What's The Grossest Thing You've Ever Seen On An Airplane?

Photo: Drew Angerer / Staff (Getty Images)
Photo: Drew Angerer / Staff (Getty Images)

When I get on a plane, I don’t ask for much. I just want an aisle seat I can fit into comfortably enough, some peace and quiet while I listen to a podcast or watch a movie and the only conversation I have the entire flight to only consist of whatever it takes to get the flight attendant to give me a cup of ginger ale. I don’t even complain when it’s not Vernor’s. Just give me that, and I’ll be happy.

Unfortunately, while the — mostly Delta — flight attendants I’ve interacted with over the years have always been great, I can’t say the same for my fellow passengers. Thankfully, nothing too terrible has happened to me physically, some of the things that I’ve seen with my eyes have left me with plenty of trauma. Not even just rude things. Gross, nasty things.

If you’re a regular reader, you’re already familiar with the fact that I hate seeing bare feet on a plane. Whatever the opposite of a foot fetish is, I probably have that. And while bare feet on a plane in general will always be disgusting, there’s a special place in hell for people who use their bare toes on the touchscreen, as well as the sick freaks who go to the bathroom barefoot.


To this day, I think the grossest thing I’ve ever seen on a plane, though, was a woman a few rows diagonal from me doing what appeared to be some sort of toenail cleaning? If she’d just been painting them, I still wouldn’t have wanted to see her toes, but from what I could tell, she was scraping stuff out from under a toenail. I don’t understand how anyone thinks that’s OK, and honestly, I don’t want to know. If you need to quickly trim a hangnail on a finger that’s bothering you, go ahead, I guess, but scraping your toenails? That’s absolute degenerate behavior.

And yet, Daniel mentioned that a passenger on a recent flight full-on flossed her teeth IN THE SEAT NEXT TO HIM. She wasn’t using those floss picks, either. Just good old fashioned minty string. Finally, a new challenger has appeared to potentially take the spot as the grossest airplane thing I’d ever heard of. I mean, say what you will about Toenail Lady, but at the very least she wasn’t sitting right next to me while she did whatever that was.

Knowing air passengers, though, those stories probably pale in comparison to what some of you have seen. So hit us with all the grossest things you’ve seen on an airplane. We want to hear them. I mean, we don’t, really, but for the purposes of this QOTD, we do.

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