People on Planes

I encountered a new form of obnoxiousness while flying back east to visit my parents yesterday. I had the middle seat in a row of three, which kind of sucks for a five-hour flight, but I can deal. This middle-aged, married-looking couple began sitting down on either side of me, so naturally, I offered to move one seat over so they could sit together. They exchanged pained, awkward glances, as though I had just told them not to mind my ebola virus, and then they explained that they had intentionally arranged to sit this way since the woman is claustrophobic and needed the aisle seat. Now, this reasoning didn’t hold water, because the dude could have easily traded places with me, and he didn’t — he stayed by the window. Obviously they both hated the middle seat and preferred to have a stranger suffering in between them. “Don’t worry, we won’t talk over you that much!” the guy said, but of course there was food being passed back and forth, and a cell phone (both engaged in baby talk with their grandson), and occasional conversation between them. It was like I’d unwittingly stepped into some weird, asexual ménage-à-trois.  The woman, it should also be noted, kept slipping out of her Prada sandals, and putting her nasty feet all over her seat cushion.

By the time we reached Atlanta from Seattle, I detested them and their stunning sense of self-entitlement, and I think they knew it, because the woman apologized again for her “claustrophobia.” I’m sure they’re going to pull this stunt on someone else on the way home, and while I feel bad for that poor sucker, I sure hope it isn’t me.


  • Jim

    Read your new comic, and I was quite disappointed. You clearly have no idea what libertarianism is about, instead thinking that extremists like Rand Paul represent all of us. You are sadly misinformed.

  • Tom Schmidt

    Read your new comic and I loved it. There’s a guy where I work that’s a libertarian and he’s the walking embodiment of Rand Paul. I sent him your cartoon. He was not amused. These Freedomtarians (er … Libertarians) have no sense of humor.

    Also, your plane story is yet another reminder of why I hate to fly.

  • Corby Ziesman

    The real question is: Would you put up with it all over again, if it DOES end up being you in the middle again on the way back?

  • Jen Sorensen

    Jim: Please see my latest blog post for my thoughts:

    Corby: Not a chance in hell.

  • Sumit Khanna

    Does Jim not know how to leave a comment about an article on that specific article, or did he just want to post to the top of a thread?

    Also, I wish we had a real high-speed train infrastructure. I once took an AmTrack from Chicago to Milwaukee. No security checks, luggage goes right above you, the seats were huge, I could stretch and fold my legs and half the cars had electrical outlet rails to plug in laptops. Of course any of the long distance AmTrack trips are kinda unreasonable (they take twice as long driving).

    Could you imagine how awesome it would be to have high speed trains in this country? Damn those airplane/auto-industry lobbies.

  • Jen Sorensen

    To be fair to Jim, the blog post on the cartoon wasn’t up yet. But yeah. Trains are awesome.

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.