Tales from an International Jetsetter

Minutes before my afternoon flight from Houston to Mexico City on Sunday, I decided to buy a Jamba Juice smoothie, since I hadn’t eaten the entire day and am always leery of Continental’s “snack” offerings.

As I approach my seat — 17C — I realize I didn’t think this through very well. I’ve got two giant carry-ons full of books (I always bring back books to Mexico, and never check them to avoid overweight fees) and a paper cup full of smoothie. I have to set it down somewhere to get the carry-ons in the overhead compartments. Damn.

Without a lot of thought (“story of my life”), I set it down on the seat cushion of 16C, and prop it against the armrest, so it won’t tip over. Instead, it tips over. And spills all over 16C. The frozen purple blob oozes and starts dripping down to the floor.

I muttered — no, gasped — a few adult words and pressed the flight attendant call button as quickly as I could.

Thankfully, the attendant appeared quickly, made no attempt to humiliate me, and went off to find napkins.

“But we’re going to get a new seat,” she tells me as she walks off, as if I understand what that entails.

Moments later, the ticketholder for 16C arrives. My humiliation came in the form of jumping up and warning him “don’t sit there!!!!” I explained, sheepishly, that I spilled my smoothie. For some reason, had it been a Coke or a plate of nachos, I’d been less embarrassed. A smoothie? Even the word annoys me.

“Uh, OK….Someone left their passport, too,” he says.

And, of course, it’s mine, I dropped it in the confusion. “Oh, mine! I’m not having the best day!” I try to joke.

He doesn’t laugh. I know at this point he had to be thinking “oh no, next she’s going to start crying about her cat.”

The flight attendant re-appears with a fistful of napkins, and asks Mr. 16C to wait at the back of the plane while they wait for maintenance. I apologize profusely and explain I’ll take his seat if they’re not able to fix it. It’s my mistake, but he has to stand in the back, among the lavatories, while I’m buckled in and pulling out my iPod.

Thankfully, a large man in a Continental uniform eventually appears, hugging a seat cushion. The removal and installation takes only a few seconds. He’s gone, and Mr. 16C is allowed to come back and join his family members. I finally start to relax a little, but I spent a lot of time looking around to see if anyone was shaking their head in disapproval as I sucked down what was left of my smoothie. Of course, most people were completely unaware of what had happened, and the only thing they knew from the incident happened later when the pilot announced:

“Sorry, folks, we’re a little delayed, we’re just wrapping up a last-minute maintenance report.”

Sigh.

For the first time ever, the constant crying of an ear-infected toddler in the row across from us was actually soothing for me. Surely Mr. 16C found that more annoying than my smoothie incident?!

3 thoughts on “Tales from an International Jetsetter

  1. Lesley says:

    Don’t you wish we could all just fly first class? Spilling smoothies is probably expected there. Also: I’m sure Mr. 16C probably thought you were just having a bad day. 🙂

  2. Betty Victory says:

    Ay caramba! That must have been embarrasing and just plain weird having to turn someon out of their seat. At least we now know that the cushion/seat can be replaced quickly.

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