The Smelly Feet in Seat 15A

It never ceases to amaze me how many complaint letters are generated by our experiences on airlines.  Here is another one but unusually, this letter is not addressed to the airline, but to one of its passengers!

Lau Mun Yee was travelling with Air Asia from Singapore to Sydney back in 2015. Travel, they said. It will be fun, they said. They were wrong.

Munyee posted her letter on SGAG1 and it got tweeted and posted widely.  She still hasn’t found the occupant of seat 15A yet.  If you know who it was, do let us know, and we’ll recommend a good chiropodist.

Dear passenger 15A,

You do not know me but I was seated in front of you during the flight from Singapore to Sydney on April 12th.

What I had initially thought to be a routine flight turned out to be a once in a lifetime experience – and it was all because of you.

I am writing this letter to thank you personally.

Being the cheapskate Asian that I am, I did not pay extra for a seat next to the emergency exit.

Though it offered more legroom, I couldn’t be bothered to read the special safety procedures. The last thing I would want is to compromise the lives of all the innocent passengers because I do not know how to open the airplane door.

Despite my common economy seat, you offered me a full back massage by repeatedly kicking the back of chair.2 To date, I have yet to regain full mobility of the lower half of my body. But since I am single, I suppose I don’t have much use for it anyway.

I did not pay for the in-flight entertainment package and I was worried that I might get bored. But my concerns were unnecessary. You were talking so loudly, as if your friend was seated in the cargo hold rather than right next to you.

Perhaps she’s hard of hearing? This might strike you as odd but for the first time in my life, I wished I had a hearing impairment too.

Also, could you tell me where you bought those obnoxious snacks? I assume that they must have been delicious cause you rip one open every 30 minutes.

Thanks for the loud rustling and chewing ambient sounds!

At this point, I thought, “It can’t get any better than this.” But what I had meant as a rhetorical question, you took as a challenge.

For immediately, my nose was assaulted by a putrid smell of death and decay.

The stench was so strong that I turned to check if the old lady seated next to me was still breathing.

Your kindness moves me.

It was so nice of you to take off your shoes and put your feet between my seat and the plane window. It must have taken considerable effort – it was a small space but you stuck it as close to my face as you possibly could. 

(Right: the actual real-life smelly feet of passenger 15A)

the real smelly feet

The sun is rising above the horizon; the sky is bleeding crimson and gold. But I cannot turn to gaze at this everyday miracle because every time I do, I smell the anus of Satan.3

I had half the mind to pull down the oxygen mask above me. But then I remembered that I was flying on a budget airline, so I’d probably have to pay extra for that.

Did you know that you have made me a more religious person?

I have said more prayers in that eight-hour flight than I have in my entire life.

I was torn between asking God for strength to endure the rest of the journey and,


This experience has been so memorable that I am writing this from my therapist’s office. I have also signed up for ten more sessions to talk about it.

Thank you once again.

Insincerely yours,

Passenger 14A

You can read more of Munyee’s penwork on her personal website here

  1. SGAG: A Singapore based  humour website on which users post their ‘memes’. SGAG is  also a slang abbreviation for Small Generic Asian Girl (which may not be entirely coincidental). SGAG also happens to be the stock exchange ticker symbol for Shiva Global Agro Industries Ltd.  Then there’s the South Greenwood Assembly of God….. 

  2. Kicking the back of my chair is one of the fastest ways to make me very cross indeed – almost as cross as the twat who refused to close his window blind on the overnight trans-Atlantic flight I endured a couple of weeks ago. In Saudi Arabia, they probably cut the legs off people who kick the backs of airline seats.  Quite right too. 

  3. Would you believe that Satan’s Anus has its own Facebook page.  Honestly.  At the time of publication, it had 474 likes 

  4. Guanyin or Guan Yin Ma is an East Asian deity of mercy, and a bodhisattva associated with compassion as venerated by Mahayana Buddhists. 

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