posted by Matt W on September 4th, 2013

So, I took another red-eye flight. There are two things that I don’t like about red-eye flights. It is uncomfortable to sleep in an airline seat, and, well… they let other people on board. I’m still recovering from my latest adventure.

I’m originally from the West coast, so most of my travels to see family and friends take me back to that side of the country. In order not to spend an inordinate amount of money on flights over the years, I’ve taken more than my share of red-eye flights. After each flight, I swear to myself, “Never again.” But this time I made an exception because my son was heading back to college and as he had spent the entire summer working on the west coast, we thought we would hang out with him and help him move back in. Joe A. lives in the same general vicinity so I also got to see him. Win, win. Or so I thought.

Well, this time I decided to attack the sleep issue head on. As I’ve had a neck surgery, my neck is always sore when I fly. But I also remembered I still have a soft cervical collar and decided to try it on the plane. It worked perfect. On the flight to the west coast I fastened that baby around my neck and took a short nap to try it out. Two hours later I woke up as refreshed as possible in an airplane. Nice. As everyone looks weird on a plane I didn’t even stand out that much, although my daughter did scoot over a seat so people wouldn’t think we were together. One issue solved for the return red-eye.

Now, most people’s goal on a red-eye flight is to get on the plane, close their eyes, and open them when the pilot’s calming voice says “Flight attendants prepare the cabin for landing.” It’s simple. For some reason, I am always surrounded by people who did not get that memo. This time in my row on the return flight was an empty seat and a small, quiet woman who looked like she is going to sleep the entire time. Perfect.

A small foot rubs against my arm through the seats. Shit.

A toddler and his mother and grandmother are sitting in the row behind me. Their normal speaking voice was very loud, and every time the kid would do anything, the mom and grandmother would yell. The entire flight they yell at each other in what I’m assuming was Thai. They were way worse than the kid. I try to be sensitive to cultural differences, but in what culture do people not need sleep? I turned around one time and the look I got from the woman was, “Don’t you dare look at me again unless you want me to throw this kid at you. And by the looks of that dorky cervical collar, I can take you anyway, so seriously don’t turn around again.” I didn’t turn around again.

Well, I took a long nap after work, and it was great to see my son and Joe A., so in the end it was worth it. If there is a next time, I will remember to bring ear plugs in addition to my handy cervical collar. Maybe I’ll even throw in a few zip ties to do something about those little feet.

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