Here’s a quick question. You are about to take off on a flight when the passenger next to you, a man with a grey beard and a Tam o’Shanter hat, who looks a little like a gnome, goes to sleep and starts snoring loudly.
- Ring for the flight attendant and ask to be moved;
- Insert plugs in your ears;
- Don earphones and pump up the volume;
- Put up with the snoring;
- Repeatedly jab the snorer in the arm with a ball-point pen.
If you chose the final option, heaven help you. A middle-aged woman was kicked off a flight in the US last week for doing just that.
She prodded the snorer so hard and so often with a pen that it bruised the man’s arm, marked his shirt and caused him to wake up and yell “Owww!”
The snorer’s cry alerted fellow passengers, flight attendants were called, and the flight, a Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago to Manchester in New Hampshire stopped taxiing down the runway for takeoff.
Instead, Southwest flight 577 returned to the gate, where the woman was removed from the flight.
Southwest Airlines said in a statement that the woman was removed “after poking her seatmate with a pen to stop him from snoring”, People magazine in the US reported.
According to the publication, the unidentified woman, aged 64 and already agitated by delays, sat down in an aisle seat and almost immediately got into a dispute with the middle seat passenger, Lenny Mordarski, 68, who was flying back home.
A friend of Mordarski’s travelling with him, who was sitting in the window seat, told People the dispute started over who had the right to rest their arm on the armrest. The woman had said “I’m going to write on you if you don’t move your arm,” the friend said.
Almost immediately after that, Mordarski fell into a deep sleep and started snoring. The woman reacted by aggressively poking Mordarski in the arm with a pen, so hard “he’s got bruises on his arm”, the friend said.
“Imagine being asleep and then being stung by bees,” is how Mordarski described the experience to CNN.
Passengers applauded as the woman was marched down the aisle and evicted. The flight was two hours late. Mordarski and his friend were given free gin and tonics and travel vouchers.
The pen jabber caught a later flight.
Written by Peter Needham