Sunday, October 27, 2013

Northern Italy: Confrontation in First Class

This is Part 1 of 3 (plus a possible 4th post, now that I’m back in the U.S. to write one), typed from northern Italy last week while hanging with friends old and new:  Carli, Chris, Piotr, Sarah, Leslie, Chad, Jorge, Jenny… and the rest of the gang who surprised me in Venice!

Kathy and our two year old Lena drove to Salem and Bend with family for a few days last week.  Due to a work scheduling conflict on their first day, I wasn’t able to join them.   So I resumed a mini-version of our European trip, solo, that was interrupted last month when our family was in Madrid.  The blog posts about last month’s family trip to Spain are coming soon!

A few of my Delta vacation days were cancelled (and one wasted) late last week trying to fly standby from Portland to hook up with friends here in northern Italy.  But so far, this trip has been worth the wait!  Here’s a little pre-adventure story to kick things off:

Confrontation in First Class

I "live tweeted" about the following dust-up as my plane was returning to the gate in New York.  The passenger seated next to me had waaay to much to drink in the Delta Sky Club prior to boarding.  He was so loaded that his hands couldn’t even hold his pre-departure drink steady.  As our plane taxied off to the runway, he started making a fuss… and a mess.

Warning: This is gross.  My seatmate (a dead ringer for zombie-slayer Michonne, from the Walking Dead) and I gagged as this guy coughed up what looked like blood all over himself.  There were red droplets and chunks splattered everywhere:  the floor, his clothes, his seat, the TV monitor.  I asked him if he was alright, and he calmly assured me that it was merely wine and not blood.  He had regrettably “spent a little too much time drinking at the Sky Club this afternoon.”  So then what in the name of Gilbert Gottfried were those red chunks?

The pilot announced that our plane was returning to the gate.  No surprise there.  The tanked passenger started a series of arguments with the Delta flight attendants, then the captain, then the returning gate agent, and then finally launched a 2nd and final bout with the captain.

While the utterly smashed passenger was being escorted off the plane, a collective wince fell across our Business Elite faces at his parting imagery.  He was trying in vain to prevent his sagging slacks from falling down around his ankles.  Pure horror.

Cleanup on Aisle 2: The cabin service crew earned their paychecks that night.  It took THREE of them to clean up that disgusting mess before our plane could taxi back out to the runway again!

The moral of the story is:  don’t drink and… fly, I guess?  Maybe the moral is even more obvious.  Just don’t be that guy.

Kudos to the New York-based Delta Airlines team for their professionalism in handling this heated situation.  Our plane departed the second time and made it to Venice, Italy without incident!

And a big congrats to the bewildered buddy pass rider who was suddenly upgraded from Economy Coach to the Business Elite seat of the crime.  Friend, your new seat was most likely sparkling clean by the time you sat down next to me.

But just in case, I hope you packed a change of pants.

Coming this weekend early next week

on Garth’s Blog…

...Pt. 2- Northern Italy: Verona, Venice, and Beyond!


Brett Nemecek said...

Wow! Glad that's never happened to me. Most of my neighbors are entirely polite, interesting to talk to, or absent entirely.

Garth Hamilton said...

Oh yes, listening to my seatmates share about their lives is usually a highlight. And this guy probably needed a friend. But Michonne unblinkingly uttered roughly 10 sentences throughout our entire flight... and the non-rev from Coach was mostly stunned speechless by her fancy new surroundings.

Instead, I knocked out a ton of studying during the flight. I should have been resting up for the long day ahead in Venice and Verona.