On my way back from Kiev on Sunday afternoon I sat behind a man who was either very vindictive or very ignorant.
As I settled into my seat shortly before pushback, I noticed that the man had placed his satchel under his seat, rather than under the seat in front of him where personal carry-on items are supposed to be placed. I stretched my legs under the seat in front of me and gently nudged out the man’s bag, hoping he would get the hint that he had placed it in the wrong spot.
He noticed the bag had been moved and attempted to stuff it under his seat again. But now my feet were in the way and he kept pushing the bag against them, as if I should move my legs to accommodate his bag. I leaned up and told him to use the space in front of him and he scoffed and proceeded to place the bag over my feet. A “match” ensued for the next five minutes, quite comical in retrospect–it was like an old Donald Duck cartoon where Donald fights Chip and Dale over the most elementary and inconsequential things. Finally the man dropped the bag on top of my feet.
My temper was beginning to flare, but I stayed calm and said nothing. I was in a comfortable position and if the man wanted to put his bag over my dirty shoes, well, fine.
The flight took off and for the next hour the bag remained on top of my feet. For good measure, he slammed his seat back on me during the meal service but it wasn’t worth fighting this guy who did not seem to speak any English. After the meal service (hot meal on a 2.5 hour Lufthansa flight in economy!) the man got up to use the restroom but quickly returned to his seat and grabbed the bag, while frowning at me.
The guy finally got wise when he returned from the lavatory and put his bag down on the empty middle seat in his row. It only took him an hour to figure that out!
So I guess it bears repeating here: on an airplane, your storage space is NOT under your own seat, but under the seat in front of you. Bottom line: we don’t want our legroom cluttered with your detritus!