A 32-year-old woman was put off a JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale to Las Vegas last week after launching a profanity-laced tirade before takeoff.
Her original complaint? “I’m not sitting [next] to a f---ing 3-year-old. I’ve been drinking all day.”
One thing led to another — screaming, cursing, spitting, flailing — and she got thrown off the flight.
OK, she wasn’t actually thrown off. More’s the pity. From my perspective, it would have been more satisfying to watch her smack the tarmac before being dragged off to jail, which is where she ended up.
Watching YouTube videos of drunks and deranged people being “escorted” off planes is one of my favorite pastimes. Not everyone deserves it, but most of them clearly have it coming.
I’m not a fan of flying. I’m not afraid of being 35,000 feet in the air and traveling at 700 mph. Nor do I find the idea of hitting a mountain all that alarming.
But I’m claustrophobic in crowds, so I hate being densely packed into a confined space that I can’t get out of until someone else lets me.
I’ve logged more than my fair share of air miles. I’ve learned to pack appropriately for my condition — earplugs, meds, music, sleep mask, etc.
But even those aids can’t shut out all my fellow passengers. Invariably someone will do something that invades the bubble I call “my space.” I try to make the best of it rather than lose my stuff over something that can’t be helped.
For example, I once had an elderly guy fall asleep on my shoulder between Denver and Washington, D.C.
I could have shrugged him off or complained about it, but he had a smeary 82nd Airborne insignia tattooed on his wrinkled arm. I did the math and decided to leave well enough alone.
When the guy woke up, he was mortified. He had drooled a bit on my windbreaker. He turned bright red with humiliation.
When he wouldn’t stop saying how sorry he was, I pointed to his tattoo and said that I and everyone else on the damn plane probably owed him more than just a nap. He stopped apologizing, but he got a little teary.
I’m not always that tolerant. Screaming babies on planes drive me nuts. I have to do something about them.
On another long flight, a toddler across the aisle wouldn’t stop screaming. It probably had something to do with his inner ear or maybe he was just being difficult. I didn’t care.
Mom was well aware that her brat was bothering other passengers, but there was nothing she could do except rock him. But I could.
I got out a little flashlight and shined it in his face. Truthfully, I was just trying to wind him up to the point of exhaustion. But the screams became distracted wails, then whimpered curiosity, and finally genuine gurgled interest.
Long story short, I spent two hours with little Johnny in my lap, letting him sort through my pockets and shine the light on other passengers. He even shined it on the attendants, who for some reason offered me a complimentary alcoholic beverage.
The child and I were co-conspirators until he unloaded in his diaper. I gave him to Mom. She brought him right back. When the plane landed, I had to let him take the flashlight so he wouldn’t cry. Damn kid. I liked that flashlight.
People, regardless of what airline we fly, we’re all flying united. Could we please hold it together for as long as it takes to get from Point A to Point B?
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.