Did you hear about the woman who was forced to stay on a flight for 10 hours while sitting next to a corpse the entire time? If not, you should read it here. Her story reminded me of my story that, although it did not involve a corpse, came pretty close.
I am actually referencing # 11 on this list. It was on a flight back from #1 on that same list. My coworker and I were on a return flight from Vegas. We were in a three seat row with I on the end, my coworker "S" in the middle, and unknown passenger by the window. At first, it started off fine. One of our seminar speakers sat down. Boring as he may have been, it would have made our flight a lot more bearable if he had stayed put. Unfortunately, he was traveling with his wife and wanted to sit next to her. So, when her seat mate showed up, I asked if they could switch seats, being the nice person that I am. I like to call that MISTAKE NO. 1.
New guy immediately sat down, put his head against the window and passed out. He reeked of alcohol and looked disheveled. S was not amused. We took off and all seemed to go well although we kept a worried eye on Drunk Guy. Within 20 minutes, Drunk Guy jumped up, yelled "I HAVE TO GO TO THE RESTROOM" which spurred me into such immediate action, I spilled my drink. He then proceeded to spend the next 20 minutes in the bathroom banging around. S was SO not amused.
He came back, sat down and grabbed a barf bag. I warned S. I like to call that MISTAKE NO. 2. She basically started sitting in my lap in order to avoid being thrown up on. While this was occurring, I realize Drunk Guy has a bloody nose and is wiping it with the barf bag. I immediately tell S to watch out for wayward body fluids. I like to call that MISTAKE NO. 3. Now S is over my lap and in the aisle declaring that she cannot and WILL not sit next to the guy. They have to move him to some other part of the plane. Panic has set in.
After assuring her that there was no secret place on the plane to put a grown drunk man, I come up with a solution - we switch seats. All this does is manage to calm her growing panic. However, we spent the next three hours half perched in our seats looking warily at drunk guy expecting the worse. Any idea how uncomfortable that is? Hugely.
Good news! Drunk guy never puked next to us. In fact, he never moved again. Bad news! He continued to bleed all over himself until such time as I offered him a napkin. He was down to wiping it on his coat collar. Sexy!
I learned a lot that flight. First class is always a better option. You might still have a drunk as a seat mate, but you will have more room. Also, know your coworkers and their phobias before you go on 3 hour plane rides with them.
I can only hope Drunk Guy learned something too.