I was so excited because I was going to Jacksonville, Florida to spend a couple of weeks with my sister. Once on the plane I discovered they were over booked and the only seat remaining for me, even though I had purchased a non smoking seat, was in the smoking section. It was the first row in the section behind the non smokers and my seat was in the middle of a three seat row.
Sitting by the window was this middle aged woman who was from Miami and she was on her way home. She told me she wouldn’t smoke while we were seated together, since I had asked the stewardess again for the non smoking seat. I thanked her and we started to visit and get acquainted. She was very nice and we enjoyed each others company all the way to Jacksonville.
The guy sitting in the isle seat was another story. She informed me he had boarded the plane in Seattle when she did. He was in the Navy and was headed to Orlando on his leave and he had been drinking before they got on the plane in Seattle. I glanced over at him and he had twenty dollar bills sticking out of his shirt pocket and I could see some hanging out of his jeans pocket also.
He had been buying drinks all the way from Seattle to Wichita and was really drunk. At that time Kansas was a dry state and you couldn’t buy a drink in Kansas and as long as the plane was in Kansas air space you couldn’t get a drink either. He was getting really agitated that he couldn’t have a drink while the plane was on the ground.
Once we were in the air he took a cigarette out of his shirt pocket and lit it up. He was so drunk that it took several tries for him to get the lighter to touch the tip of the cigarette. He took several long drags on it and then let his hand fall to the arm rest.
He immediately fell asleep, his head falling forward with his chin resting on his chest. The cigarette was still dangling from the fingers of his right hand, the smoke billowing up into my face.
The gal by the window looked at him and then at me and rolled her eyes. “OH FOR THE LOVE OF PETE!!!” Then she stretched across me and took the cigarette out of his hand, shoved his hand out of the way so it fell on his lap and put the cigarette in the ash tray, then slammed the lid down on it snuffing the fire out and breaking it in half.
We began to visit again, and she was telling me about Florida, when a short time into our conversation he woke up. The first thing he did was pick the hand up that had been holding the cigarette and tried to take a puff.
When he realized it wasn’t there he looked at his hand like it was a foreign object and looked all around his seat and the floor as he tried to figure out what had happened to the cigarette he remembered lighting. My seat mate and I were about to choke from suppressing our giggles while watching him.
Once he decided that it really wasn’t there he took another one out his pocket and shakily lit the end, taking several long puffs. Then his eyes grew heavy again and the right hand dropped to the arm rest, with the cigarette dangling from his fingers again. He was sound asleep with his chin on his chest again.
“OH FOR THE LOVE OF!!!” Again she stretched across me and took the cigarette and slammed it into the ash tray snuffing it and breaking it in half. This time we both laughed until the tears rolled.
The next time he woke up he went through the same routine, but decided to forget the cigarette because the stewardess was coming down the aisle. The other gal and I decided to have a soft drink and he wanted bourbon. She looked at him with a disgusted look and told him he couldn’t have any more because he had been drinking too much already.
She then turned to ask the people on the other side of the aisle what they would like. He grabbed her arm and told her he wanted a drink now, and she told him again that he would not get another drink on that plane.
She immediately signaled another stewardess to come to her aid and they informed him that you can’t touch a stewardess while on the plane. He kept complaining that he wanted a drink and waving a 20 dollar bill around. He had a navy acquaintance who was sitting behind us and he apologized to the girls for his friend, but it was too late.
Shortly after they walked away from us, one of the crew came out and stood in the aisle near the front curtain. I had no idea what that meant but was sure it wasn’t good.
The drunk staggered out of his seat, down the isle and into the restroom and while he was gone the crew member came back to talk to us. He said if we could put up with him for just a few minutes more we would be making an unscheduled stop in Birmingham.
The drunk finally stumbled down the aisle and took his seat again and fell asleep. The captain announced that we were making the final approach for a landing in Birmingham and we were to all stay in our seats when we were on the ground.
As soon as we landed and rolled to a stop out on the tarmac, four local policemen came on board. They came down the aisle and grabbed the drunk, waking him out of a sound sleep. He was very surprised to be out of his seat and protested loudly as they drug him down the aisle. Some of the passengers applauded as they drug him out of the plane and down the steps and across the runway.
Once we were in the air again the gal by the window said it was well worth the extra minutes and the fact that we were going to be late getting into Jacksonville to have him off the plane.
When we had been in the air a few minutes I looked over in the seat he had been sitting in and there was a 20 dollar bill stuck between the cushion and arm rest. I asked her what I should do about it and she said, “Put it in your pocket, you earned it putting up with him”.
When we arrived in Jacksonville his friend was still protesting the fact that he had been taken off the plane in Birmingham. The stewardess said when he sobered up and spent another day in jail for grabbing the other stewardess; he would be put on another plane and sent on the Orlando.
So my first flight was very interesting and I didn’t have much time to worry about flying, but on the flight back I learned to hate flying. To contact Sandy: [email protected]