Odour "trauma"

Old Sep 7, 09, 6:03 am
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Odour "trauma"

My apologies in advance for the whinge, but I had a rather horrid 11 hours on a BA flight today, as a result of a gentleman across the aisle having the most dreadful halitosis and my having to work on the flight, therefore being unable to go to sleep to simply block it out.

In case it (or similar odour-trauma) ever happens again, is there anything one can do to block out the odour from registering on one's nostrils/brain, other than to stuff cotton wool in the said orifices of mine?
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Old Sep 7, 09, 6:13 am
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Rubbing a bit of vicks on the upper lip is a trick used during autopsys. Well, on Silent Witness they do!
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Old Sep 7, 09, 6:25 am
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We used to suck mints when dealing with smelly dead things. The stronger the better!
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Old Sep 7, 09, 6:31 am
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Thank you Skimo and Jenbel.

To do those things for 10+ hours could be somewhat difficult (my teeth might complain about the sugar contents of mints and my upper lip would probably whinge about the constant application of Vicks). I guess it would be a welcome break even if I can't do it constantly.

This odour was even worse than some of the bad BO cases I've encountered

I was wondering on the flight how his wife (sitting next to him) copes with his halitosis - if my husband had a smelly breath, I'd send him to the washroom with toothpaste and toothbrush pronto.
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Old Sep 7, 09, 6:37 am
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post

I was wondering on the flight how his wife (sitting next to him) copes with his halitosis - if my husband had a smelly breath, I'd send him to the washroom with toothpaste and toothbrush pronto.
I wonder if she has it too - rather like dealing with garlic breath, have some yourself.
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Old Sep 7, 09, 6:41 am
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I have to admit I had some reservations about opening this thread after I read the title. I thought it was going to end up being one of "those" threads often seen on the FT boards of certain USA carriers.


In any case, rubbing Vicks at the base of your nose can help a bit.

It's times like these that you really wished you had a cold and a blocked nose.
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Old Sep 7, 09, 8:19 am
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Originally Posted by Skimo View Post
Rubbing a bit of vicks on the upper lip is a trick used during autopsys. Well, on Silent Witness they do!
On the corpse or the pathologist?
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Old Sep 7, 09, 8:28 am
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How ghastly! Having someone invade your olfactory space is worse than when they invade your aural or physical space because there doesn't seem to be a polite way to confront them or an easy way to avoid it. (Top tip for the wash BAgs: Vicks and/or nose plugs! )

Reminds me of a BA flight my sisters were on from JNB to LHR where a nauseating bad cheese smell started permeating the Y cabin. The crew were eventually asked to do something and apparently by dint of detective work (including crawling around on the floor with a torch) identified it as someone's smelly feet! They must have felt too bad to confront the culprit so made an announcement that everyone in Y was to keep their shoes on. In this case the guilty party was also travelling with his family - presumably they had developed immunity to the vile smell.
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Old Sep 7, 09, 6:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA View Post
How ghastly! Having someone invade your olfactory space is worse than when they invade your aural or physical space because there doesn't seem to be a polite way to confront them or an easy way to avoid it. (Top tip for the wash BAgs: Vicks and/or nose plugs! )
Indeed, that's the problem. So it comes down to 'self-defence' through available means. I'll have to get mints and Vicks for my next flight.

Reminds me of a BA flight my sisters were on from JNB to LHR where a nauseating bad cheese smell started permeating the Y cabin. The crew were eventually asked to do something and apparently by dint of detective work (including crawling around on the floor with a torch) identified it as someone's smelly feet!
It must have been pretty awful (and strong smell!). I guess 'shoes on' sorted out the problem? I hope so.

Speaking of feet, why do people in 29A (WT+ on 747 behind the 'single' seat exit row' 28B) feel it's OK to put their feet up on the pedestal next to 28B? Don't they realise how rude it is (with or without the smell), considering how obviously close it is to the face of the passenger in 28B? I'm genuinely a bit shocked at this behaviour.
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Old Sep 7, 09, 6:54 pm
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Originally Posted by OPebble View Post
On the corpse or the pathologist?
No. One of the student nurses.

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Old Sep 7, 09, 7:14 pm
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Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA View Post
Reminds me of a BA flight my sisters were on from JNB to LHR where a nauseating bad cheese smell started permeating the Y cabin. The crew were eventually asked to do something and apparently by dint of detective work (including crawling around on the floor with a torch) identified it as someone's smelly feet! They must have felt too bad to confront the culprit so made an announcement that everyone in Y was to keep their shoes on. In this case the guilty party was also travelling with his family - presumably they had developed immunity to the vile smell.
Ages ago, I used to fly (in Y, mind you) with some rather smelly French cheeses (Pont l'Eveque, Epoisses, that kind of thing) as the catering "down-the-back" didn't really suit me. No incidents to speak of (on rare occasions cabin crew were gentle enough to bring a glass or two of a nice Bordeaux or Port from F to accompany it), but I can now see how the odor of the cheese (I promise my own hygiene was impeccable... ) might have been an ill-advised travel choice.

It's probably been ten years at least since I've "repatriated French cheese" as I called it then (I'd usually buy it at my gourmet grocer in California and carry it on longhauls that eventually left me in France...)
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Old Sep 7, 09, 11:41 pm
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post

Speaking of feet, why do people in 29A (WT+ on 747 behind the 'single' seat exit row' 28B) feel it's OK to put their feet up on the pedestal next to 28B? Don't they realise how rude it is (with or without the smell), considering how obviously close it is to the face of the passenger in 28B? I'm genuinely a bit shocked at this behaviour.
No only that, I sometimes find a stray feet poking through between the WT+ seats on the middle arm rest! I usually respond with a bit of an elbow nudge - I imagine they may have put their feet up on the back end support of the arm rest and it slips upwards and through the gap to say hello! to me.

Luckily I've not encountered smelly feet yet.
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Old Sep 8, 09, 1:48 am
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In an emergency situation like this I'd have grabbed a couple of whisky miniatures and rubbed it on my upper lip in place of Vicks.
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Old Sep 8, 09, 2:41 am
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Actually mix some toothpaste with whisky in a glass then apply on upper lip! Home made Vicks... (Don't forget and drink though - yuck!)
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Old Sep 8, 09, 2:44 am
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BA's lack of personal air vents exasperates issues like these. If you had a personal air vent, you could turn it on and use it as an air curtain, or to provide you with other air.

Not much you can do really, except live with the issue unfortunately and/or implement some of the workarounds mentioned.
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