What is it with people when they travel. Its like a switch goes off the minute they hit the security line-up. They freak out and lose all sense of decorum and civility. The guy who just rationally stood behind me in the Starbucks line-up is now at security pushing me through. As I unpack every liquid, gel, electronic, shoe, jacket, sweater, piece of metal on my person – he’s filling the bins before I can finish. Its no different all the way until we’re out of baggage claim on the other side. What is it about air travel that causes people to completely lose their manners?
Maybe I’m a little grumpy but as I am just waking up with my first coffee following a completely packed red-eye on a 777, I think I have identified some of the main characters you encounter on when flying these days. Here’s who to look out for:
1. The Premature Boarder – This is the lady who has camped out at the door to the gate in the hopes of being first on the plane. Does she think there is a prize for being the first? Like a nice chocolate waiting at her seat? A bravo from the flight attendant perhaps? Complimentary upgrade? Um, no. The Premature Boarder is flying economy, has no airline status, is not flying with small children nor is handicapped. The Premature Boarder seems to be deluded into thinking that where you position yourself at the boarding gate matters. First off – get out of the way. Secondly, you are checked in and at the gate – the plane is NOT going to leave without you. Find some patience and relax.
2. The Overpacker – Ok. This Overpacker is not to be confused with my overpacking tendency. This is not the person checking several large pieces. This is the person with the oversized rollerboard, the massive duffelbag and some crazy souvenir piece of shit wrapped in bubble wrap. The other variation on the Overpacker is the business traveller with the massive rollerboard and garment bag who refuses to pay checked bag fees and stows their luggage in the first overhead bins even though they are sitting in row 38. Both of these people suck. A lot.
3. The Seat-Grabber – This is the guy sitting in the row behind you that seems to forget that the seat back he insists on violently grabbing contains an actual human being that is nearly whiplashed every time he needs to check the overhead or take a pee.
4. The Recliner – The Recliner is just a dick. You know what I’m talking about. They’re the ones that push the seat all the way back the minute the landing gear comes up. Thanks pal. I love that your seat back is now in my face and that I need to contort my 5’5″ frame just to get to my bag under your seat. Don’t even get me started about when the meal service starts. Put it up you idiot.
5. The Under-Seat Stower – Dude. Don’t try and shove stuff under your own seat. It goes under the seat in front of you. Enough said.
6. The Anxious De-Planer – This is the guy from Row 38, on his feet and in the aisle as soon as you hear that little bing when the seat belt sign goes off. He doesn’t have a tight connection but what ever he’s up to upon arrival is way more important than whatever you’re doing.
7. The Jetway Sloth – The Jetway Sloth is usually traveling with the Anxious De-Planer. As they enter the Jetway, the apparent compulsion to GET OFF THAT PLANE ceases and they are now in no hurry at all. Along with their friends they walk abreast and the minute you try to make a break for it and go around them they veer straight into your path oblivious to everyone else around them. This happens several times in the span of 10 metres.
8. Baggage Claim Blocker – The BCB as I like to call them are often also traveling with the Anxious De-Planer. Using trolleys and carry-ons, they take up valuable real estate at the baggage belt, usually located right at the junction where the bags come out. They pick up every bag, inspecting carefully to see if its theirs. They don’t discriminate, even though their bag is green they check the black and navy and floral printed ones too JUST IN CASE they packed a bag they forgot. When their bag does finally come out, it has several colourful pieces of ribbon and yarn tied to the handle to help distinguish it in situations just as this.
Beware of these traveling characters and the havoc they wreak on your already taxing travel day. When you do encounter them, know you are not alone in the pain of managing their abhorrent behaviour. Keep your fingers crossed for an upgrade!