I love airplanes and still find it amazing that such pieces of machinery are capable of transporting me through the air to a business meeting an hour away or to a vacation halfway around the world. However, I often lose sight of this appreciation because of all the inconvenient, annoying, ridiculous, and dumb things that happen during the process of traveling. Below are the top 10 things that turn me into a thankless, cantankerous traveler. How do they compare to your travel pet peeves?
- The Security Line Cutter: I confess that I have been the very person I am about to scorn — the traveler who arrives at the airport minutes before her flight and gets to skip to the front of the security line. All you have to do show your boarding pass stamped with the imminent take-off time, and security will escort you past all the organized and punctual people waiting diligently and responsibly in line. I deserved all the dirty looks I got when I pulled off this stunt. Get to the airport in plenty of time.
- The Stinker: I understand some people/cultures don’t wear deodorant (my beloved uncle is one of them), but pungent body odor is not acceptable in confined spaces, i.e., an airplane cabin filled with people. At a minimum, those who do not believe in deodorant should shower and powder before getting on a plane.
- The Perfume Lover: On a recent plane trip, I sat next to a very nice lady who was wearing massive amounts of perfume. “I just purchased this beautiful bottle at the Duty Free store!” she gushed. “How nice!” I replied, breathing out of my mouth. The fumes were suffocating. Hold the perfume until you’ve landed at your destination.
- The Clueless Gabber: Some people really value their alone time on the plane. It’s a good place to read a book, work on the laptop, stare out the window, and sleep. If your neighbor is engaged in at least one of these activities, it’s a sure sign he doesn’t want to make conversation. Don’t be that clueless gabber who ignores the social cues.
- The Cranky Flight Attendant: I know flight attendants have to deal with unruly and unfriendly passengers but hey — we’re not all jerks! I am always polite and thankful to flight attendants. Please don’t make me feel bad for nicely requesting a blanket.
- The Seatbacker: It drives me bananas when the person in front of me does not put her seatback up during mealtimes. This leaves me with about 2 inches of space in which to eat my food. Make someone happy the next time you fly: when those food trays come by, put your seatback up, turn around, and wink knowingly to the person behind you.
- The Bathroom Sink Bandit: Unlike regular sinks, the sinks in airplane lavatories are, by default, stopped up. Water accumulates in the sink when you wash and does not drain until you release the stopper. It’s pretty obvious. Don’t leave the cloudy soup of your dirty wash water in the sink for the next passenger.
- The Unpredictable Bladder: Have you ever felt the urgent need to use the lavatory during a period of turbulence? It’s an awkward situation: first you have to explain yourself to a flight attendant and then you have to deal with the unpleasant experience of being in a lavatory during turbulence. The only way I avoid the unpredictable bladder is to limit the consumption of liquids, especially alcohol.
- The Frat Brat: Speaking of alcohol, what’s the benefit of getting tipsy with no place to go (unless there are secret dance rooms on airplanes I’m unaware of)? Some people like to get drunk and rowdy on an airplane, which is disruptive and very unfunny. Don’t drink and fly — and if you do, sleep it off during the flight.
- The DEFCON 1 Disembarker: We’re all in a hurry to get off that plane, which is why it’s extra, extra annoying when someone doesn’t wait their turn to exit front-to-back, row-by-row and instead races ahead, cutting people off in the process. Unless you’re about to miss a connection, chill out and wait your turn to disembark.
Now, your turn. What drives you nuts about travel?