Trying to be as gentle as possible, I’ll just say this—I have never shared a first class cabin with someone with such poor behavior.
It started in the Star Alliance First Class Lounge at LAX. An escort arrived to take four passengers to the gate for boarding. She had advised us a half-hour prior that she would pick up at 6:45p for our 7:15p departure. An escort, of course, is not mandatory, but a nice touch and so not surprisingly, the four passengers in the lounge said yes to the service.
But when it came to go, one passenger kept three waiting. A gentleman wearing a bright turquoise shirt, white pants, and excessive gold jewelry decided he had another call to make. He knew it was time to board, he knew there were others waiting, but rather than just making the call as he walked or directing us to proceed without him, he snapped his fingers and held up his index finger, indicating that we should wait.
And so we waited. And waited. He kept talking. Talking.
Nine minutes later, he finished and we left for the aircraft. His phone rang and he stopped in the middle of the concourse to answer it. This time we all kept walking and after he saw we were several paces ahead, he began walking too.
Things Get Worse Onboard
Onboard the plane: the telephone conversation continued. He took his seat in 2K, with me across the aisle.
The door closed, we pushed back, but the man was still on the phone.
A FA politely advised him to cease his conversation, but he ignored her. As in, he made hand motions like he was swatting away a fly. I’m not joking.
The crew was extremely patient. They reasoned, coaxed, and tried to cajole him into compliance. Finally the purser appeared and sternly (but still politely) said he must end his call.
“WHY?!! WHY SHOULD I DO THAT? EVEYRONE ELSE IS SPEAKING ON THEIR PHONES!”
In a remarkably calm response to the shrill yelling, the purser looked around the cabin and confirmed to the man that no one else was making any calls.
With a sigh loud enough for business class to hear, he hung up his phone. The purser walked away and he immediately re-connected to his call…
In first class on the 747-8, a shoulder harness is required. The passenger did not want to wear his. A FA went around the cabin helping each passenger place their safety belt on. When she came to the man, she placed it on him.
He immediately took it off.
The FA said that he must wear it.
“WHY SHOULD I WEAR THIS THING? I DON’T NEED IT!”
The FA calmly explained it was a safety requirement. The man shook his head in anger as she re-applied it.
But moments after the FA walked away, he removed it again. Another FA walked by and placed it on him again. She walked away and he took it off again.
Yes, it was going to be one of those flights.
As we roared down the runway at LAX, he was still on his phone. Thankfully, his signal cut out.
He stood up, unbuckled his safety belt, and walked to the lavatory. Mind you, we were still on a fairly steep ascent.
Our Story Gets Worse: Bathing in Cologne
Our friend emerged from the lavatory barefoot and with a revoltingly strong scent of cologne. It smelled like he literally bathed in it.
I complained about my seatmate who smelled like pot last month, but this was 10x worse. The whole cabin turned to look at him. The smell was absolutely overwhelming.
A FA entered the cabin and a look of visible disgust spread across her face as she too was overwhelmed by the stench. She did not even bother to scold the man for not observing the seat belt sign. I don’t know how else to describe the smell except to say it was so overwhelming it immediately gave me a headache.
I told the FA (in German) that I could not bear the smell and she said she also had a headache and could not either. She turned on the a/c and attempted to re-circulate the air in the cabin. It worked…to the extent the smell went from unbearable to merely unpleasant, but it was still bad. Very bad.
Meal Service Issues
Let’s fast-forward a bit. Meal orders were taken and the man ordered the seafood entrée, but promptly fell asleep.
We hit an extended patch of rough turbulence, as we headed further north (we flew a Polar route) that severely prolonged the meal service. At one point, the shaking was so bad that the captain advised FAs to be seated, which is very rare on Lufthansa.
Finally we reached an area of just light chop. FAs rushed main courses out, stating that the captain had advised that we would soon be hitting turbulence again.
The man had been sleeping and thus was passed over for the caviar, appetizer, and salad course. He was awakened for the main course and flipped out, angry that he had been awakened and moments later angry that his main course was not hot enough.
It’s true, the food was not as good as usual because of the 40-minutes of turbulence. My steak was well-done. But I don’t fault the FAs. They did their best under the circumstances.
He told the FA he did not want to see her again and demanded to speak to the purser.
What do you do with a passenger like this?
The purser arrived and politely but promptly told the man that he was not to put on any more cologne.
The man, holding a Nigerian passport, went ballistic. He accused the purser of being racist. He claimed to be humiliated.
Another FA was with the purser and she did an amazing job of calming the man down. She promised she would make him a fresh dinner and even as the turbulence returned, she offered him all the appetizers he had slept through before returning with a beautifully-presented main course.
The man was happy again.
He fell asleep, I fell asleep, and we did not hear from him again during the flight. He slept through breakfast and awoke just prior to landing.
Maybe, just maybe, if the only issue had been the meal service fight I would not have been so hard on the man. But his antics in the lounge and particularly onboard the aircraft prior to pushback were so disgusting that I’d rate him as the worst seatmate I’ve ever had…
My admiration goes out to the crew who had to deal with him. Had this been a United Airlines flight he would have been kicked off so fast he would not have known what hit (or dragged) him.
Well, basically one can say just… wauuuu… very different cultural background, that’s for sure.
I’m a pilot for a US 121 carrier and in 20 years of flying I’ve only once been involved in kicking a passenger off a flight who was obviously drunk (FAA rules you can’t be drunk and fly), non-compliant and cussing at the FAs.
This guy would have and should have been number two after his repeated non compliance with the seat belt and phone rules. His getting up just after takeoff put other passengers at risk and his behavior during the flight is a prime example of why people who won’t comply on the ground shouldn’t be allowed in the air. As I often tell my FAs “problem children don’t tend to behave better in small pressurized metal tubes at high altitude.”
Or bitten by an ESA dog…. strong smell can agitate dogs…..
If LH has any sense, they should ban him from flying LH again.
Sadly that’s not possible
How come it is possible (and happens regularly) on LCCs and on on Lufthansa?
The only explanation I have for his behavior, is that he was quite possibly on bath salts.
Such first world problems….need I say more?
Exactly!!! Oh my, was your white wine spritzer not to your liking? TRY RIDING THE A TRAIN IN AUGUST
Hope you let luftanasa know in defense of flight team what they had to deal with.
This is actually a great suggestion. Write to LH to commend the crew – just in case this other passenger showers them in complaints.
Some people are happy being miserable.
This is one of those times when FAs may or may not slip a Valium into the man’s food.
“The man, holding a Nigerian passport”
least surprising thing I have ever read…
Between the passport and the behavior, OBVIOUSLY he was Nigerian prince. Duh.
In that case, he owes me like US$57,00,000.
His behaviour has nothing to do with his passport or his nationality, pls. There are such ill mannered people from all nationalities.
Like seriously! Do you know any Nigerians? If you do and all have behaved in this way, all I can say is you attract what you are!!!
Sir, You are hell bent on peddling this negative image and denigrating Nigerians, all 150 odd million of us. Granted his was extremely embarrassingly bad behaviour but he could have been from any country. Mentioning his nationality was irrelevant and by doing so and subsequently including this link to buttress your point unveils your true intentions. Clearly the issue lies in the fact that an African man “fortunate enough” to step foot into 1st class (previously the preserve of the wealthy white contingent) would have the gall to behave so disgracefully arrogantly. Why don’t you post something about the British football yobs, chavs or trailer trash Americans that frequent shows like jerry springer (or even trump who would probably have behaved similarly if he didn’t have the means to afford private jets) and stop attempting to label our nation just because you’ve been afforded the power of the pen. Really, give it a rest!
I assure you that is not my intention. I only mentioned it because it provided context for his racist charge.
An over-exaggerated narrative to make copy.
“Turquoise shirt , white trousers and excessive gold jewellery”. Caricature of the monied African. ( no class, no taste) I see where the writer is going…. and predictable comments in response.
What a Jackass. Too bad the crew didn’t have a Taser.
I wonder if he’s a prince who successfully managed to leave with his fortune…or a chap who had successfully relieved one of his!
I hope this wasn’t the flight you had been looking forward to with your family. Horrible!
Thankfully it was not or I would have been devastated!
While this is a particularly nasty story, in my experience about half the privileged, self-important turds in first and biz behave badly, the most common thing being drinking themselves into oblivion to “get their moneys worth” and acting like loud boors enroute to passing out. Yes, there are polite, respectful, nice people too — but it seems like your experience, while extreme, ain’t that uncommon.
Dale – I get to travel in Business Class on my long haul International trips and domestically(in US) I get upgrades to First here and there if I don’t buy First. Honestly I have not seen the boorish behavior that you attribute to First/Biz passengers. My flights have almost always been with quiet, mostly pleasant and calm passengers. I’ve honestly seen a lot worse in the coach section and again even there, most people are quiet and just want to get from point A to B.
There are always some jerks in the world but overall most people are not.
Sounds like the man has stumbled onto new-found money. But none of the etiquettes of being civilized.
Black privilege. Lol
New one on me.
What exactly do you mean by black prvilliage??
The picture shows in 2K, not 2A.
What does him having a Nigerian passport have anything to do with it?
Good job passively aggressive bring up his nationality.
He brought it up when he played the race card against the Lufthansa FAs
It has everything to do with it…
The cologne was probably a strategy to throw off the drug sniffing dogs.
It’s not racial, but everyone deserves to know.
Nigerian passport not euqal Nigerian ethnics, like US passport not guarantees Caucasians. If there is a pic it would be easier to identify his ethnicity.
I didn’t take a picture of his face and even if I did, probably would not post it.
Very bad that other customers had to put up with his antics..and the time taken with him by the FA’s He really felt like he was Mr. important… above all…and to mention the race card tacky!!!!
You taking pictures on board again? lol 😛
Thanks for your kind words – you made my day!
Hope to see you soon ✈️ Miki the FA
Miki! Thanks for reading. Thanks for the wonderful flight, despite our character onboard.
Matthew, there is no doubt that you and the FA’s were just picking on that first class passenger, because of his ethnicity; shame on all of you!
Oh yeah, that’s it!
Strange they didn’t start the meal service from scratch for him without asking.
It’s First Class. Dine on demand should be understood – at least ask him before just bringing a main course.
That was poor form.
Don’t worry – we asked him…
Some people deserve a beating. Sorry, but they really do. I’d wait until he used a bathroom on landing. If he was bigger than me, I’d recruit an accomplice. Would have been easy to find 1 or 2 to join me on that flight.
Today aa first from Mia to uvf. An american male went on drinking beer, burped loudly all the time, went to the bathroom barefoot…..
I am an air purser as well… unfortunately passenger like him are not a rare species. I have been called names I don’t want to repeat here. in most cases such insults bounce off your uniform.
Take it easy Matthew, we all have bad days in the office and this sounds like one of them. You’re still young. Next time put on your headphones and listen to some music or watch a movie or at worst take a Lexotan and chill out completely. You can’t control everything so try and make sure you don’t ruin your flight.
Stop crying racist. No one would say anything if he said “a French guy”. It IS relevant that he is Nigerian. We are all ambassadors for our countries, so we must all behave well at all times, and we should be called out if we behave poorly. If you’re Nigerian and you read this article, you should put in extra effort to be super nice next time you fly to make up for this jerks behaviour.