Good lord, he stank. It was so bad I was nauseated at times as the smell hit me repeatedly, in waves, throughout the lengthy flight. Yep, this travel horror story is one that I am sure we’ve all had to deal with at least once in our travel career: the smelly passenger.
A bad travel experience is kind of like a badge of honor. Travel enough and you are bound to have a few, and for business travel pros like me, it’s really only a matter of when you will have another one. With as long as I’ve been doing this, I started to realize I have had quite a few. Enough to start a series which I’ve entitled: “The Travel Horror Story Series.” In this series, I will share a single horrible experience that I have had while traveling because misery loves company.
From missing a connection by literally seconds to engine blowouts, to upset stomachs, the Loud Talker, the Lady who Won’t Shut Up, showing up at the wrong hotel late at night, to customers threatening to fight you, hangovers, screaming babies, and even the smelly passenger. We’ve all been there.
In this first #travelhorrorstory (a republishing, mind you), I bring you the “The Smelly Passenger.”
The Smeller Passenger – travel horror story #1
It was a Delta flight from San Diego to JFK. I was on a Boeing 767 – you know the ones that have 3 seats in the middle and 2 on the outside.
I was in the middle section – the direct middle. I did not get the upgrade (and it was early in my travel days on this airplane so I didn’t have much status). The plane was mostly boarded and I was already eyeing the seat next to me…that lovely aisle seat which would have given a full seat of space between me and the lady next to me. It was empty…so far. And for that 5+ hour flight, I coveted it dearly.
Yet, within seconds of the boarding door being closed, the last passenger arrived and while there were a few other empty seats on the plane we all know what happened. He came to mine. Because, Murphy’s Law.
In addition to losing the potential aisle seat and being stuck in the middle seat for hours, he stank.
I am pretty sure he’d literally come straight from work to the plane, sans a shower. I imagine he’d been working all day and rushed to the flight. And boy did he stink.
His BO was overpowering. Wave after wave kept hitting me all flight. All 5+ hours of the flight to NYC. I literally gagged from time to time it was so bad. Nothing could be done.
I have a rule for dealing w/ situations like that – something I picked up in the Marine Corps. Basically, it’s this: nothing lasts forever. The push-ups you are doing, the run you are on, the flight w/ the smelly passenger. That insane travel delay. It *will* end. Eventually. This is actually a key travel hack tip that I share in my article 101 Travel Hacks for the Business Traveler.
And it did end.
In fairness to him, he was a nice enough fella actually. What broken English he knew and clumsy Spanish I knew didn’t get us very far, but he was happy to give up elbow room for my middle seat and was polite. Who knows why he wasn’t able to clean up, or why he was traveling, or what his life situation was. I don’t know if he knew how bad he smelled, or maybe just didn’t care, but I couldn’t get off that plane fast enough.
That’s my smelly passenger story, what’s yours?
If like you more smelly passengers check this episode of TV out:
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