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!
- The Starfish-He Will Spread Out All Over You
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
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
On 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
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
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
Naturally 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
This 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
On 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
One 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
This 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!