Mid-flight on December 21st, 2004, a Continental Airlines passenger — “disgusted” with the location of his seat due to its proximity to the lavatory — humorously wrote the following letter of complaint to the airline’s headquarters. The now-famous letter, complete with illustrations and vivid descriptions of the passenger’s stench-filled discomfort, found its way onto the Internet soon after being received by the company’s Customer Care department in April of 2005, and has since been confirmed as genuine by an apologetic company spokeswoman named Courtney Wilcox:
“The letter is not totally accurate and uses sarcastic humor to make the seat sound a lot worse than it is. But we don’t want to pooh-pooh this customer’s concerns — seat 29D is less than ideal. Most flights are not sold out and normally we can easily re-seat a customer who prefers not to sit in this location. However, the Dec. 21 flight was completely full, and we have apologized to the customer who wrote to us about the concerns. If there was a quick and easy solution to this problem we would do it in a whiz. However, the aircraft configuration is fixed and there is little we can do at this point to just flush away the issue.”
The victim’s identity remains a mystery.
FH#888/500 → HOUSTON
APR 13 2005
Dear Continental Airlines,
I am disgusted as I write this note to you about the miserable experience I am having sitting in seat 29E on one of your aircrafts. As you may know, this seat is situated directly across from the lavatory, so close that I can reach out my left am and touch the door.
All my senses are being tortured simultaneously. It’s difficult to say what the worst part about sitting in 29E really is? Is it the stench of the sanitation fluid that’s blown all over my body every 60 seconds when the door opens? Is it the wooosh of the constant flushing? Or is it the passengers asses that seem to fit into my personal space like a pornographic jig-saw puzzel?
I constructed a stink-shield by shoving one end of a blanket into the overhead compartment — while effective in blocking at least some of the smell, and offering a small bit of privacy, the ass-on-my-body factor has increased, as without my evil glare, passengers feel free to lean up against what they think is some kind of blanketed wall. The next ass that touches my shoulder will be the last!
I am picturing a board room, full of executives giving props to the young promising engineer that figured out how to squeeze an additional row of seats onto this plane by putting them next to the LAV.
I would like to flush his head in the toilet that I am close enough to touch, and taste, from my seat.
Putting a seat here was a very bad idea. I just heard a man GROAN in there! THIS SUCKS!
DEPICTION OF MANS BUTT IN MY FACE
Worse yet, is I’ve paid over $400.00 for the honor of sitting in this seat!
Does your company give refunds? I’d like to go back where I came from and start over. Seat 29E could only be worse if it was located inside the bathroom.
I wonder if my clothing will retain the sanitizing odor…. what about my hair! I feel like I’m bathing in a toilet bowl of blue liquid, and there is no man in a little boat to save me.
I am filled with a deep hatred for your plane designer and a general dis-ease that may last for hours.
We are finally decending, and soon I will be able to tear down the stink-shield, but the scars will remain.
I suggest that you initiate immediate removal of this seat from all of your crafts. Just remove it, and leave the smouldering brown hole empty, a good place for sturdy/non-absorbing luggage maybe, but not human cargo.