Don’t Wear Perfume on a Plane

“Her perfume was a mixture of roses and tear gas.” ~ Rick Riordon

We all love to leave a sweet reminder that we were here or there. We all want to feel that our presence evokes wonderful memories in other’s minds. It may be through a friendly gesture, advice, deed, or simply by the aroma of our perfume. But, when we are traveling, we should take into consideration the people surrounding us—especially those sitting next to us.

I had an unpleasant experience once on a 9-hour flight. Our seats were in the middle row, three to a row. My husband sat on the left side aisle seat, I was in the middle, and to my right was a young lady in her late 20s, I’d say. She was a polite young lady with a very thick accent who was visiting the U.S. for the first time. She stayed on her side and was quiet during most of the flight, and was not fidgety or annoying. We greeted each other and said a few polite words and small chat before departing. I felt the powerful scent or perfume but thought it might be someone else since the passengers were still boarding. Unfortunately, it was not another passenger and her perfume was a big problem for me. It smelled good, but it was too strong, or she had too much on.

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It was one of those intoxicating fragrances that left me feeling as if I was suffocating. Every time I inhaled, my nostrils felt a sting as if burning. I felt as if I was swimming inside the bottle of perfume and desperately trying to get out. Then it reached the point where I felt it sweep up my nose towards my forehead. I got the worst sinus headache. I felt the perfume in my throat as if I had swallowed a gulp.

I had nowhere to turn. Reclining towards my husband’s side, I pulled a sweater over my face to cover my nose as much as possible. There was no coughing or sneezing, but a sinus headache was bad enough and then I felt nauseous. Sleep was out of the question and there was no way I could hold food down, so there was no eating either. I tried meditating, but the smell was so intoxicating that I couldn’t concentrate. I tried reading, watching a movie, listening to music, even playing a game, but nothing worked. The flight was full, so there was no way I could switch seats. I didn’t want to switch with my husband because, unlike me, he suffers from allergies and that would have been worst. I had to endure the nine long grueling hours of perfume intoxication.

I could not be more relieved than I was when we landed. Springing to my feet as fast as I could, my husband allowed me to go before him. I needed to get out of the aircraft fast. What a relief it was when we finally reached the terminal and I was far away from the young lady. The airport environment air felt so good, so fresh. I still had a headache, but no more nausea, so it was nothing that two aspirins could not resolve. It was a good thing that we flew on a comfortable airline and seats. Or was it I was so miserable with the perfume problem that I realized nothing else? Oh well, I guess I’ll never know. But she sure left an everlasting impression on me. I know I learned my lesson and I will never put another passenger through the ordeal I went through.

Moral of my story: Please bathe and use deodorant when flying on an aircraft, but DON’T WEAR PERFUME.

What are your thoughts? Have you had an unpleasant experience while flying?


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