Journey details: Overnight Cancun to Madrid en route to London, zzzz...
The scene: Mid section of a packed Air Europa flight in the knees-under-your-chin class
Passenger description: Enormous, like Brando-esque, shoeless Mexican guy crammed into an aisle seat
The review: So we're all in place and the jam-packed economy section is buzzing with that curious blend of mild anticipation and people steeling themselves for nine long hours of attempting to get 40 whole minutes of sleep by jamming an ear into an arm rest. The air crew are shutting the doors when people become aware of another kind of buzz. A buzz that becomes a low, deep rumble.
Two rows back to my left an enormous in all dimensions and very shiny Mexican with a t-shirt that only partially covers his stomach and no shoes, fills the entire 18 inch seat and then some. We haven't even begun to taxi and this guy is out for the count.
As we reach the runway and the rumble begins to compete with the sound of four jet engines on full throttle, people in the surrounding seats begin to turn to attempt to locate the evident hole in the fuselage. As they realise the source is in fact our tired friend, knowing smiles and winks between passengers hide the weary knowledge that this will not be so funny when we hope to grab some shut-eye ourselves.
By the time we're at 35,000 feet, the guy's snores have reached decibels so impressive that people on the other side of the plane and several rows forward are lifting from their seats to try to identify the noisy sleeper. The poor woman in the window seat beside him has pulled her blanket over her head. Since it's clear the sound of a jackhammer playing on her iPod wouldn't drown her neighbour out, she's evidently just using it to hide her nervous breakdown.
After seven and a half hours of continuous and loud snoring during which a five metre square section of plane pauses their tossing and turning on occasion merely to wonder how this guy can get a better night's sleep in an upright position than most of us can manage on an over-stuffed superking mattress, the lights and the smell of airline panini rouses him from his baby-like slumbers. The sound of two dozen sets of teeth gritting and neck muscles straining as people attempt not to spin round to give him the evil-eye-of-fury fills the air.
But not for long. With sandwich and juice consumed our relaxed traveller drifts back into another 90db snooze for the final descent.
Rating: 1 for the early humour factor