The Worst Fictional Characters to Sit Next to On a Plane

Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary

Happy holiday travel season! In celebration of flight delays, pricey cab rides, bags that don’t fit in the overhead bin, and seatmates who insist on eating chili mid-flight, we present our picks for 6 literary seatmates that could make hitchhiking look like a suitable alternative. Here’s to those tiny bottles of airplane gin:

Ignatius Reilly. Outside of accusing you of coveting his Dr. Nut soda (he brought several six-packs for the ride), loudly decrying the poor quality of the in-flight entertainment, and repeatedly, unapologetically farting, there’s this: Ignatius doesn’t travel well. Emotionally speaking. He’s left New Orleans once, and it was a scarring, self-inflicted disaster. There’s pretty much no chance you won’t end up getting grounded in Cleveland.

Bridget Jones. 13 minutes into the flight, she’s drunk all her mini-bottles (and yours), eaten her in-flight snack (and yours), and is embarking on the epic(ly boring) tale of how her friend got really skinny just using cranberry extract, but Bridge is sure she’s wearing Spanx, too, the cheat, and what do you think about it? Oops, never mind, she’s gone off talking again without giving you a chance to respond. Don’t even try the headphones trick. She won’t notice.

Hagrid. Feeling a little warmer than usual on your flight? No, it’s not the overhead heating vent, it’s your pants. They’re on fire. In addition to the whole being half-giant thing, Hagrid never travels without a fire-breathing creature or two. Think your crinkly-wrapped Corner Bakery sandwich is annoying? Wait till you catch a whiff of the dead rats Hagrid brought along to feed his “babies.”

Ramona Quimby. Rambunctious, creative, and curious. Great attributes in a child, not so much in a seatmate too young to empathize with your desire for a few hours of airborne peace. Ramona would like to inspect your reading material and possibly your hair at close range, and she has a few questions for you regarding, well, every damn thing that pops into her head in the course of the flight.

Iago. “But WHY won’t you let me get out to pee, even though this is a cross-country flight? Any why didn’t you bring headphones for your laptop? And why, for the love of God, are you watching an explicit surgery video two feet from my face??” Ask all you want, but Iago’s bigger on cruelty than explanations. This is all you’ll get: “Demand me nothing, what you know, you know. From this time forth I never will speak word.” Cue extremely uncomfortable, close-range silent treatment.

Marmaduke. The brutish, overgrown baby of a doting mother and a feckless dad, Marmaduke likes to bite. He also likes to scream. That wouldn’t be terribly odd for a tot, but consider the overt sadism, rather unusual in a boy who still wears diapers (but not so strange for a Martin Amis character). And just try to talk to his mother. The little Oedipus will launch at you from the aisle seat teeth first.

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