Thursday, 6 November 2008

Aisle Seat Pitfalls

One of my colleagues met with an accident recently. He had stopped his car on a residential street and had come around to open the boot of the car and take out his laptop when a van reversed into him, flinging him onto his own car. He hit his head against the sharp corner of the boot lid, resulting in a deep gash. A lot of bleeding ensued and he had to be taken to the hospital and have the wound stitched up. He is all right now and should be back in action after couple of days.

Something similar happened to me a few years ago.

On flights, I normally prefer aisle seats. You feel less crammed, getting in and out is easier, and you can be assured of at least one armrest all for yourself, without the guy next to you elbowing you out. Once ensconced thus, I ask for a pillow and a blanket and happily go to sleep most of the time.

Once, I am on a late evening flight from Chennai to Mumbai. It is a fairly uneventful journey, most of which I spent dozing. The problem happens when the flight has touched down and is taxiing to its final parking position. Before the aircraft comes to a complete stop, some impatient worthy behind me leans over and opens the overhead bin right above me. A heavy suitcase tumbles out and the corner hits me on the forehead, just above the hairline.

For a moment I am dazed and too shocked to react. By the time I gather my senses and turn around to face the perpetrator of the outrage, I am bleeding profusely and my shirtfront is soaked in blood. While the other passengers cluck sympathetically and move up the aisle to disembark, the stewardesses gather around me trying to stem the bleeding. An ice pack is pressed firmly against the wound and the crew call for the airport doctor.

The airport doctor turns out to be an elderly sari-clad matron. She examines the wound and declares the position of the wound as inappropriate for suturing. Fortunately, by this time the bleeding has stopped. She dresses the wound and ties a gauze bandage around my head. The girls giggle in relief. They say I look like an invader from outer space. The doctor advises me to take some paracetamol tablets in case I feel any pain at night; the airlines drop me in their car to the hotel.

Just before going to bed, the realisation struck me: in the confusion, I never found out who was the guy whose rash act had landed me in this mess. He had quietly slunk out in the mêlée with his suitcase, having not even the courtesy to offer an apology.

Such is life, I suppose.


Anonymous said...

OK, I can see you don't have any intention of humouring me with drunken revelry.
Anyhooo. What kind of person behaves like this? Is common decency just dated currency?

Vijay said...

Man.. thats tough.. I hope the guy who did it had something dropped on his head by a piegon...

Ravi said...

Now see, if you were in the US, you'd sue the airline, get a passenger manifest, identify the guy who did this to you and make a boatload of money,.........

One day India too will become a litigious society :-), my bad, HOPEFULLY NOT!

Cynic in Wonderland said...

such is life yes.

aisle seats are ok only if the bloke next to one doesnt have a bladder problem. sigh. such is life again.

Rada said...

@Shalini: What can I say? Probably he was very unnerved by the incident and decide to slink away? I have no idea!

@Vijay: What a lovely thought! Thanks mate!

@Ravi: But the US does take this litigation business to ridiculous lengths, if you ask me!

@Cynic: In an introspective mood, are we? Cheer up, girl!

padmaja said...

That was so horrible.. Poor you...

Lekhni said...

In the US, of course, you would have sued the airline, asked them to disclose the name of the passenger and sued him too..

If that happened even once, the airline will be much more strict in future with passengers who get up like that.

I can never understand why people do that anyway. Do they think they can jump off the windows with their bags?

Santosh said...

Forgive him. Hope you prefer window seats now. In aisle seat, how do you tolerate that food trolley movements?

padmaja said...

By the way, I heard that aisle seats are preferred these days in certain airlines. The reason being a better view of the mini-skirt sporting air-hostesses perched on stool to demonstrate safety rules!

Rada said...

Lekhni: Perhaps you are right. At least to prevent such incidents happening again, I should have taken a firmer stand? Maybe!

Santosh: A glutton for punishment, I still prefer aisle seats somehow! :-)

Padmaja: Naughty, naughty! I must confess travelling in Kingfisher does have its fringe benefits!

Thiruvengadam said...

I can guess the person whom you are referring to, in your prelude. Poor chap he is!

I sometime wonder why this impatient bloc rush to open the overhead "floodgates" to create a chaos, knowing well that the plane has to come to a complete standstill to enable alighting.

It must have been a horrible experience for you.

I liked your take on the "fringe benefits" !! Chidambaram must take some cues from it to expand the FBT net!

roop said...

how rude is that! how long ago was this.

i find it really strange that people jump up to leave before they are asked to do so ONLY in flights to/within India. we've traveled in europe, america and africa ... nowhere else has it happened. always in a hurry as a nation, aren't we.

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Stepping Sideways... by K. Radhakrishnan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.