There’s a new picture making its way around social media that I find quite detestable. But how do we effectively and rightly deal with seatmates on airplanes who just have no clue?
Dealing With A Pesky Barefoot Seatmate
This is the context of our discussion today:
— Rico Love (@IamRicoLove) March 28, 2021
For all I know, this was a staged photo. It is certainly recycled, as I wrote about it in 2019.
But for our discussion, it doesn’t matter. Let’s assume it was not.
So, how do you deal with this?
I can think of a number of possibilities:
- Tickle the toes
- Push the feet away
- Rapidly recline the seat
- Jab the feet with a pen
- Turn around and give the passenger of piece of your mind
- Alert a flight attendant
- Take pictures and post it on social media
- Ignore it
Let’s immediately rule out jabbing the foot with a pen or other sharp object for several reasons. One, it would constitute a disproportionate response. Two, it might subject you civil liability. Three, it might cause a nasty fight and diversion onboard.
Don’t Touch The Passenger…
You could take a picture and complain about it on Twitter and Instagram, which seems to be an increasing trend. But the bad seatmate may not be a jerk, just totally obvious to his poor behavior. Better to have a discussion onboard.
But should it be directed by you or by the flight attendant? The answer is, it depends. If the passengers seems combative or intoxicated (Is he swearing? Is he playing music loudly? Does he stink?), I would not engage. Summon the flight attendant by your call button or by getting up and finding one.
In most cases, however, turning around and asking the passenger to stop is enough. The passenger may brood because his gentle ego is damaged, but most people are going to stop being jerks.
If you start encountering kicking or a knee in your seatback, then get up and address the matter with a flight attendant out of earshot of the passenger.
Tickling the toes or pushing the feet away are not bad options, but best not to even touch at all.
We’ve seen horrible airline passenger antics over the last year, not always related to wealth, education, or sobriety. For a long time I would just snicker and watch. Not anymore. It’s time to speak up, but to speak up smartly.
How would you handle a pesky seatmate like the one pictured above?