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Awkward/Uncomfortable Situation - Passenger Encroachment - What to do?

Awkward/Uncomfortable Situation - Passenger Encroachment - What to do?

Old Mar 22, 19, 10:41 pm
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Awkward/Uncomfortable Situation - Passenger Encroachment - What to do?

I've been flying for many years now and fortunately, I haven't found myself in this situation before, but this week on a flight, a DYKWIA type passenger was seated next to me. Normally, the DYKWIA types don't bother me, but this one was quite unique. He put on his eye mask and attempted to get comfortable taking both armrests. No biggie right, we've all seen this type of people before. But what irked me was for half the flight, his head was encroached in my space, forcing me to sit up during most of the flight. The other half of the time, he situated his body on the seat and turned facing me (and then the other passenger as well). Ewwww right?!? I know he had his eye mask on, but I still didn't want someone practically breathing on me!

Has anyone else encountered a similar uncomfortable situation? How did you address it? Looking back, I really should have confronted the situation, but would that have caused even more awkwardness during our 4hr+ flight? (Ironically, on the return flight, I almost selected a seat next to the same passenger! I was so relieved to see him seated and happily walked past him. :-)



Passenger encroachment. What would you do?
Dudey is offline  
Old Mar 22, 19, 10:43 pm
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Why didn't you speak up???
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Old Mar 22, 19, 10:45 pm
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Originally Posted by malgudi View Post
Why didn't you speak up???
I'm usually not the confrontational type.... but maybe I should have? Would that have made the situation worst? I dunno...
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Old Mar 22, 19, 10:50 pm
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Originally Posted by Dudey View Post
Would that have made the situation worst? I dunno...
It might have. Dealing with anti-social behavior can be a real no win situation.

Honestly, this is the #1 reason to fly domestic F (and one of the two principal reasons I stopped flying WN).
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Old Mar 22, 19, 11:00 pm
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In these kinds of cases, I find a way to gently nudge him/her, enough so that the person wakes up adjusts themselves.
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Old Mar 22, 19, 11:09 pm
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Don't sit there and feel miserable, but rather wake him up (nicely of course) and ask him to sit up. If that doesn't work, ask an FA to reseat you (or him).
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Old Mar 22, 19, 11:12 pm
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Originally Posted by FlytheTail View Post
In these kinds of cases, I find a way to gently nudge him/her, enough so that the person wakes up adjusts themselves.
This I tried, but to no avail. He seemed to be even more comfortable resetting on my shoulder, despite the shrugs.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 1:29 am
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Originally Posted by Dudey View Post
This I tried, but to no avail. He seemed to be even more comfortable resetting on my shoulder, despite the shrugs.
Then I would try again, and next time not so gentle ; )
But seriously, why not just flag down an FA and let them deal with it?

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Old Mar 23, 19, 1:45 am
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That looks really bad. It is hard to believe that people behave this way but some of them do. I think I would have gotten the FA involved, although when I was younger I probably would have put up with it.

Recently I had two incidents. In one, a young and very thin woman sat next to me in coach in the middle seat on a short flight within California. She contorted herself to sort of curl up in her seat, with her feet all the way up on the seat, ending up facing either me (window) or the person in the aisle seat, and proceeded to nap with an eye mask on. She intruded into my space several times and finally when her foot ended up on my knee, I asked her politely to fix the situation. She did so in a polite but annoyed fashion and continued with the contortions throughout the flight. My guess is that she came in from a flight from Asia and was jet lagged but still it was annoying and socially inappropriate.

I had an even more unpleasant experience on a flight in domestic J (flat seat) with a very entitled middle aged man (my age!). From the moment he arrived, he took up more than his share of space in a metaphorical sense, acting very agitated and huffy and using up the entire shared table for his boarding pass, iPad, glasses—whatever he cared to toss there. The best way I can describe this is that he was going out of his way to encroach in a dramatic fashion, sort of inviting a confrontation. After this had gone on for about an hour, he put his drink down on my side of the shared table when I had picked up mine, meaning I had nowhere to return my own drink.

At that point, I told him very bluntly to keep his belongings on his side of the table. He then began to have a temper tantrum, which I ignored other than to ask him to have some common courtesy. I was about to call the FA when he calmed down. He behaved for the rest of the flight and seemed somewhat embarrassed. He was steadily knocking back drinks in flight and it later occurred to me that he may have been drunk when he arrived.

95% of the time, a very minor comment or glance is sufficient to deal with situations like this but when it goes on, the direct approach is necessary.




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Old Mar 23, 19, 7:17 am
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Some folks are unaware of their actions and others are fully aware people are non confrontational. You paid for your seat and space. Maintain your borders by demanding your space. They may be pissed but not your problem,
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Old Mar 23, 19, 8:33 am
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Didn't I see this happen when Bart and Lisa were fighting over who was in who's space in the back seat of Homer's car? Or maybe it was Wally and the Beaver arguing in the back of Ward's car.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 8:40 am
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If its a grown man, I will wake {him} up and tell him to check himself.

You should have no problem telling someone to get out of your space. Say it with polite authority.

I had a man sitting in the middle seat working on his laptop in such a way that he kept elbowing me in the side with his elbows on the armrest (I always give the middle seat person control of the armrest). I calmly and politely but clearly told him: "Sir, you have been elbowing me in the side for the past 20 minutes, could you please stop?". He apologized and put his laptop away.

I had a 20 something woman fall asleep with her head on my shoulder and I merely got the FA's attention, and she gently woke the young lady up. I didn't want to be seen as doing anything inappropriate. Of course, the young lady was embarrassed and apologized, but I knew it wasn't her fault.

Some people are pushy and will continue to push those boundaries until you check their behavior. If you remain passive, they take that as permission.
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 23, 19 at 9:10 am Reason: Using symbols, spaces or other methods to mask vulgarities is not allowed.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 8:43 am
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Just say something short and direct that starts with "excuse me..." and ends with "thank you".
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Old Mar 23, 19, 8:59 am
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Originally Posted by sfolawyer View Post
After this had gone on for about an hour, he put his drink down on my side of the shared table when I had picked up mine, meaning I had nowhere to return my own drink.


Thats where you pick up the drink, bring it up front to the FA and tell them you're all done with that one. Or call the FA over and give it to them.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 9:04 am
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer View Post
Thats where you pick up the drink, bring it up front to the FA and tell them you're all done with that one. Or call the FA over and give it to them.
or just start drinking his too
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