Friday, June 22, 2007

An Open Letter to Air India

This letter is long, long overdue.

I would like to thank you, Air India, for probably the most horrendous travel experience of my life. It's taken me several days of relaxation, good food and drinking in France to work off the shock of such painful service, and a night full of beastly, bad-mannered people.

When you sell a window seat to a person, it is customary to allow that person to actually sit in that seat. It was not very comforting to arrive at my seat and find two, small, Hindi-speaking children sprawled out over the three seats we were meant to share. It was even less comforting to discover that not only did these children not understand English, and clearly were not happy at my arrival, but that their aunt was a stewardess on the flight. Being the nice and patient person that I am, I was kind enough to let the little boy stay in my window seat while I tried to make myself comfortable on the aisle seat, which just happened to be across from two more small and poorly behaved children, whose parents were more than happy to let their daughter continually kick the seat in front of her with the full force of her tiny, 4-year-old body.

It took one hour for your stupid plane to take off. For that hour, I thought I would kill myself or the devil-children next to me. Not only were they loud and constantly eating Doritos to the point where the smell of artificial nacho cheese flavoring actually melded to the inside of my nostrils, they had NO sense of personal space. Their tray tables were down, their feet were on top of them, their arms flying about, hitting me in the leg, the stomach and the face.

Luckily, the little girl got what was coming to her when she spilled Diet Coke all over herself, only to look up at me as though there was something I could do to help her (or perhaps that I had silently willed it on her, which, of course, I had).

After one hour in the air, there was nothing more I could do: either kill the children (which would have pleased the busty, black, New York woman in front of us whose seat was continually being kicked and was not afraid to turn around and yell at the little boy to stop, despite the fact he never listened), or feign illness. I figured the latter was the better of the two choices, seeing as it's far too early in my travels to resort to killing children, not that they didn't deserve it.

So I did. Their stupid aunt stewardess was actually kind enough to try and find me an open seat when I told her that I was feeling ill and dizzy and "If it wouldn't be too much trouble, I'd really like to have somewhere to lie down." She departed and returned to tell me that two seats were open near the front of the plane and I could move immediately.

And I did. My night looked brighter, and your airline wasn't seeming so bad. Then I arrived at my seat.

Seated on the far end of the center four seats was an old woman. This woman must have been 95 years old, Air India. I decided I didn't care, and sat down -- she was three seats away, with her bag on the seat next to her. I had two seats to myself and I curled up to try and sleep.

Then it happened. I didn't think it was possible. But it did. After about 5 minutes of my being there, she took two pillows and placed them on my feet. That's right. ON my feet, then proceeded to lie down, on her back, her head resting on the pillows. I moved my feet, and there she continued to lie: on all three available seats, her head pushing against the side of my thigh.

I was certain I was on candid camera. What other explanation could there have been?

From now on I am requesting that all passengers take mandatory Good Manners tests in order to be allowed in such close quarters with other people for more than a 6 hour interval.

I decided, "Fine. Whatever. She's old. She thinks she should be respected, and though my sense of logic doesn't allow me to respect anyone that doesn't earn it, I will just let it go and just be happy that children are no longer kicking me." From then on, the old bat continued to wake up and go back to sleep in much the same fashion -- at least 7 more times, each time trying harder and harder to push me into the aisle and off the seat so that she could have all four seats to herself.

The selfish bitch.

One more request, Air India: There needs to be a mandatory Lights Out time period. It was interesting when all of the lights in couch were turned off, except, interestingly enough, the light of the crazy old bitch next to me. Even when she was sleeping, she demanded that it be kept on. And, oh yeah: It was the light pointing to the seat right next to me, ergo: In my face. All night.

All I can think is how terrified I am to fly with you on my way back home to the States. Considering what I went through -- 5 and a half hours of grueling child and old lady poor excuses for manners, with terrible food, leg room that meant my legs could not cross at all, and movies that cut out, were static-y and never even finished -- I am hoping to find a way into First Class for my return trip, which I see now was really your intention all this time! Upgrade. Whatever, I don't care. Money be damned, I'm not getting stuck in your couch again. Otherwise: You'll have dead children and old people on your hands.

Think about it.

Still suffering from a crick in my neck,


  1. Stacy ...

    Thank you for not killing anybody aboard Air India ... not that I wouldn't mind having to fly to England to plead for your release and spend some time between bails bondsmen pub crawling ... but I would be sorry to see you in the slammer ... although, no matter how cheap the fare I wouldn't fly Air India. Thereby saving your mother the hassle of having to come over and bail us both out! Your experience sort of makes the trip we all took to Israel and back to NY on Tower Air, or whatever it was, not sound so bad. Love you and enjoy Paris! Dad

  2. Did you get the addresses of the little buggers? Liz would totally take them out for you. You know how much she LOVES misbehaving children and old people. hahaha!

  3. Whatever. I eat babies. Especially ones that eat doritos.