A Whole New Way To Be Awful At 30,000 Feet As Passenger’s Clever Hack Ruins Neighbor’s Flight Experience

One of the best things about Delta Air Lines is that they committed to keep seat back entertainment screens on their seats, after American Airlines removed theirs. It’s been such a success with passengers that United copied the move, and has been adding them to planes as they’re retrofit with that carrier’s new “United NEXT” interior.

I usually just work on my laptop rather than watching shows. Many other people like to use their device while watching something on the screen. I’ll leave mine on the ‘moving map’ showing our flight’s progress.

But other passengers can get in the way of your enjoying these premium comforts. One Delta passenger shared a photo of a woman whose big jacket was tied around her seat back – taking up space from the passenger behind them, and covering that passenger’s screen.

Ready to get triggered?
byu/WheatlyWoodson indelta

Coach seats can be uncomfortable, and a bit of extra padding is clever. Using your jacket for back comfort is actually an ingenious hack – except it takes away comfort from the person seated behind you.

Here that passenger didn’t say anything, because the woman with the jacket needed assistance on and off the aircraft. Here’s the story:

“There was someone next to me in the middle seat, and she had turned on her TV.

Then a veeery old woman was wheelchair’d on to the plane, and she was with a family member (probably a son), and it took two airport employees to carry her in to the middle seat. I actually had to leave my row to give them space to maneuver. Then her family member proceeded to make it more comfortable to her by putting her gigantic jacket over the seat, resulting in what you saw here.

The middle seat pax said she wasn’t going to say anything, so neither did I. But she had to sadly just scroll instagram and text for an entire 4 hour flight.

The passenger who shared this photo wished that the flight attendant had “said something” to the woman about her jacket, because the woman seated behind her was in a middle seat without even seat back entertainment as comfort for the flight. But it’s hard to expect a crewmember to say something when the passenger doesn’t flag the issue for them.

It’s actually the first time I’ve seen a jacket tied in this way for back comfort, but not the first time a passenger interfered with the space and screen of the person behind them. Passengers draping their hair over the seat back behind them is something that happens all the time. And it’s up there, and maybe even worse than, bare feet propped up on your arm rest.

Here at least it was ‘just a jacket’ and not the passenger’s hair covering up the seat back. But it’s worse to do on Delta, since that carrier has committed to seat back screens. Although it’s still bad even on American, since you’re covering up the device holder that pops out of the seat back so you can watch entertainment on your own device.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Funny but the times I’ve had hair draped over the seat back in front of my video screen, it seems to have gotten food on it. Can’t imagine how.

  2. All the more reason to invest in the Wirecutter recommended Seki Edge SS-112 nail clippers. Will make quick work of cutting anything hanging over the seat.

  3. That device holder on American sure does catch hair awfully easy when you snap it shut quickly….

  4. We had an awful woman drape her nasty hair over seat like that on a Copa flight we were on. My wife started pulling her hair, and asked her to stop when she turned around. But no, she was nasty and did it again. So she ended up with knots tied in her hair. Wife had to scrub her hands like a surgeon after that.

  5. I don’t quite understand the title of this article calling the behaviour aweful. Is it just for click bait?

    If the passenger was obviously very old, frail and suffering as described, then maybe the person behind her had some care and compassion.

    Yes, they probably could have tied it differently, and likely they would have if asked to do so. Most people are understanding when asked.

    Why are we all so quick to vilify.

  6. What a bunch of passive-aggressive pricks we have here.

    JUST TALK TO THE PAX IN FRONT and they’ll move their shit. If they don’t, THEN call an FA.

    Don’t “clip” the hair. Don’t “remove” the jacket. If you’re not man enough to talk to the pax or the FA you’re not man enough to “start anything” unless it’s being “a big man” on VFTW.

    Expecting respect from others into your space also means you respect them enough to open your whine-hole and talk to them like peers and ask nicely. Like Dalton said: Be nice.

  7. Seat back touch screen is the WORST idea EVER. Do they not do any testing on it?

    I’ve had so many flights where I had to tell the person behind me to stop poking at the screen so hard / much. I’m trying to relax but feel this constant poking behind my head. Kids are especially bad when they try to play action games on them. Ugh.

    WORKS GREAT WITH AGGRESSIVE TYPES. I TELL THEM IT’S COBRA VENOM. Americans are worst offenders. blunt nose children scissors for hair. I FLY TO PHILIPPINES A LOT.

  9. Hair is why you need scissors. The jacket, IDK….she was old, couldn’t walk. Then if I was trapped in that center seat….the jacket goes.

  10. Thank you Ehud Gavron! Yes..ask politely, get the flight attendant involved, the purser/leader and the captain if necessary! Bunch of whiney wimps.

  11. I curse the snots that they come down with an early case of alopecia. So selfish and rude!

  12. I recently traveled with my elderly mother who required wheel chair assistance to her seat on each of the 4 flights were were on. I just wrapped her jacket behind her and around her shoulders after she was seated. I would have never placed her jacket around the seat like that. This is just rude and self centered (the person the older person was traveling with). Whomever was traveling with this person is to blame and it would not have been out of line to ask them to position the jacket differently.

  13. What ever happened with bringing a book or talking to the person next to you?

    Last overseas flight I took I printed two 20 page long Wikipedia articles that I was interested in. And of course a good book.
    I was seated next to a retired US soldier who was in Iraq ad that was a nice 4 hour conversation.
    On the way back I met a professor who grew up in Nigeria and that was an interesting conversation as well!

    Case solved! No need for the tube.

  14. Where is the story here exactly? They didn’t realize that tying the jacket on was covering the screen (maybe they rarely fly or never watch movies or just didn’t think of it) and the pax was too ashamed to ask but not ashamed to complain on social media about it. It wasn’t because of selfishness or bad manners. Dumbass

    I often have old people, when seated behind me in economy, grab the seat back behind my head and give me a nice thump as they use my seat to help themselves up. They probably don’t realize that it rocks the seat in front of them, or they may have no choice because they need something to grab onto. Do I immediately post about it, get a lawyer and file a claim for assault- or move on with my day?

  15. People can be crazy on a plane. Rather than risk a diversion, I’d ask the FA to handle it. It is their business.

    Other flyers, not the cramped seat, is the main reason I try not to fly economy.

  16. That’s when Chewing gum get handy. It keeps ones breath very fresh when arguments start with stuck hair.

  17. Seriously, the pax with the hair in front of them really didn’t ask the pax to move their hair back to their own space? C’mon,…

  18. Is it not at all possible that the person escorting the elderly woman just did not realize that she was covering the screen in the process of trying to make the elderly woman comfortable? It’s a little nerve-racking when you’re flying as a companion and you’re trying to settle yourself and an elderly or disabled person in a seat the size of a postage stamp.

    I travel by a lot and sometimes I might do stuff that I don’t realize I’m doing. I would love the chance to make the interaction better before I found the back of my head on the internet. Although that said, I’m pretty sure I’ve never draped my hair over a seat, put my feet through the armrest or use my feet to tap on the screen. All of these things are done on purpose and not by mistake. Unless you’re an extremely tall woman, you would obviously know you put your hair over the head rest.

    I try very hard to just divert my attention into an audiobook, close my eyes and fall asleep if at all possible. That way if I offend somebody, I don’t even know about it unless they tell me.

  19. During boarding I had a lady drape her jacket over her seatback completely covering up my entertainment screen. I didn’t say anything to her but called for a flight attendant. When the flight attendant appeared I simply pointed to the jacket and the flight attendant told the lady she can’t have her jacket there and then asked to see her boarding pass. Flight attendant told her this section is economy plus and her seat is way in the back. The lady came up with every excuse why she couldn’t sit in economy. The flight attendant told her to move now or she’ll have to get off the airplane. Well she got up and went to the back. The seat infront of me remained unoccupied the entire flight and figured the lady would move back to it but she didn’t. I was able to resolve it without saying a word. Lady never knew it was me that got her kicked out of that seat.

Comments are closed.