What Would You Do If … Dilemmas In A Zombie Apocalypse: No. 18 – The Passenger Next To You Dilemma

28 Jun

You’re on a plane. It was the last flight out so you had no choice but to take it. If you hadn’t the zombies would have over-run the airport before you could get away. The man in the set next to you has a bandage round his hand and is sweating heavily. You look out the window, you’re now high above the sea and it will be another five hours before the plane can land in the safe zone. You look back at the man, he seems to be lapsing in and out of consciousness. He could just be ill but you have a horrible suspicion he’s infected the with the virus that turns people into zombies. If he is, he’ll turn into a before you’re back on the ground and there will be no getting away from him in the close confines of the cabin. What do you do?


As always, this dilemma is just here to make you think, so there’s no right or wrong answer. Vote in the poll to let others know what you do if you were in this situation, and if you want to give a more detailed answer, leave a comment on this posting.

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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

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6 Responses to “What Would You Do If … Dilemmas In A Zombie Apocalypse: No. 18 – The Passenger Next To You Dilemma”

  1. T.R.Remington 28/06/2013 at 15:38 #

    Alert the flight crew, get whatever is available to bind hands and feet, tape mouth and eyes shut. If possible get him into the lower storage area and lock inside container. If its just bad food….too bad…picked a bad time for a tummy ache.

    This actually happened during the Ebola outbreak several years ago when an infected passenger began to bleed out on a flight. Started throwing up black blood with a passenger right next to him.

    • cmdrysdale 28/06/2013 at 23:48 #

      This is good advice! I think I remember reading about the Ebola case on the plane you mentioned in ‘The Hot Zone’ (great book and a must read for anyone into viral-inspired post-apocalyptic stuff). All I can say is that I’m glad I wasn’t on that flight! I don’t even like someone coughing next to me, let alone throwing up dark blood like a 28 Days Later rage victim…

  2. RStorey 29/06/2013 at 11:20 #

    Looks like I just found my next read. What would I do…under the assumption that the outbreak is common knowledge, I would alert the crew and passengers, and attempt to take added precautions: checking the seatbelt; tearing a blanket into strips further restraint, perhaps tying his arms to the arm rest. If he is infected he won’t realize what you are doing, and if he is not infected he will understand that you were afraid and be thankful you didn’t take extreme measures.

    I was a little surprised at myself the other day, how quickly I got sucked into the zombie rage because I am NOT a fan of gore. However, I have realized that what I am a fan of is the struggle to survive that follows the outbreak: the break down of modern technology; the equalizing of society; and the fight to save the human race. So it doesn’t necessarily need to be a zombie outbreak, but a pandemic of some sort that fits the bill for me.

    • cmdrysdale 29/06/2013 at 12:10 #

      More good advice. However, you might find that someone who’s worried about being infected might not happily comply with being tied up becasue they know it’s effectively a death sentence. They would want to deny at all costs that there’s anything wrong with them. You might also find that other passengers (and indeed the crew) would be wary about getting close enough to someone who might be infected to risk getting the disease themselves. Certainly, I’d probably think twice about it.

      In terms of getting sucked into zombie stories even when you’re not a gore fan. I think there’s two very different types of zombie stories: the horror ones, which concentrate on the gore, and the post-apocalyptic ones, which are often more about the survival in a world in turmoil rather than the zombies themselves. The ‘World War Z’ movie falls clearly into this second camp, as does the original book and films such as ’28 Days Later’ (which in its original incarnation as ‘The Day Of The Triffids’ had carnivorous, man-eating plants rather than rage victims – it’s much better than it sounds!).

      My own writing falls more into the post-apocalyptic genre, although I do dabble in the more traditional zombie gore arena in short stories from time to time. As you say, it’s the way that people deal with the collapse of all that is familiar to them that is interesting, and this can be cause by any sort of pandemic (zombie or otherwise).

      If you like this sort of thing, I’d definitely recommend reading ‘The Day Of The Triffids’, and indeed ‘The Kraken Wakes’, both by John Wyndham. While they don;t really deal with pandemics, they are really the basis of the modern post-apocalyptic genre and are still as relevant as when they were written in the 1950s.

  3. auburn21 02/07/2013 at 12:32 #

    I really like reading your posts especially these ‘What would you do if…’ I think something like this really makes you think about your own judgements on a situation that could happen! I surprised myself by picking to take the guy out…no questions asked. But i was even more surprised that more people would fasten his seatbelt and leave him! If he did turn he could still easly scratch at you in such close quarters…Then 2 people would be infected….

    • cmdrysdale 02/07/2013 at 12:44 #

      I’m glad you like these dilemmas. Sometimes the reponses to them are quite surprising both in terms of individual reponses – and the overall reponses. At some point I’m going to draw all the scores from the different dilemmas together and see if, when taken as a whole, they can say anything interesting about how people would respond to such events.

      By the way, I’d probably take the guy out too – just in case. But that would only be possible if he was alone. If he had friends or family with him, they this might not be an option because they’d probably protect him no matter what. This is where things start getting really interesting…

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