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Luke Burbank

What to do when your seatmate passes out on you

When it comes to flying, there's nothing worse than getting stuck in the middle seat, especially if you're getting sleepy.

"If you get the middle seat, you are getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop, as Marilyn Monroe calls it in 'Some Like It Hot," says KIRO Radio's frequent flier Luke Burbank. "You are getting the raw deal."

The conversation came up Wednesday after a guy named Steve Cullum posted hilarious, but painful video on YouTube of a woman who fell asleep and ended up in his lap.

"I've had their shoulder kind of lean into my shoulder. I've never had anything like what happened with this woman. She is just going for it," laughs Luke.

Cullum insists the video, which has since gone viral, wasn't staged.

"As soon as she sat down, she started falling asleep, and it only got worse as the flight continued," he writes in the video's description. "I tried lifting her up, shaking her, and startling her, but it seemed like nothing was going to work. So, I thought it would be fun to get some of it on video to share with family and friends."

Cullum says he tried repeatedly to wake her without success. And he says he couldn't get up or call for a flight attendant because they were all ordered to stay seated for turbulence.

While Cullum was in the window seat, Luke says it's still a good reason to bring up some rules about the middle seat. First and foremost, stay off your fellow passengers. And he says whoever is stuck in the unfortunate section should at least be given both armrests.

"Both of the extreme ends have it relatively made, but if you're in the middle seat, you've got nothing," he says. "I mean, they are human beings after all, let's give them just a small measure of human dignity."

And Luke says if you happen to be of a size that exceeds your personal space, you should be obligated to buy a second seat.

"I don't want to sound mean," Luke says, "but many a time I've had to make peace with resting my arm on part of someone else's body that has just not infringed on, but fully entered my seat space that I paid for."

Suffice it to say it's pretty unpleasant. Almost as much as a drooling woman passed out in your lap.

Co-host Tom Tangney can relate. On a recent flight back to Seattle from South Africa, he was stuck next to a muscle-bound body builder who extended far beyond his seat.

"His biceps were bigger than my thighs," Tom laughs. "And he couldn't help it. Basically, I cradled his arm for the entire ten hour trip."

What would you do with a sleeping seat mate or someone spreading out into your space?

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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