On a flight from Arcata-Eureka airport to Denver the other day, I experienced something that has never happened in all my 200,000+ miles of flying. The flight was already a questionable early morning departure, not to mention a 1,000-mile hop in a CRJ-200, an aircraft I totally hate. But this took the cake when it comes to reasons to be upset.

Put Your Bag Under Which Seat?

Traveling with a carry-on and personal item is a very routine part of travel. The carry-on goes in the overhead bin (well, not on a CRJ-200) and the personal item goes under the seat. Which seat? The seat in front of you.

Except for this lady. Never have I seen anyone stow their bag under their own seat. Until now. I happened to be the person behind her, so this was in my footspace.

I likely would have notice immediately, except that I’d already placed my laptop on top of my pullover on the floor under the seat. My feet weren’t in the way. The space was sorta taken, except not quite enough of it. She managed to squeeze her small backpack through the space under her seat on top of my stuff.

I’d be surprised that I didn’t notice sooner, except I was a little too engrossed straining my neck to look out the tiny, horribly-placed CRJ window as we took off from ACV. I’m not sure if she placed her bag there immediately, or once we started moving.

Remedying the Situation

Any normal person probably would have asked her to remove it, or even just pushed the pack out with their feet, claiming the space back. I definitely thought about it. But I also thought about not wanting to get into any sort of altercation. It was a total jerk move on her part, and I shouldn’t have let her get away with it. Yet I was also not really using the space for my feet, as my laptop was stowed there much of the flight (I worked for maybe 40 minutes of the 2-hour hop to Denver).

I ended up leaving it in place. I’ve definitely seen some poor passenger behavior, and the idea of getting into an argument with someone in an enclosed space is awful. However, I also find that I end up being too passive when it comes to interacting with strangers.

Still, this has to be pretty much the jerkiest move anyone can make as a passenger. Sure, there is the battle over seat reclining, which has two sides. But to take up someone else’s limited footspace completely? Not okay in the slightest.

Has this happened to you?  What would you have done in this situation?