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:
What would you do? #TTLO pic.twitter.com/nPbPPYjPQX
— 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?
Point the air vent at their feet.
Safe bet the bottom of their feet are cleaner than the bottom of your shoes.
Is that a defense, though, for this poor behavior?
When they get up to use the lavatory soak their seat with a soda. They’ll not be so comfortable and possibly change seats. If you’re itching to go the more unpleasant route then you can spill hot coffee on them and pretend it was an accident. In my experience, burning people usually guarantees results but will result in a bit of scene.
Fake-accidentally spill my beverage on their feet, then fake-apologize, leaving the liquid without wiping up.
Just fart a huge steamy fart on these disgusting feet and record the reaction.
You’ll become an instant social media celebrity and invited on CNN and Fox to explain how you came up with such a creative idea.
Turn around and start breathing hot air on their feet.
1. Push call button to summon a flight attendant. 2. When the flight attendant arrives, point up at the feet dangling above your head and make a face. 3. If that isn’t enough, make a complaint that another passenger is occupying your assigned seat. 4. If that still isn’t enough, take a photo of the situation and demand a refund from the airline for allowing someone else to occupy your seat with the consent of their employee.
They should be banned from life not only from planes but any public space.
Agree with InLA. This is FA business.
Order a very very very hot coffee or just water (preferably hotter than what Stella had ordered) and accidentally spill that on the passenger. Bonus point if it spills on the face, not feet.
Pick nose, wipe on offending feet. Easy.
Filthy creatures should be banned for life.
yes.. uneducated white-trash people. period. Sadly, this is some of what we carry these days… stay the hell home for all we care.
I smoke, so I always have a lighter on me…
Why is everyone so passive and afraid ??? Is it really so hard to JUST SAY SOMETHING ??.
“Do you mind.?… your feet are hanging right over my head”.
If they ignore that, time to get a flight attendant. I’m sure they will tell the person that they must removed their feet from the headrest.
This falls under FA making my experience “more comfortable and enjoyable”. Not me taking the risk of abusive escalated behavior.
I would turn around and say something in a calm but clear tone to the passenger and politely ask them to keep their feet off of the headrest. I suspect it would be effective. It normally is for me in those sorts of circumstances.
That said, I’m a 6’3″ 200+ lb white guy who is a million miler top tier elite with my airline of choice, so I have all the privileges (not that it’s right, but it’s true), and thus I am extraordinarily unlikely to suffer any negative consequences from doing so.
Others’ mileage may and in some cases almost certainly would vary…
Oh, and I’d also stand up and make a point of pulling out the sanitizing wipes I always carry (even before COVID) and obnoxiously wipe down where the feet were.
Spray alcohol on their feet. Or pour water on them.