On boarding a flight from Portland Oregon to LA: I was walking down the aisle towards my seat at the rear of the plane. As I got to the 2nd row from the back I looked where I thought my seat was and in it was the fattest woman I have ever seen. She smiled and said "Honey am I in your seat"? and before I could think I blurted out "I can't tell which seat you're actually in" as the seats were 3 across and so was she. I felt so rude for saying it as she was obviously a friendly person. I ended up sitting in the row behind as there was a spare seat. I then struck up a conversation with the person next to me. She happened to be the manager of a management company of a quite famous rock musician. She gave me her card and insisted I contact her for tickets should he ever come to my home city. Over a year later the band came to town and true to her word she arranged free tickets for me.
I was once on a 12 hour flight, to Brazil.
The guy sitting next to me, kept getting agressive, with everybody. When he was not arguing with people, he looked to be constantly on the verge of losing his temper.
After a zero-sleep flight across the Atlantic Ocean (Rio de Janeiro to Paris) we had to hang out on the French airport for five hours (irritating enough, and still no sleep), before we could jump on the last final plane to Scandinavia. All I wanted was to sleep, and sleep hard... But behind me (not beside me, but I thought the story was bad enough to fit in here anyway) was this 5-year old little girl, blond and Danish and absolutely charming - and she was kicking the back of my seat, all the way to Copenhagen!!!
After five minutes of kicking I asked her (very friendly) to quit the kicking. Although I asked her in Swedish she understood, (it's pretty similar to Danish) and stopped kicking - for 3 seconds or so... After another five minutes I turned around again and this time I told her not as friendly to PLEASE STOP KICKING. Her mother just looked at me as if I were an alien that was going to kidnap her little daughter. But the girl really seemed to get it this time, and actually there was no more kicking. I started to relax, I managed to fall asleep - but then the kicking started again!
Deep breath. I turned around, really concentrating on being nice... This time I addressed the mother: "Could you please tell your little daughter to stop kicking my chair?"
The mother just looked at me with empty eyes, and said: "She wasn't kicking. I was watching her all along."
Mind you, this was said while the girl was still kicking my chair, smiling gently...!!! After that the whole family just ceased to understand any Swedish at all, the kicking continued and even increased, and I didn't sleep anything.
The worst people I sat close to on a plane was two guys on a flight from Miami to Amsterdam. It was an overnight flight, but even sitting two rows behind them I could hear them chatting away loudly. After dinner was served people were trying to sleep still the guys wouldn't shut up and it turned out that they were quite drunk. People around them were getting more and more pissed off, because they couldn't sleep and many (including myself) told them in a friendly manner that it was time to finish their conversation. Still, they kept on talking and keeping the whole plane awake that even the flight attendants seemed helpless. The situation finally got a bit out of control when the family with a little child in front of them completely freaked out and started yelling at them. It shut them up for a few minutes but half and hour later they started talking again. It was truly unreal and the poor family was taken away to Business Class. Other people just gave in and could not sleep for the whole trip.
At least upon arrival in Amsterdam they were welcomed by the police at the door! I don't mind a drink or two on a plane but after this experience I really think they shouldn't let drunk people fly or serve them more than a reasonable amount of alcohol.
My worst experience was on a flight form Bangkok to London. I was sat next to this MASSIVE guy, I'm talking HUGE and the poor guy, who was very nice, was not very well and farted the entire way to London.
My last flight from Gatwick to Toronto I had to sit next to a woman who took up her seat and half mine...ok whatever, but then she wanted to talk the WHOLE flight. When I pretended to sleep she woke me up to tell me there was going to be some turbulance. Then she tried to teach me to read braille from some weird book she had...she wasn't blind and wasn't very good at reading it herself Good thing it was only a 8 hour flight
I honestly don't remember the "worst" passenger I've sat next to, but these two will do for now...
Dublin to Newark - Kris and I were in the middle seats of 3-across seating, across the aisle from each other. (Bad from the start....) The guy to my right kept falling asleep and trying to use my shoulder as a pillow, bouncing off of it every few minutes for 7 hours. He was also very tall so kept using my little bit of leg room as his own for his left one. (I did enjoy talking with the gentleman to my left as he was quite interesting.)
Newark to Chicago - the young girl next to me thought crossing her legs in the seat was a comfy way to travel, taking up half of my seat with her left knee. She also thought elbowing me in the side, as she kept time to whatever music she had on her MP3 player which was set to LOUD, was also fun. Two hours of non-stop fidgeting - most of it in my small little corner of the plane.
I had a flight from Boston to Heathrow (changing in Frankfurt) I sat next to this American woman who insisted on tapping me on the shoulder every 5 minutes to ask me something usually when I had my headphones on watching a film or reading. When we were nearly in Frankfurt, there was a screen showing connecting flights, so I was looking out for my flight, she kept butting in saying "I can't see your connecting flight, are you sure you got it right?" at that point the wanted to kill the b*tch!
I will soon be travelling on first solo international flight. The last flight was 30 years ago.
After reading through your posts I really hope I don't have the passenger from hell next to me as I am not the most patient person and my manners tend to leave when I am disturbed:
It's never happened to me. Yet another bonus of not flying