Middle Seat Passenger Eats Full Slab Of Ribs, Skin-On Fries And Half An Ear Of Corn

A passenger brought an order of “Smoky Ultimate BBQ Ribs” on board their flight. It came with fries and a half ear corn that was served with mayonnaisse and Italian cheese. And he proceeded to eat it in the middle seat on his flight. The on board feast was apparently sourced from Frankie and Benny’s at the Glasgow Airport.

Despite excellent air filtration on planes, you really don’t want to bring on strong odors. You’re trapped inside a metal tube with 100 or 200 other people, more on a widebody aircraft, and you’re subjecting them to the odors. No one can escape it.

By the same token, if you have access to a lounge between long haul flights consider a shower. If you don’t, at least use some deodorant and brush your teeth.

I once found myself in the odd position of having to a cater a full Boeing 757 from inside the terminal in Seattle. The only two places that were open were a pizza joint (takes too long to make individual pizzas, someone else went there but just for first class) and a Chinese restaurant. The thought of provisioning Chinese for the entire coach cabin on the aircraft sent shivers down my spine. I slipped some cash to the staff at the bagel sandwich place nearby to stay open a little longer. And as they made their sandwiches I felt a little like Woody Allen in Bananas ordering food for the revolutionary army.

The other issue here is that I do not see any wet wipes or napkins to go along with these ribs. Bringing food on a plane that’s going to leave behind a mess, not just trash, is going to be a problem. That sauce gets all over your hands, and is going to get on the seat, the arm rest, and the seat back in front of you. That means you’re leaving the aircraft in worse condition for the passenger who is in your space next, because airlines don’t generally allow enough time between flights for anything more than picking up (some of the) trash.

Airlines should be better about cleaning, but since they’re not it’s incumbent on passengers not to make a mess, even if American Airlines has described taking out seat back entertainment screens from their domestic fleet as providing passengers with a ‘living room experience’.

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 »

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  1. Love the serious pronouncements about why you shouldn’t do this on an airplane. Do you really think that guys like this can READ? Wish I could have watched this guy and his boxed lunch.

  2. You want people to have manners and concern about fellow passengers in this day and age?

    You’re funny.

  3. That’s kinda what the airlines deserve (not fellow passengers) with little to no service or food offered even on most longer flights. Heck, why not bring the whole family so that they could all enjoy their ribs on board. Planes are pretty filthy most the time anyways!

  4. So I take it that this would have been fine in a window or aisle seat l; but, a plebeian in a _middle_ seat bringing food onboard? O Mon Dieu!!

    Much ado about nothing, I say. I’d rather smell sweet smoky ribs than a shitty diaper.

    I once had a little flight from ATL-PHL on a holiday weekend and the gentleman next to me had been delayed all day and collected quite the book of concession coupons. He wasn’t going to leave them unused so he boarded the plane with a delicious smelling BUCKET of fried chicken and biscuits. It made for an anecdote, not a scathing critique of passenger etiquette.

    Oh, and just FYI, Iceland Air successfully serves a variety of absolutely delicious fish dishes onboard – both cooked and ceviche style.

  5. Unbelievable. This is what you think is noteworthy in the aviation industry? This sounds like a 15-year old kid who has nothing else to talk about. C’mon, man. Try to PRETEND that you’re worth the paper you’re writing on.

  6. Having worked as a Flight Attendant for 40 years, I don’t see this as a problem. Nothing in that meal was highly odorous. Most colognes (men’s and women’s) have as much or more smell. Much preferable to unwashed body odor. ALL foods have odors. All people have odors. Some are more pungent than others. Calm down and carry on.

  7. Filthy disgusting bad habit . Some people have no respect for others . I don’t know how some people could just sit there and stuff their faces with no care in the world .

  8. It would be annoying as most odd food smells are to me when flying. I will not bring food on a flight that puts out an obvious odor good or bad and think it’s rude for others to do the same. The general rule of thumb should be consideration of others, though that’s not the way it is.

  9. @JorgeGeorge Paez same place that the “very important businessmen” put their empty 2-foot-long cups of $20 airport Starbucks…into the trash bag held by the FA when they walk through the aisle.

    (Also, not the same as previous CW)

  10. @CW: So you are just another dirt poor Democrat who is prone to exaggeration and is no doubt living off the public purse and jealous of those who are working for a living and trying to succeed.

    You know, those people who can afford 2-foot-long cups of Starbucks . . .

  11. I really wish airlines wouldn’t allow people to bring food on board. It is selfish and inconvenient for others. Even if no strong smell I don’t want to see someone chowing down and then have a bunch of trash for the FAs. I realize no meals are served on domestic coach flights (and many first class ones) but get to airport early, grab a bite on the connection or wait until you get up your destination. Anything else is just inconsiderate.

  12. Good for that lucky person! To me, putting up with a seat-mate near me with body odor or overuse of perfume is way worse than food smells

  13. I tired of all those angry stares just because I enjoy Limburger and stinky tofu topped with cold Brussel Sprouts sandwiches on board.They are delicious and solve the bad in the air options
    Nothing like a captive audience to share with 😉

  14. @1KBrad lol what are you talking about, I fly for a living in a pretty capitalistic profession, just having a poke at an overdone “status symbol”. I’m also confused – aren’t people who hate Democrats also supposed to hate Starbucks, or was that a 20 years ago thing? Maybe I’m mixing my references.

  15. Why are pax’s upset? This is the airline’s doing…..they’re the ones who packed the aircraft seating.
    I don’t like pax drinking alcohol and everyone knows wine is a mocker. Some people stink…..big surprise. LOL
    I don’t like ppl with tattoos sitting near me….they look like some circus freak. SO……let ppl eat what they want…it’s not your business. Maybe if you’re nice they may offer you some food….since the airline doesn’t.

  16. No need for “Opera”, if you’re an economy passenger and surely won’t be served any meal, ponder carefully about the best nutritional and minimalist meal to go.
    *If you’re afraid of starving to death, carry a small pack of Mucilon and a small carton of milk, mix both In a cup. It will do as a life support.

  17. Some of you guys need to take the stick out of your bottoms and focus on yourself instead of others around you. Don’t like watching someone eat? You have a phone at the very least. Just turn up the volume and watch a movie.

    Feel offended about the smell? I’m sure you’ve never worked in an office space where someone heats up lunch.

    At the end of the day, all of us are just trying to get from point A to Point B. So what if they choose to eat? You don’t know if they had an entire day of travel and no chance to eat. You don’t know what their lives are, nor should you care.

  18. @ CW. That was when Howard Schultz was going to run for President as a Democrat and before they got into union-busting.

  19. Congrats to the person with the meal. I’m sure he enjoyed it. I’ll have to bring some durian sometime. It is delicious.

  20. Even when airlines serve decent food, it often does not have food that I would not care to eat at high altitude. I cannot expect my economy ticket to include a curated meal.
    So I bring my own. From home
    Although what I bring is pretty odorless, I believe that if they sell it at the airport, It should be allowed on the plane. Better than heavy perfumes or poor hygiene.

  21. What is “skin on fries”? Is the fact that the skin was left on notable in some way? How about “oil cooked fries” or “sea-salted fries”?

    This blog, with Gary’s help, has taken a turn for the worst. ChatGPT could crank out better content than this.

  22. My Grandson is highly allergic to nuts. The FA was understanding and put us in the very back. 20 min into the flight a fellow traveler in the row next to us starts handing out several large plastic bottles of nuts to their kids. 5 minutes later we are making an emergency landing. Grandson spent 4 days in the hospital. And we had to spend an extra two thousand dollars to rent a car and for 6 nights in a hotel to get back home. On top of the hospital bill and 3 r/t airfares. Thankfully Hilton was understanding and refunded our prepaid rooms.

  23. “WhatCityAndStateMayIBookForYou says:
    February 28, 2023 at 5:29 am
    My Grandson is highly allergic to nuts. The FA was understanding and put us in the very back. 20 min into the flight a fellow traveler in the row next to us starts handing out several large plastic bottles of nuts to their kids. 5 minutes later we are making an emergency landing. Grandson spent 4 days in the hospital. And we had to spend an extra two thousand dollars to rent a car and for 6 nights in a hotel to get back home. On top of the hospital bill and 3 r/t airfares. Thankfully Hilton was understanding and refunded our prepaid rooms.”

    What airline were you on? I have been on a flight where it was announced that the snacks were not going to be served since they contained peanuts. Annoying, yes, but necessary (they should have loaded snacks without peanuts but this was decades ago when the peanut lobby was strong). I always carry Smarties for glucose in case I go low from diabetes. It is irresponsible of the flight crew to do an extra landing and takeoff after they have been warned that they have someone on board with a severe allergy. The flight attendant doesn’t sound very smart in locating your party near the peanut eaters. The smack that the airlines puts out about how well they filter their air is just that, smack.

  24. I’d rather smell a platter of ribs than the BO of the people out of Newark I sat next to that maybe hadn’t showered in weeks. American sells those small deli snack packs (meat and cheese) for $9, so I’ll forgive the middle seat passenger that opted for more value for his money.

  25. I have flown the Avianca flight from SFO to Nicaragua via San Salvador regularly for many years. When I first started flying that route in 2006, many of the local Salvadorians who craved their local fried chicken would indulge themselves with a box of it on the 5 hour flight back to SFO. Probably 20-30 passengers. Wow, did that smell linger the whole time. Im sure that chicken was good, but not if you were one of those not enjoying it and succumbed to inhaling it for hours. Thank God that practice stopped for some reason

  26. @AC
    I see you don’t fly much.
    Many people travel for business. They aren’t retired like you and can get to the airport 4 hours early.

  27. @James – I have been traveling heavily for business from the mid 80s until I retired 4 years ago. During that time I either worked for a software vendor, help run national consulting practices or was CIO/CTO of national companies which let me get around 8 million FF miles (not w credit cards BTW but butt in seat miles).

    I am now retired but even before I have NEVER taken a meal in a flight (maybe something to snack on once in a while) and frankly find it offensive how selfish people are that bring food that smells or is messy on a plane. It is disrespectful to the other passengers. If you can’t manager your time to find a way to eat that is a “you” problem.

  28. Lol. “That is a you problem”

    Sounds like it’s actually a YOU problem. Passengers can eat, babies can poop, and you’re just going to have to figure out how to live with it. So much whining, keep it up, I’m grabbing my popcorn. Mmmmm.

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