Remarkable Passenger Pulls Out Sewing Machine Inflight, Proceeds To Make Curtains

Remarkable video is circulating on Instagram and on Twitter of a passenger making the most of her time on board a flight by pulling out her sewing machine and making progress on a project. This isn’t just doing a bit of crocheting. She has a legit electric sewing machine working at full power. Some observers believe she was making curtains.

While a bit unusual, sewing machines aren’t dangerous except perhaps for inflicting blunt force trauma. And sewing enthusiasts can bring most of their equipment on board planes.

For instance, the TSA allows scissors – with pointed tips – to be brought on board as long as their blags are less than four inches long. Sewing needles are permitted and, yes, sewing machines are allowed provided that they fit under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin.

The challenge with actualy using the machine inflight, I think, is seat power and whether the tray table offers enough space and will support it. But this passenger shows us all that it’s possible. How are you remaining productive inflight?

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, 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. very creative. Presumably on an airline that has in-seat 120V in coach.
    Neighbors don’t have to worry about her spilling a drink on them.

  2. If I were the person sitting in front of her, I would catch a case of air rage just from the noise and vibration. Ugh.

  3. This is amazing! I’ve certainly done my fair share of hand sewing on flights, but it never occurred to me that it would be possible to use a machine.

  4. Looks like prem economy on an AA 773.

    Trying to figure out why s/he isn’t wearing a face mask and FAs not asking for compliance on that front.

    Sewing = eating? Would be useful to know that loophole.

  5. Although that’s creative, I can also see an airline banning it under the guise that it’s noisy and the equivalent of tapping on the seat in front of you. It may meet all the other criteria, but just because you can bring a DVD player on board, it doesn’t mean you get to use it without headphones. One must be courteous to fellow passengers and not invade their space any more than is usual and customary, even their sensory space. This does, several ways.

  6. Mile High Sewing Club! That would be so cool when traveling to Quilting Shows etc. It certainly wouldn’t bother me in the least. I’d rather watch someone sewing than fools fighting on a flight and disrespecting our Flight Attendants and putting the passengers in harms way.

  7. I can verify that it is a high quality sewing machine.
    Did you hear how smooth it ran?
    That is a very nice sewing machine.

  8. if I was the person sitting in front of this idiot, I would have constantly rocked my back rest without warning. you just cannot be this selfish in this world! Noise, Vibration…

  9. This is great! It’s a high quality machine, so the noise and vibration are less than what the plane already emits. I doubt the passenger in the seat in front even knew the machine was there, and it’s within TSA regulations. This is taking productivity to a whole new level.

  10. There is no noise. Smooth running machine. He probably had a gig that needed it quickly. As long as his work isn’t on the adjacent seats…then it’s a-go. Also, there are such things as headphones. If the noise levels bother you…you may need anxiety medication. Really. These kinds of people can’t block sh*t out and find problems with everything. And he was in the middle aisle. So, there was no hemming in. The d@mn plane makes more noise and vibrations than this. Most people are not on a flight long enough anyway. I have sat beside many crying babies…never bothered me. Mind your own business, listen to some music, or take a nap.

  11. Very creative. Being a sewist myself. I would never do this in flight. You can see that the fabric is constantly running into the passenger to the left, and well, that is just rude. Being considerate while in flight is a must. And no matter what kind of machine you have, yes it will vibrate on an airplane pull down table because it’s not intended to be used for a sewing machine.

  12. I sew a lot, my machine is very quiet. I can watch TV and do not have to turn my sound up. Lots of passengers make more noise than a good sewing machine. It is amazing how some people just have to complain about something.p

  13. Why isn’t this person wearing a mask? Now I don’t have a problem with him sewing but I would defenitly have one with him not wearing a mask!

  14. I would rather hear a sewing machine than some of the conversations that can be easily heard and do nothing to make anyone enjoy their presence.

    I do think some good points have been made- be careful about the weight , the noise level blocking other people’s space.

    We don’t know the context so we don’t know if the person they are next to may be someone they know or maybe they asked for permission and accurately described what to expect. Maybe the people nearby were enthralled by it.

    If you really can’t tolerate the sound of a sewing machine, you have some problems. If you can’t be nice, you won’t have lifelong friends- though you might be so controlling that you fool yourself.

    Maybe they are being very self-serving or maybe they are rushing to finish the curtain for someone whose life just got turned upside down and this matters to them. And maybe they are just working.

  15. I know that the attention is all towards the sewing machine gig, but don’t overlook the actual usefulness of plugging a mini-power strip into those under-seat A/C outlets! When I fly Economy Plus on United’s 777-300ERs, and plug in my small USB brick chargers to charge my iPhone or iPad, they always slip out of the power socket due to their plug-in blades being too thin or too short or too something else … absolutely annoying! So I now always carry a 3-outlet mini-power strip with a hefty 3-prong plug that will *not* slip out under any circumstances. This also allows sharing with the person sitting next to me since it appears as if all under-seat A/C outlets exhibit this same problem when used with those small USB brick chargers.

    I’m obviously presuming that the USB charging port next to the seat-back video screen is already being used for other purposes, thus requiring additional charging sources.

  16. Could the recent extreme turbulence cause it to be a problem if not airborne but just falling on the legs/feet of passenger next to them?

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