Mid-Air Etiquette Fail: Southwest Passenger’s ‘Hot Stuff’ Blanket Blocks Tray Table

Southwest Airlines passengers draped blankets over their seat backs for comfort – completely unconcerned with the comfort of the passengers sitting behind them. One was a “hot stuff” hot suce blanket with hearts, and it covered up a passenger’s tray table. That passenger says the tray table became unusable – and they ‘could not breathe.’

At least it’s Southwest Airlines so there’s no seat back entertainment screen that’s being covered up. And I suppose, contra what the passenger claimed on Twitter, they could kind of use their tray table?

Passengers taking up the space behind them, covering up entertainment screens and tray tables, is sadly more common than you’d think. People just do not pay attention to the way they’re affecting neighboring passengers around them inside a metal tube. We all create a bubble of privacy, pretending like we’re alone. But that only works if we let others pretend they’re alone, too.

Ready to get triggered?
byu/WheatlyWoodson indelta

There may not be a lot of space in economy, and Southwest Airlines only offers economy. Still, it’s important to stay within your own space because there isn’t much space in economy for other passengers either. Sadly, pretending nobody else exists brings out the worst in all of us.

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. Airplanes are not a familiar space for most people. A simple “Hey did you realize your blanket (/jacket/hair) is (whatever)?” would almost certainly have sufficed.

    The person bitching to social media was obviously more interested in the clicks than a resolution, given the hyperbole about “can’t use my tray table or breathe” considering both were obviously possible. (The blanket isn’t preventing you from lowering the tray table.)

  2. Why are people such sheeple or afraid of speaking up? If I was ever in that situation I would say something to the person in front of me and if either they didn’t comply or gave me attitude I’d hit the call button and get an FA involved.

    I never understood the benefit of posting stuff like this to social media to show how people “suffered” when they take absolutely no steps to resolve the situation.

  3. call the FA
    when the FA gets there, untie the coat and throw it over the top, throw the blanket over the top
    don’t ask the FA to intervene
    intervene on behalf of the FA while the FA is there to witness the intervention
    don’t give the FA the opportunity to negotiate
    of course, you are likely to get a seat reclined in your face

    note to gary: you provoke when you use the word “may” instead of “is”, as in, there IS not a lot of space in economy, where you wrote “there may not be a lot of space in economy”

  4. I am beginning to wonder what is the job of the FA , particularly on Southwest. They don’t stop anyone from blocking even multiple rows of seats. Giving out the bag of snacks? Someone tried to exit with my well marked carryon and they did nothing to assist me in stopping them. Shouldn’t they act to stop rude and intrusive behavior?

  5. four flights ATL-EZE (Buenos Aires) in Delta’s Premium Comfort, at the front bulkhead in the first, window seat, aisle-seat-fellow promptly pulled off his shoes, no socks, planted them firmly on the bulkhead. Need a pedicure. EZE-ATL, got 2nd row, guy in the middle-bulkhead did the same, at least he left his socks on. Am I too-sensitive, being totally disgusted?

  6. @Barnett Sturm – “I am beginning to wonder what is the job of the FA , particularly on Southwest. ” fwiw Southwest cabin crew have more duties on average than at other carriers because they also do a cleaning between flights

  7. @Gary – You said it pal, your (limited) space is your own. A perfect example of why you don’t recline.

  8. I’m fascinated by the variety of opinions in the comment session, and I read them all.

  9. The “power” to reach a huge audience via attention-seeking posts like this is like crack to many people – causing overly dramatic (and ridiculous) wording like “couldn’t breathe”.

  10. I don’t think it’s being “sheeple” asking for a FA to get involved in a matter like this. In today’s world where a significant portion of the populace thinks the universe revolves around them and they are entitled to EVERYTHING, trying to solve this matter passenger-on-passenger will result in the bigger, stronger party getting his/her way. Even in today’s screwed up world people will, although begrudgingly, respect a neutral third-party intervention especially if that third-party has the trappings of authority.

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