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THE Lowly Peon

Stuck in the Middle 
19 December 2009, 11:39am

My flight from Shanghai Pudong to Chicago yesterday was awful.

After my few-hour journey from Hangzhou to the Pudong airport in Shanghai, my cold was feeling better, I had just eaten a big lunch, and I was ready to get things underway. The flight was very sold out, so I was stuck in seat 20E. Which means a middle seat of five. I had prepared for it to be horrible, but had no idea.

I was the first in my row to board the plane, since I'm a premier member and all that good stuff. I was reading my RSS feeds when a 4 or so year old girl walked up on my right, and her dad shoved her into the row with me. No problem, I thought. She looks well behaved. Her boredom will probably become bothersome, but so will mine. No problem.

Then another girl, maybe 3, walked up on my left side. Her mom told her to sit down. She threw a fit because she didn't want to sit next to the stranger. I realized soon after that I was the stranger. Sweet. A Peter sandwich, between to 3-4 year old kids.

The whole flight was miserable. The parents kept pretending to care that the kids were poorly behaved, kicking the chairs in front of them, whining all the time. The parents were no better — they frequently passed things to each other over me, saying things like "oh I'm so sorry to be bothering you" in such a falsely genuine way. The kid on my right fell asleep with her head on my arm rest, which eventually became my leg. I tried to push her off but didn't want to scare her. Eventually her dad noticed (after an hour?) and told her to move. Which she did. For about ten minutes.

The other kid (left, younger one) thought it would be fun to crawl under my legs all the time to hang out with her sister. Sweet.

The parents completely neglected their kids, and fell asleep in the aisle seats, sprawled out like they were in business class. I couldn't believe how inconsiderate they were, especially considering I request twice that I switch with one of them so the kids could be together.

Think about this. They were exhausted from each putting up with one kid; I had to put up with two.

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[19 December 2009]

So completely inappropriate that they wouldn't switch! It's a family!!



[19 December 2009]

Wait. The people on both sides of you were with the same group, had kids and didn't offer to exchange seats with you?

They should be shot.


THE Lowly Peon

[20 December 2009]

bentomas: not only did they not offer, but they even reserved those seats. they knew what they were doing.