The other day, I got stuck with a middle seat on my flight from Seattle to Chicago. Whenever I’m unfortunate enough to get a middle seat, I usually lay my laptop, and whatever else I want out, down on my seat and head to the back.
I like to stand in the back 1) because I’m not in a hurry to sit when I’ll be sitting all flight, and 2) because I like to minimize the time I get stuck between two people. I also like to people watch and see who I’m going to be sitting next to and who’s entering the plane.
On this particular flight, while I stood and watched people enter, I noticed a kid (probably in his early 20s) get out of his seat a few rows behind mine and move to my row. At this point, there was a guy in the window seat and a woman in the aisle seat.
He moved up to my row and pointed to the seat. The woman got up and he sat down. When he sat down, he picked up my laptop and motioned to the two – presumably to ask if it was either of theirs. The man shook his head “no,” but the woman called the flight attendant.
She showed up and asked for the guy’s ticket. After looking at it, she pointed to the middle seat two rows behind mine. So he got up and moved to seats back… with my laptop. He tucked it in with his things and moved to a new seat.
I’ve already told this story to a few people, and some theorized that he might have thought it was left from a passenger on a previous flight. But if that were the case, he would have given it to the flight attendant.
When everyone was finished entering, I walked back to my seat, stopping at his. I looked down, and he had my laptop on his lap (at least he knew how to use it). I looked at him and said, “I’m having a difficult time coming up with one good fucking reason why you’re sitting there holding my laptop.”
He simply looked down and handed it to me without saying a word.
I’m not sure what else, if anything, I could or should have done. I’m not really even sure what my options were. But I have to believe he was, in fact, hoping he got a free one.
It’s been a fun week of travel, and this just added another layer to it.