How To Cope With a Smelly Passenger

Unless you are flying business or first class, a long distance plane ride is almost always uncomfortable as well as frustrating. Adding to the misery of being trapped in an enclosed space for several hours is the presence of all kinds of annoying passengers.

Some of those that can easily turn your dream vacation into a hellish nightmare are stinky ones. Their foul body odor can make every second of your flight a complete disaster.

So what should you do when you suddenly find yourself seated right next to a smell person on a plane? Approach the flight attendant. Ask to have a word with him or her away from the earshot of everyone or the passenger whose smell you cannot stand. A flight attendant manual says exactly what could be done when you found yourself sitting next to a smelly person.

With good manners, it is apparent that the best thing to do is simply suck it up and pray very hard for time to fly really fast. Time, unfortunately, does not seem to want to fly when you are not having fun, such as when exposed to the nasty odor of the passenger next to you.

There are rare instances in which the smell is too overpowering and persistent to be simply ignored. Worry not if you are in such a situation because there are a few steps that may be taken. Some of the most effective of the bunch you will find below, so do not stop reading now!

The Source of the Horrible Smell Can Actually be Eliminated

Celebrate if you are particularly sensitive to strong smells, in particular the kinds that are unpleasant. That is because it is possible for the flight crew to ask a passenger whose body odor is wreaking havoc to the nose of everybody else to get off the plane.

It is much better this way than to have much bigger problems show up when the plane is already flying thousands of feet in the air.

Something as simple as complaining to the flight attendant is usually more than enough to have the problem addressed. It does not mean, however, that the source of the foul odor will automatically be asked to exit the cabin.

Initially, the flight attendant will assess the cause of the bad smell. Is it coming from the feet of the passenger who just removed his or her shoes?

If such is the case, then the flight attendant will simply politely ask the individual to put on his or her shoes and beg to not remove them ever again during the flight. But then at times the flight attendant may simply stash coffee grounds or some form of deodorizer near the source of the odor.

But in some situations, the flight attendant has no choice but to tell the culprit the truth and ask him or her to get off the plane. At times the flight attendant may ask the pilot to do the job especially if the smelly person is just as stubborn as his or her body odor.

And just in case the passenger resists the irresistible authority of the pilot, then the pilot may seek the help of security to have the person removed from the plane.

Poor Personal Hygiene Versus a Medical Condition

There is no problem if the cause of the unfavorable smell of the passenger is evidently due to having poor personal hygiene. Especially if the bad odor is bugging not only you but many other passengers as well, it can be very easy for the flight attendant or someone else who is a part of the flight crew to ask the person to get off the plane.

However, it is a different matter if the unpleasant odor of the person is due to a medical condition. If such is the case, it is then considered as a disability. No one should be thrown out of a plane or elsewhere for something that he or she did not welcome into his or her life!

That is why one of the initial steps that a flight attendant has to take when examining the problem is to identify the root cause of the foul odor. Needless to say, he or she should know how to differentiate poor personal hygiene and a medical condition.

Failure to do so could easily lead to a viral video starring the flight attendant who will certainly be crucified on social media. He or she may even be fired by the airline company or slapped with a lawsuit by the passenger.

If truth be told, there are a handful of medical conditions that is capable of making the person who has one kind of smell. A very common example is diabetes. A person who has diabetes may suffer from a foot infection, and if the infection is severe it is possible for it to give off an unpleasant smell.

Nothing can leave you feeling guilty more than asking the flight attendant to request the smelly individual to be ejected from the plane due to a medical condition that he or he didn’t ask for.

But do not worry because there are many other things that may be done that are not cruel, and some of the best can be found below.

How to Deal With the Problem Without Hurting Anyone’s Feelings

No matter if the cause of the nose-related issue is due to poor personal hygiene or a medical condition, there are things that may be done that do not involve kicking someone off the plane or leaving feelings hurt. Here are some of the steps that you may take if you cannot stand the smell that is coming from the person seated next to you:

Ask to be moved to a different seat

This is certainly one of the quickest and most trouble-free ways to put an end to the problem. This is especially true if your new seat is several feet away from the guilty party. Unfortunately, having a different seat is not always a possibility as most commercial flights fly at full capacity to rake in more profit.

Request for a blanket

And while you are at it, ask the smelly person beside you if he or she would also like a blanket for protection from the cold cabin temperatures. Pair your question with a silent prayer begging for the person to also want to have a blanket and then cover it on his or her body, thus trapping the foul odor underneath it.

Put a little something under your nose

Have you noticed that in TV series and movies pathologists have some type of cream under their noses when inspecting decaying bodies or doing an autopsy? Well, that’s Vicks VapoRub or Tiger Balm (Amazon), so make sure that you always have a small tub of it stashed in one of your carry-on bags.

Wear a surgical mask

The most discreet way to use a surgical mask to protect your nose from the unpleasant smell coming from the passenger next to you on a plane is to fake a cough or sneeze. You will surely look like a hero because you don’t want others to get your virus. And before you put on that surgical mask, subtly spray perfume on it.

Ask for a deodorizer

You may also approach the flight attendant to request for some type of deodorizer. Usually, the plane bathroom has one. Once you have the weapon, secretly place it near the smelly person and let it weave its magic. Coffee grounds are known to be fantastic eliminators of disagreeable smells.

Related Questions

Can I request to be moved to a different seat if I am seated next to a smelly dog?

Definitely, you can request the flight attendant to move you to a different seat. Don’t forget to inform him or her that being given a business or first class seat would be really fine.

Is body odor regarded as a disability?

No, it is not considered as some form of disability. However, it is an entirely different story if the foul smell emanating from the individual is due to a medical condition, such as what was mentioned earlier in this article.

Reed Harris

Reed is a traveler and blogger. He's planning to visit all states in the USA. He's been in 31 states so far.

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