I am submitting this story both to rant and for advice should something similar happen again (as I expect it will).
I regularly travel between the UK and the Netherlands. Approximately once a month I take a 1 hour flight between these 2 countries. I always take these flights alone. Due to a change in personal circumstances I have recently begun using a different UK airport to make these trips. As you may know, the Netherlands has liberal drug laws which makes it a popular destination for stag and hen parties, as well as other young people keen to experience the Dutch nightlife. In addition to these tourists there are also usually many young families and business travelers on the flights.
The flights from my new UK airport seem to have a much higher percentage of stag and hen parties and a lower percentage of business and family travelers. For this reason, the flights can be more rowdy. I usually take a book and tolerate this issue as it is only a short flight. However, on my most recent flight this strategy was insufficient.
A group of young women sitting behind me (I estimate approximately 18-20 years old) were speaking loudly and using offensive language from the beginning of the flight. As there were no children nearby no one seemed to mind, and I ignored it. As food was served I noticed that the woman sitting behind me had removed her shoes and socks and placed her feet between the chairs and onto the arm rest beside me. Her feet were not clean and I felt unable to eat with them almost touching my arm. I think the woman sitting next to me (also sharing the foot-covered arm rest) had noticed but chosen not to react.
I turned around, smiled at the woman behind me then glanced at her feet. I assumed this would be enough to remind her that her actions were inappropriate. I was shocked when she smirked back at me and her friend said, “Have you got a problem?” I replied, “Please can you move your feet, it is quite unhygienic”. She moved them off my arm rest. I then heard her and her friends mocking me. It seems ridiculous, but I felt like I was back in High School! I hate confrontation, and this incident bothered me for the rest of the day.
Can any readers offer advice on how I can better handle a situation like this in the future? Unfortunately, unless I pay for an upgrade I expect to encounter similar problems again. Whilst ideally I would hope the cabin crew would ensure a pleasant environment (and have contacted corporate to suggest this) I do not expect much. 0928-15
What you said was fine. What you need is your confidence built so that you don’t feel guilty for standing up for yourself and so that you are not emotionally bothered by the antics of petty people. View it this way…you won. You had control of the situation. Footsy chick may have grumbled and spewed hateful invectives in your direction but she did what you asked nonetheless. Kind of reminds me of how my dog mutters under her breath when she has to do something I want her to do. What Footsy Chick did in response to your request was typical of insecure people who do not yet have the maturity and self confidence to behave civilly to a civil request.