering over my banana was too much and my appetite disappeared as quickly as an airplane toilet flush. I covered myself with the airline blanket, looking like a grey-shrouded KKK member minus the eye holes.
My undercover sanctuary did not stop the whooshes, unpleasant smells or constant ground and pound from the never-ending restroom conga line but I was blind to the ***** in my face. Always cherish small victories.
“Some morning start better than others,” I rationalized under the blanket. Then I realized while it should be morning it was actually 7:30 p.m. in Los Angeles. My mind quickly became confused about how to feel except for the unmitigated joy that there was no lunch.
The Airbus bean counters must be stopped and Row 47 eliminated. A little room between the restrooms and passengers is not asking much. Economy seats would drop from 472 to 461, a small price to pay for dignity.
Send a message to Airbus to stop treating its customers like restroom attendants by liking this article or posting on Twitter at #peoplebeforetoilets. But whatever you do, on your next trip aboard an Airbus 380, avoid Row 47 or literally face and smell the stinking consequences.
John McGory is a freelance writer who teaches English at Jianghan University in Wuhan, China.