When it comes to travel, riding on airplanes can be an adventure in itself. I typically prefer to have my own lovely assigned seat and don’t enjoy being cued up like cattle, so I do sometimes avoid Southwest Airlines. There, you have to hope you get far enough ahead in line to avoid getting the dreaded middle seat. That said, if it’s still open on a full flight, you run risk of having the largest person you’ve ever scene attempt to squash themselves into it. Often, failing miserably and oozing into your personal space. This makes flying rather uncomfortable, but at least when you fly Southwest you can always count on some down home honesty from the crew. I thought today, I’d share some overheard conversations I captured on a single flight.

Once, while flying back from somewhere I can’t even remember at the moment, I was tired, rushed and bored, so I decided to write a little to take my mind off things. Instead of journaling about my trip, I found myself fascinating with the conversations of the flight crew taking place all around me. It actually started before we even left the ground when the pilot crackled across the intercom with his initial greeting.

PILOT: Hey there folks. We sure appreciate you travelin’ with us today and we’ll do what we can to get ya there safely. I apologize for the lack of water on the airplane today in the lavs, the water lines were all froze up. We do have some of that hand sanitizer back there for ya though. So, that should do it. 

I made an immediate note to not order anything to drink as there was no way I was going near that bathroom. To top it all off, I was starving and hadn’t had a chance to eat anything yet. I got stuck at the very back of the plane and wasn’t sure if there was any food left when the flight attendant finally made it back to me.

FLIGHT ATTENDANT: We have two sandwiches left.
CHARLIE: What kind?
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: We’re not sure.
CHARLIE:  Not sure?
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: We switched caterers… so… it could be chicken or it could be tuna… it’s kind of mystery meat.
CHARLIE:  I’ll take them both. And I’ll let you know what it is.
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Yes, please do!

The sandwiches came and were indeed made from some lightly colored canned meat that tasted like neither chicken nor tuna. They just tasted like lumpy mayonnaise. They were incredibly messy and with the water situation, I had no way to wash my hands so I just kept wiping them with a napkin stupidly as though that alone would remove the not quite chicken/tuna smell from my fingers.

As I was nearing the end of the flight, I overheard a conversation initiated by the flight attendant who had served me my mystery meat. This time, she had a captive audience in the form of a woman sitting at the back of the plane who sounded like she didn’t want any part of the conversation:

FLIGHT ATTENDANT: You, know, it’s really economical to hunt your own meat.
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Yeah, and depending on how deer is prepared I can’t really tell the difference between that and cow meat.
PASSENGER: Oh really?
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: I had a roommate from California once that said, “Oh my god, you’re killing Bambi!” Then I slipped it in her food and she loved it.
PASSENGER: Did she…?
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Yeah… but when she found out, she yelled at me and told me she’d kill me in my sleep if I ever did it again… so, you know… I stopped.

Needless to say, I suddenly begin to wonder just want type of mystery meat was lurking in my sandwiches. But truthfully, I was having a blast. These were people who didn’t seem to care about the proper thing to say and simply said whatever came to mind and went with it. In other words, they were actually my people. As I type this now, having no clue what I’m going to say next and not really editing what comes out, I appreciate this flight crew all the more. Saying what comes to mind and just being yourself is never really a bad thing. In fact, it can make a rather stressful flight somewhat more enjoyable. Especially if you happen to be trapped in the middle seat.

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About the Doodlewash

M. Graham Watercolors:  Gamboge, Burnt Sienna, and Ultramarine Blue. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal.
Day 2 #WorldWatercolorGroup Traveling By Plane Southwest Airlines Seats
Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

37 replies on “Traveling By Plane

  1. Hmm, mystery meat doesn’t sound a good idea. I’ve never been on a plane, but this is pretty much how I’d imagine every flight to be. The empty seats are a relief, though! I’d much rather ‘overhear’ than partake in conversation myself😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. YIKES. It never ceases to amaze me the things people will say, given a bit of time and a captive audience! Well, at least you got some hilarious stories out of it, and a lovely drawing. You’re a better person (and artist) than I, Charlie.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I briefly was employed as a ticket agent back in the 80’s for a major airline. Let me just say I lost a lot of weight on that job… It is stressful to fly but even more to serve the public who probably should NOT be flying! Lol! 😳 And why do the plane manufacturers have to make those seats so crowded?! Just saying! 💙✈️😄 Have a great flight, Charlie!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahahah Charlie your post is hilarious! I mean the plot and dialogs between the people and your humor and acceptance of the situation at that moment! Sometimes, yes, is good to deal with things in a humoristic way and get a laugh out of situations that could be annoying or turn worse😉 I love your watercolor your seat are great and so detailed beautifully done! Have a great long weekend and a happy Labor Day!😉❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! I only wish I was pulling your leg. This is absolutely true and word for word on the dialogue. I was reading back through journal entries and stumbled across these exchanges. For a super brief moment years ago, I had a blog called Life Out Of Context where I would capture snippets of conversations like these. I had to stop because trying to scribble down an entire conversation is really tough and takes you out of the moment a bit. But I captured some fun stuff before I ended it! Lol Truth is always stranger than fiction!! And thanks!! I’m so glad you liked this Doodlewash! 😃💕Thanks, Sharon!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. All this belongs to flying!
    The sort of meat sounds not so clear but yeah if you are that hungry….
    The watercolor chairs are fabuleus Charlie and if you could have all three by yourself you had a comfortable flight😊
    Thank you for sharing the Conversations, nice to read them.
    How long takes your flight?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Margriet! 😃💕 yes to all 3 seats! That’s only happened to me a handful of times and I’m too tall to lay across them! 😊Glad you liked the chairs, it was a totally different sort of subject to doodlewash! Hehe And the conversations were found in my journal from a few years ago when I had to travel for work a lot. So many weird things happened…had to write some of them down! Lol So flying time varies but if I’m staying in the US and Canada, I’m in the middle of the country so I can get anywhere in about 3-3.5 hours or less!


  6. Love your picture and story. The stewardess giving her roommate venison reminds of the time I served rabbit to my roommate, after she had told me she never wanted to try it. As we were eating it, she commented how she didn’t like the sinewy parts that run along side the meat. At the time I announced she was eating rabbit. Not the right time to let out my secret. I thought she was going to kill me too. I felt so bad, I swore I’d never do such a thing again to anybody.

    Sent from my iPad

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Charlie,

    So enjoyed your flying memories. It’s all about ones attitude, right? Enjoyed the watercolor and the story to go with it was the bomb! (You’re a gifted writer).
    Best for now~

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As one of “those large people,” I can tell you that the airlines don’t make it easy for us either. A few years ago, I booked myself an art vacation in France as a special treat. I knew that I was oversize to fit into one of the seats (and tall as well), so I decided that I would book myself two seats so as not to intrude on the person next to me. Yes, it was motivated by my comfort, but also to be considerate and hopefully not get fat-shamed in public. After 45 minutes apiece on the phone arguing with two different airlines, I discovered that it’s against the law to book two seats in the same person’s name (apparently a security issue) and they were effectively making it impossible for me to take care of my needs and that of the passenger next to me. I ended up spending three times what i would have paid by booking a business-class seat (which was separated from the person next to me by a console, and was the right size for me). I resented spending the money, but wasn’t willing to get to the airport and have someone tell me that because the seatbelt wouldn’t quite close, I wouldn’t be able to make my trip to France. I’m not trying to shame you in return, Charlie, but when you blithely say something about being “stuck” next to somebody whose size impinges on you, think about the fact that that person would probably love to be able to fit into that seat and not bother his or her seat-mates at all. All of us who are too fat are not likewise heedless of our effect on the comfort of others. And some of us are trying hard to fix things to fit back into the land of “normal.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Melissa for your frank and honest response. There’s always two sides to everything in life so I sincerely appreciate you sharing your story. I think it’s horrible that airlines wouldn’t let you create a more comfortable flight for yourself economically. The seats are incredibly small so they can get more people on the plane. As you say, we’re all thinking of our own comfort primarily. Apologies if my descriptions caused any offense. And glad you shared your views.


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