No, ma’am, I’m not a terrorist


I’m a window seat guy. I have been for years. Watching the world pass by as I fly 5 miles overhead makes me happy and so I do it as much as I can. I also take a lot of pictures of those experiences. A LOT of pictures. And, while I once had a flight attendant tell me I was not permitted to do so (she eventually reviewed her manual and relented) it was not until this weekend that it was suggested by a fellow passenger that perhaps I was a terrorist for doing so.

As is my normal pre-flight routine I had settled in to my seat and I was mounting my GoPro in the window. I use a small suction cup kit to keep it steady there; the photo quality is much better when I don’t have to hold it manually. And apparently that suction cup freaked her out.

We had been chatting politely, waiting for the 3rd person to join our row in the middle seat, and I was explaining to her that I use the kit to create videos of my flights, something I’ve done hundreds of times before. And that’s when she dropped the proverbial bombshell on me:

How do I know that, I mean, you’re not doing this to help them out.

Okay, so maybe she pulled the punch a bit. But the intent was obvious. Somehow she was convinced that my decision to create and share videos of my flights meant I am an evil person helping out those who are even more evil. And that’s a whole pile of bullshit. My reaction was polite, of course, because I wasn’t going to get thrown off the flight and also because “Are you fucking kidding me?” rarely goes over well as a comeback. But I found myself on the defensive, trying to explain that I’m just taking a video and that she needed to both not worry and also mind her own business. And I had to do that politely.

A uniformed, dead-heading pilot standing in the aisle overheard the conversation and did his best to help me out, letting her know that it was completely safe and there was no concern. I don’t think she was all that convinced. But at least the conversation peacefully derailed.

Until the third passenger in our row showed up. Her reaction was much more entertaining:

That’s some serious James Bond looking shit.

I like to think that it is my ruggedly handsome looks and stylish fashion which made her say that but, well, I was wearing a hawaiian shirt and hadn’t shaved in 3 days so I know the truth.

The flight was great overall. I got some work done, relaxed and even watched an Atlas V rocket carry a satellite into space out the window.

Really a top notch day of flying.

Separately, I do wonder how rare it is that anyone says thank you or even acknowledges airport and airline employees. For the second consecutive year I’ve flown on Halloween and handed out candy to the people working at the airport. From the reactions I saw both years you’d think that no one is ever nice to them. Which is a shame. If JetBlue does the $31 fares again next year for Halloween I’ll be out reverse trick-or-treating again. Just too much fun.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

3 Comments

  1. Good on you, both on being polite & professional in what could have been an especially tense situation, and on making some folks’ day with the Halloween candy.

    I’ve often thought of giving some chocolates to airport/flight folks, but worried that they’d have safety concerns :\.

    Though one time I gave a chamomile teabag to an ANA flight attendant. I had brought some chamomile tea to soothe my stomach, and she was mesmerized by the smell of it. I had one teabag left and gave it to her, and by the look on her face, you’d think I’d have just given her something far more valuable. Even as I deplaning, she smiled and thanked me for “the gift.” Imagine if I’d given her an actually decent gift! :O

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