Remember that post I wrote a couple months ago about my proselytizing seatmate? Turns out he had another issue as well: pungent body odor.
Later today I will publish my flight report on Ukraine International Airlines’ flagship Kiev to New York route. That report will dwell on the seat and service: I don’t want it to be sidetracked by my seatmate. But I’ve never had an experience like this one.
The proselytizing did not begin till the final 90 minutes of the flight. The body odor was present from the very start. As my seatmate sat down, the stench was unmistakable: the gentleman needed a shower and needed one fast. Perhaps it was coming from his body, perhaps he ahd just worn the same clothes for several days, but whatever it was, it was overwhelming.
Sadly, the business class cabin (only 12 seats) was full, so there was nowhere I could move.
Grin and Bear It?
Most airlines have procedures to remove passengers with body odor. Perhaps Ukraine International Airlines did as well, but this would be one of those borderline cases. The smell was there even if I leaned against the window as far away from his as possible. It was unpleasant. But it was not so overwhelming that I could not survive, I was just particularly uncomfortable.
For the duration of the flight, I breathed through my mouth. Unfortunately, the gentleman leaned in to talk during the final 90 minutes of the flight and the smell was even stronger.
So a couple takeaways. Few are immune to body odor…but I certainly can detect it the moment it rears its ugly head. I wonder if this man recognized and ignored it or was oblivious to it, like he was oblivious to the fact that a conversation usually involves speaking AND listening. Second, I don’t think I was wrong to “grin and bear it” even though it made for an uncomfortable flight. What’s the alternative? Throw the guy off when the New York flight doesn’t operate for another 48 hours?
I do implore my fellow passengers to treat others the way you wish to be treated: that includes smelling nice if you want those seated around you to do the same. The trip report will be published soon and I will make reference to this only in passing. It required a post of its own!