Category Archives: Passenger Shaming

My Top 10 Airline Travel Fails

woman_embarassedTravelling isn’t easy.  Even if you are a frequent traveller like myself, it is almost inevitable that at some point you will experience some sort of hiccup along the way.  It may be a delayed, a cancelled flight or something else totally ridiculous entirely.

Below is a list of my top “fails” when travelling by air.

10. First Time “Priority” Status, Last One to Board Plane

aircanadapriorityboardingThe first time I was granted priority status, I was so excited.  I would get on the plane first and relax knowing I wouldn’t have to struggle to find overhead space for my carry-on baggage, however that isn’t what happened at all.  I was flying to Toronto from Orlando and what I clearly didn’t consider the fact was that EVERYONE BUT ME was travelling with small children and at that time the airline’s policy was that individuals with disabilities and families with small children under the age of 6 board first.  So, being the only solo traveller, I ended up being last to board the plane.

9. Dropping Documents While Approaching Customs

womanholdingpassportdocsAs I was approaching the customs kiosk, I was fumbling with my documents trying to put my boarding pass and declaration sheet into the photo page of my passport when I dropped it all.  “Apparently” this makes you look suspicious and will pretty much guarantee you will end up in secondary screening. I obviously never did anything wrong besides accidentally drop my documents but from then on, whenever I have completed my customs declaration on the plane, I make sure to have everything organized together in my purse so that I don’t have to fumble with my documents last minute.

8. Driving the Wrong Way to Return my Rental Car

rentalcarreturnsIt was 4:30 or 5am and I was trying to return my rental car to the airport.  I missed the entrance to the rental car return area and drove into the next driveway which was barricaded and there was no exit other than to turn around and drive the wrong way. So, I did just that.  In order to get back to the main ring road I had to drive the wrong way and hope no other idiot like myself was making that very same mistake and would drive into me.  Fortunately, there was not another car in sight the entire time.  Pfewf!

7. “Buzzing” Carry-on Baggage

Baggage Screening_2.ashxUpon removing my liquids and gels from my carry-on baggage and placing it on the conveyor belt for X-Ray scanning at airport security, the TSA agents all gathered around the X-ray machine. I passed through the metal detector and they all gathered around my bag and asked me if it was mine.  When I saw it, I immediately knew what was drawing all of the attention- my bag was vibrating! And no, it’s not what you think! I had packed an electric toothbrush and it had accidentally been turned on as I put my bag on the conveyor belt.  Once they opened my bag, they all got a good laugh.  I think some of them were disappointed that it wasn’t something else.  Ever since then, I just pack a regular manual toothbrush!

6. Suitcase Goes on Wrong Plane

-While I was sitting at my gate, I was watching the baggage being loaded onto the plane at the neighboring gate and I noticed, that one of those bags was MY bag! I had a very unique bag so it was surely not to be confused with another and this plane was most definitely not my plane.  I ran up to the gate agent for that flight and alerted her immediately.  She initially assured me that it was fine but apparently second guessing herself, she made a call down to the baggage handlers and discovered that the wrong bags were in fact being loaded onto that plane! Fortunately, the ground crew was able to remove them in time and everyone on my flight all got their bags.

5. Broken Suitcase

stuckhandleNaturally, just as I approach the baggage drop kiosk, the handle on my suitcase refuses to go down. Talk about last minute stress! Since it is not possible to check a bag if the handle is locked in the open position, I had to get out of line and since I didn’t have the time to buy a new suitcase and figure out if all of my things would fit, I opted to take everything out of my suitcase, tear it apart and was able to locate the part that was jammed. Using a toothpick, I was able to temporarily fix the jam and lock the handle in the closed position so that the bag could be checked.  Throughout my trip, I didn’t mess with the handle but rather waited until I got home to purchase a new suitcase.  Dragging a 55lb suitcase with no handle in addition to a large briefcase and purse is no simple task!

4. Time for a “Quick” Cigarette Between Connections?

DEN security lineupWhen I was in DEN and had a 2-hour stop-over and I figured that this was more than sufficient time to go outside to have a cigarette, come back in through security and get to my gate but I was wrong! What I didn’t realize was that the ONLY way in and out of that airport is through a single entrance and that there are no exits in the individual terminals or concourses. It didn’t take me very long to exit the building, maybe 20 minutes or so but when I got back I realized there was ONLY ONE SECURITY CHECKPOINT for the entire airport and it was PACKED! I had my NEXUS pass but at that time the US airports only acknowledged that for international travel and I was travelling domestically.  Luckily, one of the agents let me into that line and I just made the last call to board my flight.

3.Leaving Valuables on the Plane

ipadonplaneI hate to admit that I have done this not once but twice and both times I forgot my items in the seat pocket in in front of me. The first time was my driver’s license. I had it tucked into my boarding pass and as I was getting seated, I placed it in the seat pocket in front of me and simply forgot about it.  It wasn’t until a month later when I got carded that I realized I had misplaced it.  The second time I forgot my iPad on the plane.  I was travelling for almost 24 hours and same thing, placed it in the seat pocket in front of me, fell asleep and forgot about it when deplaning.

2. Broken Shoe

sandalsRushing to make my connection, my sandal decided that it was the best time to fall apart and I mean fall apart in pieces (worse than in this photo-all the straps broke at the same time) . That day luck was on my side as I happened to have an extra pair of sandals in my carry-on so at least I didn’t have to run through the airport barefoot!

 

1. Asleep at the Gate

ManSleepingAtAirportI have never done this but a friend of mine did and I think this deserves the #1 spot.  He fell asleep at the gate while listening to his headphones and well, needless to say, he missed his flight. Ooops! The same thing happened other day when I was flying home when I couldn’t help but notice that the passenger behind me was asleep at the gate snoring like a madman and would not budge.  Take this as a warning folks, save the nap for when you’re ON the plane and if you can’t do that, be sure to set an alarm on your phone to wake you up at the boarding time indicated on your boarding pass.

To date, these are my top airline travel blunders and I’m sure there will be many, many more to come.   I would love to hear your stories, so please comment and share!

Happy travels my friends.

Cheers,

TSW

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Air Canada Carry-on Baggage Enforcement: Great But Not 100% Effective

In late May of this year, Air Canada announced that they will begin to enforce the carry-on baggage allowance at major airports across Canada. Last week, I travelled on Air Canada and experienced this process first hand.  I must say, I was quite impressed.

At check-in, Air Canada had several staff members approaching everyone at check-in to assess their carry-on baggage, measuring it if required and then affixing a “Carry-On Approved” sticker as shown.

CarryOnApprovedCloseup

Upon my arrival at the gate, I was pleasantly surprised to see how the majority of travellers had appropriately sized carry-on luggage.

AppropriateCarryOn

This was a dramatic improvement over all of my previous flying experiences, especially after Air Canada introduced their policy to charge a $25 fee for the first checked bag. When they implemented that policy, almost everyone had 3 bags and usually one of them was oversized.  This is extremely aggravating for us business travelers who generally speaking have appropriately sized carry-on that cannot be checked.  I used to dread the boarding process, looking at all of the other travelers with all of their huge bags and stressing out over if I will have room for mine.  To get around this, I would always book a seat near the rear of the aircraft so that I would board first and if the overhead bins above my seat were already full, I could stow my briefcase in any bin in front of my seat. 

In spite of Air Canada’s efforts to enforce their carry-on policy, there were a handful of passengers who slipped through the cracks like this lady in the photo below.

CarryOnCow

From her bag tags, I could see she was a frequent traveler so there is no excuse.  While boarding the aircraft in single file, she even had the nerve to push me aside and bud in front of me!  Now that most certainly isn’t frequent flyer etiquette!

After boarding was complete, the flight attendants announced that the overhead bins were full and asked some passengers to volunteer checking their bags.  I’m still not sure exactly how this happened since >90% of the passengers had appropriate carry-on.  However, I suppose all it takes are a few Carry-on Cows like that woman to slip through the cracks and disrupt the system.  In the end our flight was delayed approximately 20 minutes as the flight attendants tried to find passengers who were willing to check their bags.

So overall, the enforcement process was great not but entirely effective.  In my opinion, I think that it would be much more effective if at the security checkpoint, all carry-on bags should be double-checked to make sure that they have the “Carry-On Approved” tag and passengers who have more than 2 bags, should not be permitted to go through security.

Safe travels my friends and don’t be shy to speak-up to those Carry-on Cows!

TSW

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Top 10 Worst Airline Passengers I’ve Ever Encountered

Upset businesswoman checking in at airport ticket counter

Why is it that when people travel, so many of them lose their manners?

Is it that flying makes people feel elite and gives them a sense of entitlement at the expense of others? Or is it the stress that wears people down so they become incapable of acting on their best behaviour?

For the most part people aren’t so bad.  However I sure have met a few gems over the course of my travels.   Even if you don’t travel often, you’ve probably met your fair share as well.

If you’re like me, I’m sure that whenever you get into your seat on an aircraft where the seat next to you is empty, you keep your fingers crossed hoping and praying that nobody will sit next to you. But just when you think you’re home free, that stand-by passenger who gets on the plane last minute rushes down the aisle in your general direction. You size him or her up as they approach, assessing other vacant seats, and avoiding eye contact with them, thinking, hoping, that just “maybe they are sitting there and not next to me!”…or not.

So there you are,  all nice and cozy, seated with a complete stranger.   Let’s just hope they aren’t anything like some of these passengers that made my personal top 10  list of the worst airline passengers I’ve ever met.

Note that these are not in any particular order and that I have excluded those that are not acting out deliberately (i.e. crying babies). Enjoy!

  1. The Starfish-He Will Spread Out All Over You

starfish

Very shortly after I was seated on a long haul flight, an average sized man sat next to me.  I was relieved, thinking, that he didn’t seem so bad at all.  Well, immediately after take-off, he fell asleep and proceeded to slowly spread out in starfish position.  I was in a window seat and he in the aisle.  As his leg slowly pressed harder and harder on mine, his arm on the armrest did the same.  Initially, I thought he was getting fresh with me, so I moved abruptly pretending to access my bag below the seat in front of me giving him a big jolt but to no avail.  Before I knew it, his arm kept falling in my lap and his leg as spread out as far in my direction as possible.  He would not wake up, nor budge for the entire 5 ½ hour flight.

2. The Queen –She Commands First Class Service in Coach Economy

Queen

I was seated in seat 13A on a Dash 8, which is the worst seat on the plane. It’s very back row of a very tiny aircraft with minimal overhead cabin space. My briefcase (because of the wheels) would not fit in the overhead bin so I had no choice but to put it under the seat in front of me along with my purse.  I have very long legs so I was already very cramped which I’m not complaining about. I actually don’t mind being stuffed into the back corner of a plane.  It can be quite cozy.  The next thing I know, The Queen has arrived, fur coat, Coach handbag and all.  She sits next to me and immediately expresses that she has a problem with the baggage at my feet because she “has an arthritic ankle and needs the extra leg room”, where MY feet are! She demands that I remove my bags, which were not infringing on her legroom at all! I apologized nicely saying that my briefcase doesn’t fit in the overhead so I have it below my feet and reminded her that she has the whole aisle in addition to the space at her feet to spread out. She says to me “I’m sorry you’re having a bad day but your bag needs to go because I need the legroom!” I was enraged and told her that if she needed the room, she should have paid for the premium seat! She calls the flight attendant over and insists they remove my bags (including my purse!) and store them in first class! There isn’t even a business class section on these planes! I didn’t want to get into a full out fight and get kicked off the plane, so I sucked it up and told the flight attendant that she could take all my of bags.  That was an awkward next 3 hours!

3. The King –He is Above The Rules

kingOn a flight with severe turbulence passing over an area where just the previous day it had been in the news that several passengers were injured because of turbulence, I met The King.  As the turbulence increased in severity and the flight attendants insisted that everyone stay seated and fasten their seat belts, this very large gentleman who was about 6’5 and 250 lbs decided that it was a good time for him to stand up and put his shoes on! He was in the aisle with his foot on the armrest right in front of me.  I was afraid that the next jolt of turbulence would send him plummeting on top of me and crush me, so I politely asked him if he was aware that the seat belt sign was on. He tells me that he was and he didn’t care. He completely ignores the flight attendants well.   He needed to put his shoes on and standing up even though he was seated in an exit row and had all the legroom he needed.  Fortunately he sat down before the turbulence got really bad!

4. The Baby Daddy-He Wants YOU to Babysit His Baby

BabyDaddy

It never would have even occurred to me that anyone could have the gall to do what The Baby Daddy did.  I was seated watching a movie when a man holding an infant started waving at me as to attract my attention.  After I removed my headphones, he asks me “Hey, do you mind holding my baby? I need a break and I’m tired of holding him.” I couldn’t believe it. Did I look like some kind of babysitter? Or was it just because I’m a woman that I’m supposed to like holding babies? Seriously?!?!? I politely told him, “No, sorry, I don’t hold babies.” How awkward is that? So he moved along down the aisle and asked the next lady he saw the same question! For the record, he was not in any sort of distress and neither was the child.

5. The Seat Kicking Couple-They Are Getting Hot and Heavy Behind You and Don’t Need a Room
couple making out on plane

Seat kickers are the worst!!!  Especially the ones who clearly don’t give two #$%#’s, like this couple I had seated behind me once.  They were going through phases of intensely making out and tickling each other and hence all of the kicking. And like bad children, as soon as the flight attendant came by, they stopped so they weren’t caught.  This went on for over 2 hours.  And for the intermittent bouts of silence, who knows what happened there.  Gross!

6. The Party Princess-You Can Smell the Party On Her

hickeyNaturally I met this one on a long-haul flight.  This girl smelled like booze, had the worst body odor I have ever smelled on a woman and her neck was covered in hickies.  The worst part was, for the entire flight she felt the need to continuously adjust the fresh air vent, raising her arm above me.  The smell was unbearable.  Even my scarf couldn’t mask it.  When we landed, I couldn’t help but oversee that she was texting her boyfriend about how much she missed him-l I wonder what he thought about her “condition”? *sigh*

7. The Carry-On Cow- She Knows No Limit to Carry On Baggage Allowance

lady with too much baggageThis is nobody in particular.  We have all seen this person.  You know, the one with 3 or 4 carry-on bags, sometimes even a large suitcase who stands in the aisle looking puzzled as to why their bags don’t fit in the overhead bin.  I have no idea why most airlines do nothing to prevent people from getting on board with oversized or multiple pieces of luggage. Every time I board a plane, my blood boils just a bit looking at all of the bags people will try to bring on board.  This irritates me because those travellers hog all of the overhead bin space, meaning that there wont’ be any room for my appropriately sized carry-on and I’ll have to stow that under my feet for the whole flight. If their bags are oversized, they will have to be checked after they board.  Lots of people do this on purpose so they don’t pay the check baggage fee, and so often that this is apparently the #1 cause of flight delays.    Airlines need to get up to speed on this problem!

8. The Octopus-She Will Spread out in Ways You Never Thought Possible

The OctopusOn a very cramped flight where my knees were uncomfortably pressed against the seat in front of me, I encountered The Octopus.  She was worse than the starfish.  She was seated in front of me and had an entire row to herself, 3 seats and all. But she decided that she needed more room than that, so she decided to recline all of the seats in her row so she could lie down and spread herself out entirely! When I asked her nicely if she could put the seat up because none of us behind her had any room to begin with, she just laid back down and said “No, I am entitled to all of the space I need.”  Things started to escalate between us all and fortunately, the flight attendant stepped in and insisted she put the seats back in the upright position.

9. The Ignorant– Assigned Seating is Meaningless to Her

Boarding PassOne time when I was boarding a plane, I noticed there was a lady seated in my seat.  This is a common mistake, so no big deal.  However when I showed the woman my boarding pass and said that she was in the wrong seat, she just nodded her head and dove back into her book.  We were told that this was a full flight prior to boarding, so it wasn’t like I could just take a seat elsewhere.   I asked her what seat she was supposed to be in and she just kept ignoring me as if I would somehow just disappear if she didn’t look at me.  I’m sorry but if you can read the flight number and the gate number to get on your flight, you most certainly can read your seat number!  The line-up behind me was growing. My patience and the patience of the other passengers behind me was thinning.  There was no flight attendant in sight so I decided to make the executive decision to stow my bag and just physically pick her up and take her out of the seat and stand her in the aisle. Then I sat in my seat.  She just stood in the aisle looking very perplexed and sat in the next available seat.

10. The Clueless Guy-He Just Doesn’t Get Why He Has to Take Every Coin Out of His Pocket at the Security Checkpoint

h-armstrong-roberts-man-wearing-suit-looking-distressed-pointing-to-empty-pocket-pulled-out-of-pantsThis guy made me laugh to tears, so I saved him for last.  It was rush hour at the airport and really busy at the security checkpoint.  To give people the benefit of the doubt, it’s easy to forget to remove a belt or a piece of jewellery when you’re rushing through security but this guy took the cake.  He went through the metal detector at least 5 times! Each time he went through, he removed a watch, then his belt, then his shoes, then coins from one, yes just one pocket…And finally he went through a last time after he removed the change in his other pocket!  It was absolutely hysterical how clueless he was.  It was so ridiculous that I was thinking that it was some sort of prank but alas it wasn’t.

I hope you had a good laugh reading these and that you don’t ever get seated next to any of these poorly behaved travellers. Now that pretty much everyone has access to a camera on their phones, entire websites and twitter accounts dedicated to shaming passengers have popped up and are rapidly gaining in popularity.  My personal favourite is www.PassengerShaming.com, a site started by a sassy flight attendant.

In the meantime, travel safe my friends and good luck out there! It’s a zoo!

Cheers,

TSW

 

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