The Pervert, His Wiener and Other Unsavory Airplane Passengers

17 Oct

I am flying first class when a businessman in a suit and Stetson cowboy hat suddenly locks his tray table, then asks if I’d mind holding his wiener.  It’s a joke apparently, a real stupid one.  He’s on his way to the cramped lavatory and has no other place to put the jumbo hot dog he picked up at the food court in the airport before boarding.  I’m young, maybe sixteen.  This was on a trip bound for the Lone Star State and the thought of sitting paired up with this sleazy fool for the remaining two hours makes me want to pull out the air sickness bag in the seat pocket in front of me and use it.

Years later on yet another flight to the South when I’m slumming it in coach, I notice a geek in a plaid short sleeve shirt seated on the aisle openly gawking at images of women in wet t-shirts and thong bikini bottoms on his laptop.  At one point during his high elevation peep show, a flight attendant comes by and takes his drink order.  Boldly, he doesn’t try and cover up the screen.  He orders two tiny bottles of vodka and passes on the plastic cup.  I’m surprised that he doesn’t put the cash for the alcohol in the flight attendant’s modest cleavage.  For nearly an hour he scrolls up and down, up and down on the blur of hot body parts under his fingertips.  By the time the pilot gets on the speaker to point out Dick’s Knob, the third highest peak in the Georgia wilderness, I look away as the geek abruptly gets up for I know what is coming next.

Men are not the only high flying gender that are taking full advantage of the friendly skies.  I’ve seen plenty of women putting the moves on unsuspecting men who are bound in their seats by a  belt, a warning light overhead, and a deadly drop of nearly thirty-five thousand feet.  There was an older, silver-haired New York woman in heavy make-up and expensive clothing who kept offering up an internship at her firm to a good looking male college student if he’d just help her with her luggage, not just out of the airport but all the way into her apartment on the Upper East Side.  Her husband was out of town was her come on line and she needed someone to help her unpack her unmentionables.  One female flight attendant recognized the former star football player from her high school and spent the twenty minute descent into Phoenix defying the captain’s orders of finding a seat.  She pushed and pushed on the corner cushion of mine, taking the top half of me with her, as she leaned on the poor guy, grilling him about the satisfaction of his sex life with his current girlfriend.

It is no wonder then on a returning flight from Nashville that I complain to a Southwest worker after he tries to separate me and my stepson – at the time he is only ten years old.  There are no actual seat assignments given.  Instead a passenger gets a plastic placard with a number of when that group is allowed to board and ours are in the lowly C section.  “I’m sorry, ma’am,” the Southwest representative says in his persnickety, uptight airline speak.  “But the rules only apply to small children who can’t care for themselves.”

Who will protect my stepson, I ask him, from the kind of sexually driven passengers I suspect might be on the near four hour nonstop ride?   The airline worker doesn’t have an answer, but I do.  My stepson and I will be seated together, period.  However, not before the plane is delayed and airport security is called.  I am put on what could possibly be a permanent Southwest watch list.  I am the real problem passenger that prudish stepmother determined to shield her child from those on board who are most noticeably shameless, practically R rated, in their manner of amusing themselves until touchdown.


Leave a Reply


  1. Carrie

    October 19, 2010 at 9:27 am

    This is hysterical! Who hasn’t sat behind a total creep.

    • Belinda R.

      October 19, 2010 at 11:10 am

      You make me never want to fly again! I’m serious. Sure hope that guy at Southwest wasn’t sucessful in separating you and your kid.

  2. Fiona

    October 19, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Hi Paula,

    Just found your blog (searching for details of your memoir), some nicely written pieces on here. I did smile at this particular one, but you’re right to draw more serious attention to a serious issue of children being separated on airline flights – totally agree.

    best wishes,
    Fiona (connected to the Barry Brown site)

    • Paula

      October 19, 2010 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks for the posts! Separating children from their parents on flights is a troubling issue, especially with the kind of sick people who like to take full advantage of having a captive audience.

      Thanks, Fiona for reading my other pieces and for looking up info on my memoir. Etruscan Press is a fine place – they care about good writing and there is no underhanded game playing. They’re just starting to talk about book covers so it’s all very exciting.

      • Miles

        October 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm

        I really enjoyed this piece. Such smart humor. Please keep up the blog and the book writing. You certainly have an ever watchful fan here!

  3. Chris

    October 20, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    cool site. as a guy, i’ve had a similar experience happen to me on a really long flight back from europe.

    • Sandra

      October 21, 2010 at 9:54 am

      Southwest made my two kids sit on diferent parts of the plane. I was worried the whole flight if something went wrong like there would be turbulence. Greed shouldn’t dictate a child’s safety. I stopped flying Southwest.

  4. Jasmine

    October 21, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Your piece makes me wonder why there aren’t imposed regulations of decency on board airplanes? Seems to be rules about everything else.

  5. Belinda R.

    October 22, 2010 at 10:34 am

    All the airlines care about, especially the cheaper ones like Southwest, is packing us all in and making money off our misery. One day something bad will happen to a kid that’s been forced to sit away from his family; only then it will be too late.

    • Soccer Mom

      October 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm

      Your writing is so entertaining! Please keep up the blog. I’ve read through all your pieces three times. You remind me a little of a female David Sedaris only funnier and more clever!

  6. Sedaris Fan

    November 21, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    My cousin recommended your blog and he was totally right! I couldn’t stop laughing, especially this one about flying. clever stuff.

  7. Frank

    December 4, 2010 at 2:58 am

    Enjoy your posts, especially this one about strange airplane passengers and the one about the holiday tree/political correctness. Do you know if they make any safeguards against hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any recommendations?

    • Paula

      December 4, 2010 at 6:57 am

      As someone who has had all of her work hacked into from my own writing to something as simple and as personal as an email to a friend, I wish there was something that could definitively prevent it. I don’t understand why someone would get off on getting into someone else’s privacy. All it does is alienate one person from the other. It also makes one go old school again and write longer works (like the new novel I’m working on) in college-lined notebooks. I do know of someone who is a specialist that has recently agreed to help me try and stop it from occurring.

  8. Tina K.

    February 27, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I’ve read all of your blog, but this one is the most hilarious! Loved it. Thanks for sharing your talent on the internet.

  9. New Reader

    March 13, 2011 at 5:48 am

    This was hysterical, probably one of my favorite blog entries. A friend suggested I check out your site. An hour later I realized I was still enjoying it.