So, you are stuck in coach, on either a red-eye to the east coast, or an overnighter to Asia or Europe. Like all good and bad travelers, you are going to try to sleep. First, you are going to have a nice dinner and some cocktails. Then, if you are still not sleepy, watch a movie and take an Ambien (sleeping pill). Now the fun starts. Who are you sleeping next to?
Now, the average economy class seat in only 18 inches wide. Some people can sleep anywhere, and some of us are a little more particular. I can sleep in coach is the entire middle section of a wide body is empty. Then, I can stretch out completely, and get 6-8 hours of sleep. That has happened to me only a handful of times. Some of you have your idiosyncrasies.
The Rock This guy, and I do mean guy, just sits down, buckles up, and boom! Off to sleep, lots of zzzz’s. sleeps through meals, never has to pee, and never moves.
The Contortionist This gal or guy is a yogist (or is it yogini, or yogurt?), and is as comfortable as a pig in slop, wedged against the window, or folding themselves over the tray table. This person also tends to skip meals, never snores, put has their stinky feet all over everything in your row.
The Neighborly Sort This guy or gal is usually too big for his/her seat, hogs the armrest, the space for your feet, and all of the oxygen that the plane manufactures. Often, they fall onto your shoulder, never a good idea, since they have halitosis, or even worse, ringworm!
The Lindsay Lohan Look Alike This gal has it all, lots of vodka, her Ambien, earplugs, eyeshades, and a sign to hang around her neck, “Do Not Disturb” unless it is steak and lobster for dinner. I wonder why these heavy drinkers never have to pee?
Inspector Gadget He has the Bose noise-cancelling headphones. He listens to the soft Russian folk lullabies on his iPod or iPhone. He looks like a super heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestler from the 1924 Olympics. Then he does the unthinkable. He pulls out his custom cashmere blanket, a small inflatable pillow, and some herbal tea just before beddy-bye.
Probably the strangest seatmate I ever had was on a flight from Boston many years ago. The young lady next to me started falling out of her clothing. I asked the flight attendant to intervene, but she declined. I would periodically try to waken her, in between taking numerous photos (just kidding). Regardless, any seat mate I have ever had on a plane can never be as bad as some of the stinky Russian cabin mates I had on the Trans Siberian Railway last May.