WTF Weds: 12 of the Most Baffling Airplane Passengers I’ve Encountered

Posted on
Feb 1, 2012
Posted in: Air Travel, Top Ten, WTF

As I’ve noted before on the blog, the list of things that are beyond my understanding is vast and ever-growing.

Take Go-gurt, for example. Did we really need a faster way to consume yogurt? Were a bunch of people really sitting around thinking, “Well, we love yogurt, but it just takes so long to eat … is there a way we could leverage Otter Pop technology so we can get those calories faster?”

Or those commercials where the chickens want to be mistaken for ones from Foster Farms. Why, oh, dear lord, why do those poor chickens want to be eaten so badly? Is it some sort of sick death wish?

And when did people start wearing really thick tights in place of pants? Also, how did blue raspberry become a thing? I have never seen a blue raspberry in my life. Never.

It’s just that … I simply DO NOT UNDERSTAND.

But perhaps what mystifies me more than mutant berries and suicidal poultry are my fellow travelers. Time and time again I find myself on planes with people whose actions confound me. I try to understand a scenario in which their behaviors make sense: are they first-time flyers? Drunk? Sociopaths? Or do they know I am watching them and are simply trying to screw with me? (If it’s the latter … well, done. Well done.)

I can’t really say. But they constantly do things that have me hissing, “Why? Dear god, WHY?” while gently ramming my thumbs into my eye-sockets.

And yet, I’m truly grateful to them. Because their antics provide me with hours of free in-flight entertainment and tons of material for my blog.

And so, for this WTF Wednesday, I present the 12 most baffling airplane passengers I’ve encountered in real life. This is the sort of stuff – along with the enduring appeal of Dave Matthews – that keeps me up at night (and if these are the biggest battles I have, then I’m a lucky gal indeed).

  1. The person who brings nothing on the plane with them. Absolutely nothing. I don’t getit. What are they going to do when they finish the in-flight magazine? No, no, DON’T START TALKING TO ME. Unless you know where blue raspberries come from. That is information I need to have.

    Don't tell me you're going to stare at the natural beauty outside your window for three hours ... because that's just twisted.

  2. People who use the lavatory while barefoot. I hate to tell them the truth, but here it is: not every drop of liquid on the bathroom floor is water. Actually, I suspect most of it isn’t.
  3. Fliers who unhook their seatbelts the moment the captain indicates that they may do so. As though they are suddenly not traveling at hundreds of miles an hour, tens of thousands of feet high in the sky.
  4. Folks who try to recline their chairs when sitting in front of an exit row. They are Don Quixote, feebly chasing after windmills. The look on their face when the flight attendant explains that their seat does not recline is nothing short of devastating. I feel for them, I really do. But how have they never heard of SeatGuru?
  5. Individuals who get exasperated at other people’s crying babies. Oh, the shock! The horror! An infant who is crying. Clearly this is the first time that has ever happened in the history of time.

    A crying child? Who ever HEARD of such a thing?!


  6. Economy passengers who glare at the people in first class. Really? You’re jealous of the guy who’s spent so much of his life in the air that he now gets the privilege of a cup of warm cashews and a few extra inches of legroom in exchange for missing his daughter’s fifth birthday? Right. That makes sense. Glare away.

    You get fancy soup and a cheese plate, but your spouse is probably gonna leave you.

  7. Anyone who tries to move around the cabin when beverages are being served. They always seem so genuinely shocked that they can’t squeeze around a cart that is designed to take up the entire aisle. In a way, I understand: I’m still trying to squeeze my aisle-wide hips into skinny jeans.
  8. The guy who willingly offers to gate check his bag after he’s dragged it all the way on to the plane. I bet he was the sort of kid who reminded his teachers to assign homework on a Friday. He will one day rule the world, and we will resent him for it.
  9. IPad owners who spend their flight watching nothing but reruns of Two and a Half Men. Monsters, the lot of them.
  10. Folks who bring fast food onto the plane. The idea is to bring something more appetizing than airline food. (Also, to the woman on my flight who unwrapped a Whopper within 10 minutes of departure and slowly ingested it over the course of 45 minutes, leaving the whole cabin wreaking of onions: You, madame, are a sadist.)

    The "meat" was so tough I broke my fork on it, and the flight attendant got exasperated when I asked for another one.

  11. Fashionistas. Yes, you look amazing. But it took you 45 minutes to get through security, and now your feet are too swollen to fit into your Alexander McQueen hoof shoes so you are headed to the lavatory barefoot. God help us all.
  12. Anyone who manages to sleep on a flight. Please, for the love of mankind, teach me how.

    To this day, we still talk about this guy.

You, no doubt, have seen some equally weird stuff while traveling, right? Please don’t hesitate to share your stories in the comments section below. And seriously, if anyone can explain Go-gurt, email me. I need to understand.

Leave a Comment

  • Melanie

    Oh my god. I am not the only one with the “why”s? Thank goodness. The gogurt one cracked me up. When I worked with kids I really wanted to ban them from my facility. They are disgusting.

    And thank you for joining me on my “leggings aren’t pants” crusade. I have only seen one lady in the thick tights. Unless you are 7, those are to go under things, like denim skirts.

    • Rose

      Thick tights hide wobbly or strangely lumpy veined legs. Ditto thick leggings.
      I love ’em.
      And am now wearing dresses for the first time since the last millennium ;-0

  • A friend of mine was wearing leggings under a tunic/could pass for a dress last week and I told her I supported her use of leggings as an accessory, not a singular clothing item, like pants..

    Re: Go-Gurt. If you think yogurt is something that gets eaten quickly, give it to a pre-schooler. Then wait an excruciating half hour before you can leave the house. Go-Gurt is for kids. I would say WTF to any adult eating it.

    • ACsMama

      Re: Go-Gurt. It is also perfect for the children of disorganized / forgetful/lazy moms. As a Kindergarten teacher, I can tell you the snack/lunch-time distress when Mom forgets to send you a spoon with your favorite yogurt can be catastrophic. Same thing with those new organic baby foods in pouches – pureed fruit you can squirt right in your mouth, no utensils needed! What I ponder about Go-gurts, though, is why they can’t design them so that you don’t have to get your favorite pair of scissors all sticky in order to open them without the yogurt splatting in your face.

      • Everywhereist

        See? Now go-gurt makes sense. The rest of these behaviors still baffle me, though.

      • Jerusha

        The solution is to freeze the go-gurts. Then you can tell the kids it’s frozen yogurt. (hee hee) My son’s preschool teacher felt a similar disgust for go-gurts and they were actually banned from school lunches. He was also not allowed to eat string cheese by peeling the cheese, but had to take small bites of it. I probably owe any of my son’s good eating habits to her.

        As a mom of kids who has traveled on planes with them, the worst is when you have an overly sensitive flyer sitting in front of your child who glares at them any time they open their tray table, as if they are about to go bonkers on their chair with their little sneakers. I understand, I hate being kicked. But there’s a certain amount of patience required with the seat equipment we’ve been given.

        • As an adult, I still like peeling string cheese. That teacher was evil. Oh, and +1 for go-gurt. It means I don’t have to find a spoon to send in the lunchbox which he will most certainly lose anyway – in many cases before he actually eats the yogurt. Seriously, how does one lose something in the lunchbox before it is even opened? This baffles me.

  • Roger

    Closely related to the “barefoot in the toilet” folks are those who wear socks to the toilet. That way they can absorb more of the various fluids and bring them back to their seats.

    I’ll admit to being a crying baby glarer. However it is not the baby I have an issue with but the parents. It is their duty to do something about it and not disturb hundreds of passengers. It is their child, they should be familiar with their own child, know what pleases/amuses/calms it, what irritates it etc. And if necessary avoid travelling with the child if it comes to that.

    • Wurstonline

      I hope we are never on the same plane.

      • Jen

        Ditto that. Regardless of how well you know your child, sometimes they simply will cry it out. And God help whomever glares at me.

        • Roger

          So is it okay for me to fart, snore, make all sort of noises, pull faces and otherwise annoy everyone around me? How about trying to strike up conversations with people who aren’t interested?

          A kid crying now and then will happen. A kid crying for a long period of time while the parents just ignore it is not ok. Just because you have a child does not give you a right to impose yourselves on others for extended periods of time no matter how entitled having a child makes you feel.

        • Xenia

          No Roger, it’s not okay for you to fart and burp and whatever else you mentioned, because you’re supposed to be an adult who is capable of controlling his urges.
          I’ve done a bunch of air travelling in my life and I’ve seen parents let their kids run and play, but I’ve NEVER seen parents not try everything to get their kids to stop crying. It’s maddening and embarassing and you can’t just ignore it.
          Only someone who has no kids can think that this kind of situation can be prevented with careful planning. That’s just silly. Especially if a kid gets scared.
          As far as your last, insanely rude statement goes – an airplane is a public place. If you can’t handle the fact that kids are entitled to be in them, or the behaviors that come with that fact, rent a fucking car and drive yourself peacefully to destination.

        • Everywhereist

          I don’t have kids, so take my comment as heavily as you would a male gynecologist’s, or an Amish mechanic’s, but here goes: I think sometimes children cry and there is nothing you can do about it. They are just upset and frustrated and sad and scared and there is literally nothing – no amount of soothing or cuddling or hugging or preparation – that can prevent it.

          I do agree that parents doing nothing while their children turn the cabin into Lord of The Flies is not cool, but I suspect that the ladies who have taken offense to Roger’s comments are not of that ilk. They seem like attentive women, and they are deserving of our patience and support, because they are raising the next generation of presidents and artists, doctors and poets.

      • Roger

        And here is precisely how other cultures raise their children to be more appropriately behaved:

        • Marion

          LOL, Roger, I am french and I can’t guarantee you that while the education is different, the french kids still cry in the plan even if their parents do whatever they can to stop it. I can only assume you are at the second degree level with such suggestion of article 🙂

    • kokopuff

      You are so right, Roger, that is what emergency doors are for…so when your child cries, you can simply crank that puppy open and toss said infant out into the atmosphere.

      • Roger

        It is a choice to travel with the child, it is a choice as to what to bring along as toys, food, amusements, medicine, clothing etc, it is a choice as to what schedule to keep prior to the flight. But most importantly it is a choice to sit there doing nothing and that is what I have issue with. Some parents try and they are understandable. The ones who do nothing for hours, completely not caring and completely oblivious to it because they are used to it are the problems and fully glare worthy.

        • Christine

          Roger, you’re bringing up a good point. I have a young child (and another one the way), and I do everything I can to ensure a successful trip. When things don’t go well, I apologize to everyone around us and do the best I can to calm my child. Sometimes, though, nothing works–not even his favorite game, toy and candy combined. It’s maddening.

          I’ve seen other parents who just let their children scream like banshees and run up and down the aisle hitting people. They give the rest of us parents a bad name. I glare at them too.

        • Chris

          There was one on a bus here before the ban, blowing clouds of cigarette smoke into her baby’s face. The baby cried more with each toxic blast. Glare-worthy? She’s on the list of People I Didn’t Punch.

        • chefswife

          One quick note about travelling with a child being a choice. My husband’s entire family lives in England, my husband and I live in Los Angeles. While his parents would surely make the trip once a year to visit our child, if we want that child to experience the country that his father is from and maybe meet any of his other family then we really don’t have a choice but to travel and by plane. Of course we could drive across the US, then hop on a boat, but I feel sure that neither of our jobs would appreciate the fact that we took more than a month off to show our child off to his family and to visit England. Also, the expense would be horrendous.
          As you can see, there are times that travelling with a child is not a choice. I do get being completely annoyed by the parents that allow their children to run rampant up and down the aisles, however please don’t make statements about situations that you’ve clearly never been in.

        • Jeff

          To Roger and the various other people on here who are horrified, just horrified, that people have the audacity to bring a child on an airplane, keep on glaring all you want. Do you think I care one iota about you staring or glaring at me if I’m dealing with an unhappy or scared child? Hint, I don’t.

          Your “glaring” doesn’t even register. If I do notice you, I probably wonder if I should call a stewardess because you’re an adult who’s grunting and making faces and I’m worried you’re about to shit your pants or something.

        • Dorothy

          Just had to write in response to this, even though it’s clearly very far past:

          My dad was Air Force and was stationed to Japan. He had to go ahead of time and get his duty assignment and housing and my mom, my older brother, and I were to follow about a month later. However, my brother was 3. I was 2. Flying to Japan from Washington, D.C., is not what you’d call a piece of cake for adults, and when you have to pack up everything you own, military flight plans require 3+ transfers, and flight delays require you to spend the night in the Memphis airport – no, there’s really NOT a lot of choice in schedule to keep, clothing, amusements, especially as a single person in charge of 2 toddlers. I guarantee you, if my mother didn’t burst out crying because of a comment made about cranky kids, she would have torn you a new one, and I think she would have been completely justified.

          Long story short – don’t judge. Just because YOU got a good night’s sleep and a nice leisurely wait in the airport to get on your flight doesn’t mean your fellow passengers weren’t leaving everything they knew to live in a very foreign country with their young family who just had to sleep on the floor in an airport in a strange city.


    • kokopuff

      And you spelled “traveling” wrong. What kind of non-proofreading monster are you?

      • Roger

        It is worse than that. My browser clearly underlines it in a red squiggly and I ignored that because I like my spelling better. Next on my agenda is “noone”. I do however feel completely justified because Americans think that ensure and insure can be used interchangeably when they mean completely different things.

        • Travelling can be spelled with one or two ‘l’s. Either spelling is correct. I would expect someone who uses the term “pull faces” to spell the word “travelling.”

    • Bethany

      Okay Rog, here goes nothing.. As someone who has travelled quite a bit with my family, I have encountered one too many crying babies myself. I understand the sheer insanity of trying to peacefully ignore a sobbing infant; but like the others who have commented on your post have already said, sometimes there is absolutely nothing the parents of the little gremlin can do about it. Let me ask you this, which would you find more disruptive: a crying baby or a parent who as soon as the pilot allows, hops out of their seat and obnoxiously tries every trick in the book to sooth their child? For me, it would definitely be the latter. If you are seated near this disruptive bunch I suggest you cut your losses and move on with the more important things in your life. After all, if everyone hated crying babies and their parents, where would the world be?

      • Kristina Cline

        All I can say is sorry. Please don’t glare at the babies because the babies grow up.

    • Cora

      I rarely comment on websites, but I feel inspired to pipe in here somewhat belatedly to, from a completely well-intentioned perspective, offer some support of Roger’s initial comment. I do so because I travel and read about travel especially and find a common growing trend of people, both parents and non-parents who attack other folks who even gently encourage those traveling with children and babies to consider the spirit of what it seems like to me he is pointing out. It seems to me adults travelling with young ones would ideally want for everyone’s sake a smoothe as possible flight but that as parents, it is quite easy to become a little disconnected from the standards of adults who maybe don’t have children consider a reasonable level of noise, activity, etc. Of course there is always the possibility of total breakdown for a child in any situation, and if you read his post, Roger never suggested otherwise. Not to put words in his mouth, but from my perspective, it seems to me he is pointing out something I see quite a lot, which is those few adults who in certain situations don’t make an effort to be considerate, or at the very least, apologize when their children act inappropriately. Personally i think the biggest problem is not with the crying, but with the other disruptive behaviors that usually can be controlled. A huge example that I am willing to bet almost any adult has dealt with on a flight is a child repeatedly kicking the back of your seat or playing with the table top while the parent carries on a conversation or for some other reason ignores the behavior. I am 6’1″ so I am particulary sensitive to this because it causes me repeated physical pain. For real! My height is my cross to bear, but there are other examples- toys or games making constant sound, or screaming reactions to all sorts of things. I understand why it happens. Parenting is hard, you are exhausted, in a stressful situation, and your mind can definitely tune these things out because it is the reality of your every day. I sometimes talk to my best friend on the phone and when her infant daughter will begin to cry or fuss she keeps right on talking while I’m struggling with the piercing sounds over the phone. It’s not that she is a bad parent, it’s that she’s used to the sound of her daughter screaming. So I think all it takes is recognizing that as a person who spends a lot of time with babies or children, you need to be extra cautious to be kind to your fellow travelers by trying to be objective about how disruptive a behavior may be. Try to curtail the behavior, and apologize to others if it doesn’t work. If you do all of that and your child continues to do whatever was the source of the disruption, I am almost always less frustrated and the flight is better for everyone!

      I feel this way largely because I do have to take exception to what someone said- an airplane is not a public space- it is a private corporation for which the individual has spent a significant amount of money to use. There is no “right” to air travel and therefore no one should feel a sense of entitlement regarding their or their children’s behavior on an airplane. Just as it is inappropriate to let your kids run around a restaurant and disrupt other people as they try to enjoy what they paid for, it is innappropriate to ignore it on a plane. What you choose for your personal standards in your home or a park is a totally different matter. Roger is also correct that some babies and children simply cannot fly- for instance kids who have ear sensitivity that is the source of their crying. But with the exception of the parents who are learning that lesson the hard way, there are too many well behaved, mellow kids and babies to believe that it’s not possible for children and adults to spend most flights in relative harmony. And to those who doubt that the noise or behaviors is all to often not addressed by certain folks, I would encourage you to take a good hard look around the next flight you are on and try to understand where I am coming from on this. Maybe it’s entitlement, but i think more often just the reality of parenting, but in either case a parent’s responsibility to try and prevent the dischord- you certainly wouldn’t want another adult to say, ask your child to stop kicking the seat in front of them.

      Bottom line though, of course our children are the thing we are most fiercely protective of, but frankly, attacking Roger and others kind of demonstrates the exact lack of consideration and disconnectedness that I think he is talking about. So while I’m not necessarily advocating the baby-glare, a little kindness goes a long way with others when traveling with children.

      • yogakneez

        An airline that supports traveling families only. Then all people with children can travel and cry together. They would all know from the beginning what they are in for and no one would be so insulted by the grab-ass going on.

        In an effort to protect my own sanity, I use the Mantra….”Their ears hurt and they don’t know how to clear them.” Most of them can’t chew gum yet.

        “Crybabies Blue, a Family airline serving families and their crying kids.”

        I don’t fly very often at all. The last tormenting experience was a woman that brought her child out of First Class to change him on the first two front seats of our cabin. The smell was mind boggling mixed with Tuna sandwich and Cheetos and most of the moaning and crying going on was from the adult passengers that had to endure this mother’s complete lack of regard for her fellow mankind unless, of course, you are in First Class.

        • Inatae


      • Michelle

        The only reason I comment on this is is because I have been in the situation with my son. I think people need to be a bit more sensitive with children. I have a 7 year old who is Autistic. I have been on planes where he does kick the person in front and I am very quick to apologize on his behalf even though I get looks like why can you not control your son. Obviously, I feel no need to sit there and explain to this perfect stranger that yes my son kicked your chair but its ecause he’s Autistic and is having a hard time being constrained on a 6 hour flight in which you have choosen to incline your seat all the way back and glare at me because he kicked once. Guess what he paid his seat just like you and he doesn;t appreciate getting gawked at because of something that isn’t in his control. So when someone chooses to glare at me just because my son tapped the back of their chair I let my son kick away and pretend to sleep 🙂

        • aliceblue

          Then don’t be surprised when I stand up and tell you that if you discipline your child I will, and you too if you get in my way. Wait until the flight attendant comes up (and s/he will) 7 I mention)for all around to hear) that you were sleeping instead of caring for your child – try playing the autistic card then without looking like a A-1 douche bag.

        • Travelmom

          You are exactly the type we’re talking about. You put a disabled child in a no-win situation he shoud not be forced to deal with and then pretend you don’t notice the effect it has on others?
          Shame on you.

          I flew many miles with small children. Even back then they sold children’s nightime cold medicine which helps relieve the ear pressure and makes them sleepy! We also had music and recorded books with earphones, drawing pens and paper, healthy snacks… And night flights when they were more likely to sleep. I knew I was responsible and planned ahead.

          Now I come with waterproof headphones that effectively block 99% of all noise and if you don’t keep your child from kicking my seat I will tell him to stop or have the FA do it.

    • Alex

      If some ninny parent brings a squalling brat aboard, you can bet I’ll be giving nasty looks at the very least! When I pay good money for a plane ticket, I don’t want some screeching infant ruining my trip. Whiny kids don’t belong on planes. If your child is not old enough to behave, it’s too young to travel on a plane. Simple as that!

      • mom2four

        Oh gosh, all I can say is that I hope all you people who are being utter assholes toward parents have a kid some day. Oh the justice. I also hope that, like me, you have those kids overseas and the only way to return to your home country is to fly there with them. All 4 of them. Alone.

        My kids have flown so many times (one of my daughters had been on 30 flights before she was 3), so we’ve never actually had a problem with them. Not a single tear or scream. HOWEVER, I would never in a million years judge another mom if her kid was being disruptive in any way. Because no matter how pissed off you are about the situation, I GUARANTEE you it does not even come close to how pissed off she is with the situation. So next time you think you’re about to explode with fury because of this kid-on-a-plane situation, remember that the mom might beat you to it. And she will wipe the floor with your sorry ass. Now go put on some headphones. It’s this new thing that allows you block out noises. I’ve tried it – works every time.

      • Chris

        Alex, you a an idiot. My daughter can’t clear her hears and sometimes cries. I too paid good money for this flight, actually I paid more then you because I bought my daughter’s ticket as well and impatient adults like you don’t belong on a plane or in society. And God help the person who glares or tries to say something to me because at that point as frustrated as I am trying to calm her down I will destroy you. She is everything to me and I’m sorry but you are less then an ant to me. I fly from San Diego to Boise when I do, please test me.

  • natalie

    I can’t explain gogurt, but i like this explanation for blue raspberry:

    also, for baffling passengers: the ones who get on an international flight feeling fine and as soon as they take off have a raging sinus infection. in other words, me. At least i’ve learned to come prepared.

    • Roger

      The air in the plane is at a lower pressure and considerably lower humidity than normal. It is surprising it doesn’t affect more people. Humidity leads to condensation which leads to corrosion which is why they keep it low. Newer planes like the Boeing 787 can have a higher pressure (equivalent to 6000ft compared to 8000ft from before) and higher humidity because of using stronger composite fibre construction rather than metal as used before.

      As a guideline you should fly on airlines with newer planes, and if possible take the plane type into account for at least the next decade.

  • Thick tights, leggings! You don’t know how lucky you are – it’s summer here down under and I’ve seen teens and others more than old enough to know better in thin tights walking around like they’re pants … thin, as in not only can I see your undie line but I can see the pattern on them as well! Next they’ll be doing away with the pretence and just wearing their undies around. (wow, I feel kind of old ranting like that but really, it’s beyond ridiculous).

    I have to admit I went to the loo on a flight last year in my socks. In my zombified state it didn’t occur to me that it was a bad idea until I got there 🙁 Thankfully they were the ones given to me by the airline so I could throw them away without any regrets.

  • Jennifer

    OMG! No. 12 always baffles me! Especially the ones who fall asleep BEFORE the plane even takes off!! Yes, my anger is covering up my extreme jealousy. 🙂

    • I AM one of those people who can sleep on planes. It is mainly due to years of being a roadie and having to learn to sleep whenever, wherever you get the chance. Like on top of a bass speaker during drummer sound check.

      It takes years of hard work and training, but with the determination and diligence of a marathonist, you too can learn to sleep on planes.

      Also, my hatred of flying, and the copious amounts of Dramamine i take before i get on a flight due to my hatred of flying, work to knock me the f*&k out withing minutes of sitting down.

      • Xenia

        I’ve been on the road my whole life, I still can’t pull it off.
        My husband, on the other side, falls asleep on a speaker at the club.

        • Everywhereist

          I used to have this power. My friend Laura would worry about me because I could fall asleep anyplace, anywhere.

      • Marion

        Dramamine – exactly!!! It works wonders… I’ve actually dozed off at the gate, i.e. before I even got ON the plane. A miracle drug – highly recommend it if you want to sleep through long distance flights 🙂

    • Those of us who can fall asleep before the plane takes off are to be envied in the same vein as those of us who fly so much we get upgraded: we can fall asleep so easily because it’s (nearly literally) the only time we actually get to sleep. That half hour when electronic devices are turned off and we are in a sitting position is a rare demand-free moment of stillness.

    • Michelle

      Glass of wine (or a couple more on long hauls), earplugs and an eye-mask. Also ask for an extra couple of pillows for that bizarre cavity between your back and the seat once you hit the recline button. Never put the airline blanket over your face as the static makes your nose all itchy like having hayfever. The only time I’ve passed out before take off was when traveling from Japan to Chile and had a couple of vodka sodas during transit at NY JFK airport. They were quite unexpectedly super strong…and now I sound like a complete lush.

  • Two things.

    I can sleep on a plane. Not like that guy though. But all of Distilled Seattle is baffled at that talent of mine as well.

    And on my way back from London, a gentleman in the bathroom blew his nose for 5+ minutes. Why????

    • Everywhereist

      That wasn’t his nose, Kate.

      • tanya

        LMAO, but Ewwwwwww!!!

  • Elizabeth

    I’m one of those who willingly gate checks my bag. The only reason I dragged it all the way to the plane is that I’m too cheap to pay $25 extra to check it. But if I get it there and they then offer to check it for free so I don’t have to drag it all the way back or fight for overhead bin space with all the other cheapasses… WIN!

    • Everywhereist

      I am now less baffled by this behavior. Well done, Liz. 🙂

    • kokopuff

      You. Are. Brilliant.

    • Jules

      Yep, that’s what we always do. Also, I think “people who talk loud enough for the entire cabin to hear them” should be added to the list. A screaming baby I can handle any day over a loud adult. Babies can’t help it, adults can!

    • I’m totally with you on this one!

      • Katie

        I completely agree with the checking my bag at the gate. Paying to check a bag sucks and so does trying to get my suitcase in the overhead compartment (especially when you are 5’1″) so any chance I get to not have to deal with it on the plane I will take!

    • Rob

      Shhh…that’s my secret way to get out of checked bag fees. If they catch on that we’re all doing it, we’ll get an unchecked bag fee! Though I wouldn’t mind seeing a “you should have checked that over-sized bag, you idiot, instead of annoying all of the other passengers by trying to cram it into the overhead bin, moving everyone else’s right-sized bags, holding up the line and bitching like a banshee” fee.

      So, yeah…that’s my vote for annoying passenger type.

    • chefswife

      I do the same thing. And if it fits in the overhead, so much the better.

  • Close relative of number 5 is the “individual who gets exasperated when the plane gets delayed”. Shifting around in their seats and annoying everyone around them with ill-informed outrage over weather delays or arrival gate changes. Guess what dummy, modern commercial aviation is rather complicated, and sometimes adjustments need to be made in order to accommodate the 2,000 aircraft that are aloft at any one time. Go sit with the “exasperated at babies” people while your myopic attitudes continue to make no difference at all.

  • Caroline

    Completely agree with number 11! I will never understand the women who wear 4+ inch heels to the airport.

    • SI306090

      It’s so that they don’t take up that much space in our bags.

  • Fun list! Although, I’d argue #8 and #10 may not apply in the US– since most airlines charge to check a bag and no food is offered on domestic flights. Lugging a large carry-on to the gate, and then gate-checking it is actually a great way to avoid paying a hefty baggage fee! And I’d rather have fast food than no food 🙂 Shocked anyone would enter an airline bathroom without shoes… so gross!

  • Judy

    I’m an aerospace engineer. Planes are very, very safe. But #3 is what scares me, because, you know, turbulence. I believe it’s the number one cause of injury for flight attendants who are, by their job description, are required to move about the cabin. My fear is that one of those un-belted passengers will be catapaulted out of their seat, and onto me. For the love of God, leave your seatbelt buckled unless you need to get up!

    In the same line of thought, for #11, in the very very unlikely event you have to evacuate a plane, those fashionistas are going down with the ship. I always fly in in sneakers & jeans (or lace-up shoes & Dockers if I won’t have time to change before a meeting.) And a nice top, and a cardigan for layering. You want to be wearing pants if you have to go down the slide, and shoes that will stay on your feet if you have to run.

    For #12, Dramamine, original formula, has always worked for me.

    • Everywhereist

      Judy – I think of you almost every time I fly, actually. Especially your warning not to wear shorts or skirts on planes. I now wear long pants all the time.

      • Roger

        I get even more paranoid being careful about how my legs go under the seat in front. If there is some sudden turbulence and you get thrown up and pulled down (due to the seat belt) then having your legs jammed long under the seat in front will result in them breaking.

        It is a really good idea to know how many rows there are in both directions to the nearest emergency exit. What they don’t tell you is that there will likely be a lot of dust and possibly some smoke so you are unlikely to see well. Imagine trying to evacuate with your eyes closed!

        • Wurst

          But at least you will not be annoyed by those parents and its baby any more.

  • Looks like we didn’t get exactly the same genes from our parents. I’m lucky enough that I fall asleep within minutes of being on an airplane, and will remain sound asleep even during pretty bad turbulence.

    “Somebody wake up Hicks”

    • Chris

      I’ve slept on planes. I fell asleep leaning against the fuselage once, and woke up with my knuckles on the floor and my jaw halfway to my lap. The passenger from the seat next to mine had moved away, and didn’t come back.

      I think the easiest way to sleep on a plane is probably to get to the airport by 48-hr Greyhound. I’ve done 72, but that’s unnecessary self-inflicted suffering. 48 will cover it.

  • I used to work for an airline in Portland and every day was full of baffling people. My first day of training they told me that people lose their minds and their personalities are altered as soon as they walk into an airport and it is so true. I could probably tell stories for days about these people and many more. One to add to your list: the velour sweatsuit woman. It seems like every flight I have worked on or taken has had at least one woman in a coordinated velour or terry sweatsuit.

    • Majida

      so true!!

  • HollyFromHomer

    This is awesome, mainly because I’ll be taking multiple plane trips tomorrow on my way to Hawaii! (Which, by the way, I’m really pissed you haven’t blogged about. You need to visit EVERYWHERE before I go to there, starting now.)

    I’ll try and get some paparazzi-worthy shots of Bad Airport People.

  • People who baffle me on a flight: the people who sit in an aisle seat and act all surprised and put-out when you need to get up and use the restroom… especially on really long flights. Like, “What? You need to use the restroom? We only have 10 more hours! Can’t you hold it!” I always try to get an aisle seat as I have a nonexistent bladder and drink tons of water on flights, but sometimes the booking gods frown on me and put me in a window or middle seat. And, every single time, I end up next to that guy who is annoyed to let me out.
    Oh, and one time this woman next to me stole my cookies off my tray while I was taking a nap. When I woke up, she looked at me and said, “I took your cookies because you weren’t eating them.” That woman should be really happy that the flight attendant had already taken away my meal tray with my plastic cutlery. As I totally would have broken a fork in her eye. But, luckily, cookie stealers seem to be few and far between as opposed to the guys who sigh at me every time I make them move from their cushy aisle seat.
    Oh, and tights-as-pants need to be stopped. It’s something of an epidemic here in China. You’d think a communist country would have better rules about what qualifies as pants. Seriously.

  • YES! I will never understand the nastiness of barefoot bathroom-goers. Did you figure walking through the nasty security checkpoint while barefoot meant your feet are dirty anyways so f— it? *shudder*

    Also, please add the uncovered-mouth-hacker-of-lungs. Thank you for infecting the whole plane with your plague. COVER YOUR MOUTH!!

    • Christine

      YES! Thank you! We are all stuck with the same re-circulated air for the duration of the flight so for the love of God, cover your mouth when you cough/sneeze/etc.. And please at least try to encourage your children to do the same.

  • Andrea

    People who use the airplane blankets. EW. They don’t get washed the way you think they do – they get folded and put back!!! I mean, do you want to share a blanket with the guy who goes barefoot into the bathroom and the lady who eats onions on a Whopper?? Pashminas didn’t die when Friends went off the air; it’s the perfect accessory for airport chic followed by on-plane comfort.

  • Alyssa

    On a flight to Phoenix, the older gentleman sitting next to me decided to masturbate. I was 15 at the time. Honestly, a horrifying experience.

    • Everywhereist

      No. NO. NO. Sweet heavenly father, NO. That’s literally criminal. And creepy beyond words.

    • Oh my God!!!

  • Last time I flew home, I failed to ask for a window seat, and was unfortunately assigned in the middle. Ever since the plane levels, the woman next to me had her camera out and would take a picture of either the cabin or the scenery every five or ten seconds. I’m completely puzzled what attracts her to take exactly the same thing over and over again, over the 1.5 hour flight?

  • Emily

    Ok, I hope you don’t hate me, but I can sleep on the plane. Sometimes even before take off. But sometimes I can’t sleep at all. Also, when on a long flight, I unbuckle my seatbelt ASAP because its more comfortable for sleeping. And if the plane crashes, that seatbelt will not save me.

    As for the kids debate: there is a big difference between a baby crying and a screaming 6 year old. Babies are fine, but I can’t stand temper tantrums from kids who scream for the first hour solid.

    • Everywhereist

      Emily – I totally agree: big difference between screaming babies who are in pain, and obnoxious older kids who are just badly behaved. But in either case, the parent has my sympathy because they had to deal with that kid far longer than I ever will.

    • Chris

      The seat belt won’t save you in a nose-plant situation or an upside-down 45-degree supersonic splashdown, but if the plane decides to land “right here and now” whether the pilot wants to or not (Airbus killed a test pilot this way) and takes out a few lampposts, cars, medium-sized trees or whatever else it could make the difference, and then there’s clear-air turbulence. Turbulence is normally associated with really big clouds of the tall and fluffy style, looking like someone blew straight up in a very cold room. Generally, people avoid flying through or under those things and thereby avoid the turbulence. Sometimes, though, turbulence happens without the water droplet formation to warn you off, and your plane goes *down* in a really sharp way. You could feel -1g relative to the plane. If your seat-belt is fastened, it’s like being hung by the belt from an upside-down seat for a moment. If it’s not fastened, it’s like being dropped on your head out of an upside-down seat, or perhaps being hit over the head with the top half of the plane.

      I keep mine fastened.

    • Katherine

      Emily, it’s not just you you need to think about when you unbuckle your seat belt. Clear-air turbulence would have the full weight of your body crashing into people around you and injuring them. We’re all crammed in a tight space and maybe we need to think of others as well as ourselves.

  • Oh dear god this post KILLS me baaahahahaahaha!!!

    The meat with the fork broke off into it. Genius.

    AND I wonder the same thing about people who move around when there’s a cart going through…SIT DOWN! IT TAKES 5 MINUTES!

  • Jess

    I once spent a long flight listening to a drunk guy hit on the girl next to him, while constantly ordering more beer. At one point, he let one rip, and sheepishly turned to his flight companion and said, “I just farted real bad.”

  • Connie

    My boyfriend falls asleep before the plane is even fully boarded! Last time, his eyes were closed before I had put my bag in the overhead. Of course, this is insanely annoying to me, because I still get nervouse when we take off. I make him wake up and hold my hand while we’re taking off…and he’s asleep before wheels up. I still love him, but just a tiny bit less at that moment.

    Here’s what baffles me. As soon as we hit altitude, usually before they even turn off the seatbelt light…when 2/3s of the passengers all leap to their feet and beat a path to the lav. Seriously, we just boarded an hour or so ago. Did you not go before you got on the plane? Any of you? I was blessed with a nurse’s bladder, so I’ve never had to use the lav on a plane. But I’m so curious as to what is so fascinating in there that makes everyone rush in as soon as they can. I understand a few people…but almost everyone on the plane? Weird.

  • I admit to being one of those people who glared at parents with crying children… until I managed to get myself on a plane with a sinus infection and couldn’t pop my ears either. Oh the pain!! Now I just take pity on the poor babies (and only glare at the parent if it’s a child old enough to understand directions on how to both pop their ears and behave properly in a crowded space) and always bring either earplugs or headphones to cover up the screaming from the next aisle.

    I usually take my shoes off when I get on a plane but if I have to get up to go to the bathroom (rare for me; I’m like a camel) I ALWAYS put my shoes back on… ewwwww otherwise!

    I’m also that person who ALWAYS sleep on flights, haha. I can sleep just about anywhere though, buses, trains, cars etc. The key is being tired enough beforehand, get a window seat so you can lean against the wall, and medication as a supplement if necessary (something to make you drowsy; sometimes I use dramamine as I also get motion sick fairly easily. Other times just melatonin which is a natural supplement).

    • Good for you for your compassion, Kaylin. Baby crying usually increases at take off and landing because babies are uncomfortable due to cabin pressure changes we all feel. A bottle, pacifier, or nursing can help regulate pressure if baby is not too disturbed by the discomfort to focus on sucking. Getting those tools in place in the mouth before take off and landing are best. Happy flying/traveling to all 🙂

  • I’m gleefully guilty of #12, and usually right as I sit down. I usually get the most drowsy during the decent… kind of inconvenient, and a curse I’ve had since I was a baby.

    I was traveling with some students once and was just getting over a cold so I decided to pop some tylenol PM about 10 minutes before boarding just to be sure I would pass out right as I got to my seat. Of course the flight was delayed and I got to desperately fight my increasingly heavy eyelids so that my squealing Japanese school girls wouldn’t take pictures of me passed out with my mouth wide open and drool coming out of the corner.

  • Moe

    I don’t know if this constitutes a weird story. I was enroute last week to Ottawa, Ontario..and was surfing UP! magazine [WestJet] and guess who was in there? YOU!! FYI..I’m one of those weirdos that sleep. I was sitting and enjoying the closed window and not looking 38,000 feet down. I don’t have that sort of vision so I close the window and pretend I’m on a bus. I frown around, and take pictures of people. Or spark up conversation with random strangers about dropping several thousand feet [twice] in one trip. I also give them my story on how I seen sparks fly from one of the engines enroute to Winnipeg, Manitoba. I keep them entertained the best of my ability, and then *click* *click* when they pretend to sleep so they don’t have to talk to me anymore. Yes we’re cool like that in Canada.

    • Everywhereist

      Wait, what? I was in WestJet’s UP magazine? That’s so weird (they didn’t tell me or contact me …)

  • houseoffools

    I have never understood people who KNOW they will have to go through a metal detector at security,(which have only been in use for the last 40 years!) but yet still show up with enough metal on their bodies to be mistaken for Robocop! The watch, the belt, the jewelry, the coins in their pockets. Studded jackets with 15 zippers. And then there’s undoubtedly some forbidden article in their bag, then the obligatory argument with the security personnel about why their family size bottle of mouthwash is essential for them to carry on to the plane. When they finally get through all the beeping and arguing, you have to wait for them to get dressed again on the other end, which they do right at the end of the beltway, in the way of everyone else!! ARGH!!

    And my kids freeze Go-Gurt (or Tubes, as they’re called here in Canada). It’s like a yogourt pop then.

  • I do not understand people who get on airplanes dressed for the beach in flip flops and tank tops, or women wearing high heeled open toed shoes and short skirts. Seriously? How can that be comfortable at all? It’s just too cold on the plane. I also wonder about #1, those people who get on long flights with nothing. Are they that trusting that they check everything?

    • I got *on* the airplane in flip flops, short-shorts and a tank top in Honolulu because I was melting under the weight of a carryon and a toddler, but I brought grown-up pants and a cardigan for the actual flight. Also it was a lot of fun getting chosen for additional security screening–exactly *where* in that outfit am I going to hide a weapon?

  • Vivek Kedia

    One who farts , i had to ask for air fresheners at times !!! Other one takes up half of my seat space with his/her huge hands and legs !!!

    God how I hate air travel !!

  • I have another one – I was on an overnight flight to Dubai last year in business class and I was blissfully asleep (Melatonin forever!) when some cold water drops started falling on my face and woke me up. I was still sleepy so I waited for a couple of minutes, covered my face with the blanket but then the blanket got wet from all the water. I called a crew member and told them that they will have to move me because something was wrong with their air conditioning and there was water dripping all over my seat and my face. Their first suggestion was to bring me another blanket so I could cover my face better….their second suggestion was to bring me two blankets. I got so pissed off and refused to “just ignore it” and within seconds they moved me to first class – most of the seats were empty! So annoying – why are they always so stingy when the seats are just sitting there all lonely. Blah

  • My, some people are so unforgiving when it comes to children on planes! And they’ll sit there thinking their ticket price gives them the right to have some kind of immaculate, utopian plane journey. IT’S PUBLIC TRANSPORT. People, especially young children, are unpredictable. Hello and welcome to the human race. Most seem to assume too that the parent is somehow deliberately allowing their child to cry/scream/otherwise be annoying. Oh yeah, I make a point of repetitively pinching my children on a plane, just to bring the noise levels up a bit on a boring flight. And do you think it helps, for an already upset young child to look around this big, scary, metal thing and see twenty grown ups glaring back angrily at them? Try smiling instead, help the child settle. Stupid heads. 🙂
    Train journey once, I needed the toilet, left a few things tucked into the pocket of my reserved seat and then queued for ten minutes. When I got back to my seat, a young woman was sat in my chair, studying the playlist on my ipod and wearing my sunglasses. Cue massive embarrassment as young woman realises someone hadn’t carelessly left these items behind (doh) and then gathered herself up hurriedly to vacate my seat, quickly passing my iPod back to me as she stood up to go. The only words I spoke were to remind her “you’re wearing my sunglasses” before she disappeared down the train muttering “oh my god. Oh my god” to herself. Ah, it was funny.

  • Marshall

    One of my pet peeves is the passenger who, having put their carry-on luggage in the overhead locker and sat down, then feels the need to jump up and fiddle with it one or more times before the aircraft gets off the ground. On a flight to Singapore about 18 months ago, a passenger accessing his carry-on for the third time managed to dislodge a small case which hit an infant sitting on her mother’s lap in the row behind. The mother & child were taken off the aircraft to the aiport medical centre. Cabin staff advised later in the flight that the infant was slightly bruised but was well enough to travel on a later flight that day. It was a horrible experience for everyone involved and in nearby seats.

    • Moe

      The dig-around-twenty-times-but-never-find-the-pot-of-gold people. Dreadful.

  • Annalena

    The people who immediately call someone after the plane lands and they announce you can use your cell phones. Especially the ones who don’t even need to be picked up at the airport, but are just calling to let someone know they have landed. AND proceed to have a long and loud conversation that EVERYONE on the plane can hear. REALLY? You can’t wait until you enter the terminal. I’m sure that extra ten or fifteen minutes isn’t going to overly worry your loved one. Just wait a few minutes so we don’t all have to listen to you talk about your airplane meal. Or send a text. Or at least don’t be so loud.

  • I’m one of those people who falls asleep before take-off, which is a pity as take-off is my favourite part of the journey. I can sleep anywhere, once even fell asleep while a passenger on a long motorcycle journey (yikes).

    I, too, dress in layers and jeans with walking shoes / hiking boots. The layers help me with any changes in the temperature, and the jeans and shoes offer the best protection in the event of a (survivable) crash.

    I used to suffer with sinus issues on a plane, so a few years ago I started sucking on mentholated cough drops during the flight. Between those and the copious amounts of water I drink, I manage to keep all systems well hydrated.

    My biggest pet-peeve flyer is the bastard behind me that a) kicks my seat throughout the entire journey [it’s not always a child, but if it IS then the parent should at least be able to control THAT] and b) uses the back of my headrest for leverage to heft their butts out of their seats, which usually jerks me awake.

  • The bare feet in the lavatory totally skeeves me out. I don’t fly too much but one instance did stick out to me.

    On our way to London, we were in the dreaded middle row. Next to us, by the window, were two seats and a guy with tight, pink jeans sat in one of them. When he realized he did not have a seat mate, he laid down across both seats and FILED HIS NAILS VERY LOUDLY for (I kid you not) about thirty minutes. After that, he fell sound asleep while I struggled to doze for five minutes.

  • KUalum

    Go-gurt is a necessity! My kids are much more willing to eat a go-gurt than yogurt from a cup. Plus you can freeze them and then eat them like popsicles (also a plus for the kiddos, who would live on gumballs and bananas if I let them).

  • I’m right with you on the sleepers. I just want to smother them with their pillows!

  • Xenia

    “Mutant berries and suicidal poultry” just made my day.

  • Janet T

    Wow, Geraldine, way to open up a can of worms! By the number of comments here, I can that tell people love to fly as much as I do. (insert sarcastic snort here)

    I can sleep on any plane, anytime of day. But after watching Steel Magnolias on an airplane for the first time, I tend to avoid movies….especially ones that make me cry copious amounts of tears.

    And when on the aisle, I stand up and move into the aisle to let my seatmates out.

    You actually missed my pet peeve. When flights run late and connections may be missed, the flight crew used to announce their intention to let people with connecting flights off the plane first, now it is pretty much every man for themselves.

  • Christina

    One of my pet peeves are the stinky feet. I understand that it feels great to take off your shoes on a plane, I take off my shoes, but I always make sure my feet don’t reek. Nothing like someone sitting behind you sans shoes and the entire sections smells like fritos gone bad.

  • “Blue raspberry flavor is a common flavoring for candy, snack foods, laffy taffy, sweet syrups and soft drinks. It is more commonly used in the United States, as a sweet flavoring. The flavor originates from Rubus leucodermis, more commonly known as the “Whitebark Raspberry” or “Blue Raspberry” for the blue-black color of its fruit.[1]

    Food products labeled as Blue Raspberry flavor often contain a bright blue food coloring,[2] the most common being Brilliant Blue FCF (although this coloring is not accurate to the real-life color of the fruit).” – Source, Wikipedia

    And now you know.

    • Everywhereist

      Another of life’s great mysteries, solved.

    • Leah

      As a certified “blue food guru” (that’s right, I’ve deemed it so), can you also explain why M&Ms replaced the greatest M&M of all time (light brown) with the blue M&M?

      • Everywhereist

        Oh, Leah – we are SO soulmates. I complain about the existence of blue M&Ms and actually went to one of their factories in order to buy some light brown ones. Tragically, they had none.

        • Leah

          I just couldn’t believe you when you said that even the factory doesn’t have light brown at all anymore, so I had to check online where you can personalize your own M&M (in one of 25 colors!). NO LIGHT BROWN! Oh, M&M, why must you taunt us so? And why on Earth do you need my birthday for me to enter your site? What is on there that requires me to be at least 18?

        • Jamie

          Okay… I think I know whats going on with the blue M&M. (Unfortunately I cannot account for the lack of light brown M&M – though I suspect its related to the introduction of blue). I recall at the age of about 13 or so (I’m 31 and don’t feel like doing the math to figure out the year) the makers of M&M came out with an advertising campaign directed at kids in which we were all supposed to “vote” on the new M&M color. I don’t recall going to the website and voting – this must have been a little before that era – but I do recall the advertising campaign. I think there were only a few choices – like blue, pink and purple. So, it was probably a good introduction to actual voting – where their is literally a rainbow of possiblities but we are always given either red or blue – but I digress… Anyway, in the end, blue won. I think I voted for purple. My guess is that they kicked light brown to the curb. As for why M&M needs your birth date – obviously they are worried about a social media revolution to “free the light brown one” getting started – so they heavily monitor their site for people that might remember light brown’s peaceful and coexisting ways.

  • You know, I read these conversations about crying babies on planes and I can’t believe the rude comments. I think that this situation is way overblown or people just love to complain in general. I’ve flown a lot over the last 10 years and yes, I’ve heard babies crying, once in a while. But its certainly not the norm. I think most parents normally try their best to calm their kids down – butm like many things in life, its just not always controllable…

    The truth is that I will take a wailing baby over a stinky, hungover, snoring party boy – any day, any flight. Babies can’t help it. But odor-offensive adults who can’t hold their alcohol and think that the airport bar is their oyster are just unexcusable…

  • Kanisha

    The one thing that annoys me alot is when people don’t take the effort to dress properly. I mean, would you go to the theater wearing flip flops,low rise faded shorts, and a stained/faded tank top? Or worse, a ratty tank top with those damned Harem pants!No, right?! Good lord! If you can afford a flight ticket to anywhere, you for sure can afford a pair of decent/clean pants! X-(

    • Kanisha

      I forgot to mention, the reason why this annoys me, is because the clothes look super dirty. I’ve seen people travel like this on international flights..I do NOT want to sit next to someone for 10 hours with questionable hygiene.

    • Everywhereist

      Right. YES. I hate it when people wear harem pants on flights (Looks around nervously). 🙂 I … I certainly have never done that.

  • catcat

    Right when they started to NOT serve a meal on domestic flights, I was on a cross-country flight over dinner-time. Being obsessed with food availability (especially on planes), I had researched and had sack lunches for my husband and I. Halfway into the flight we broke them out (after listening to incessant calls to the stewardesses about lack of meals). I think every head in the plane turned to the sound of the crinkling wrappers. Ended up wishing we hadn’t brought food. Shared with the people near us, but didn’t have enough for 100.

  • Julia

    Have you ever heard Ellen’s take on Gogurt? Hilarious and true. Here’s the transcript from her stand-up show:

    “And now we’ve got “go-gurt” yogurt, for people on the “go” .
    Was there a big mobility problem with yogurt before? How time-consuming was it really? [pretends to answer a ringing phone:]
    Hello? Oh, hi Tom.. oh, I’ve been dying to see that movie… wish I could, but I just opened up some yogurt…
    yeah… I am in for the night. No, not even later…it’s that kind with the fruit on the bottom.
    Thanks anyway, have fun..good night. That’s a shame.”

    • Everywhereist

      Oh, god, I hadn’t heard her spin on it – but it’s clear that Ellen is a woman who is looking into my soul.

  • Suchitra

    I know that I am supposed to write about the horrible flight experiences I have had….. And believe me I have had enough to do that…..from starvation to reclining seats onto my nose…..
    But dear Geraldine, why don’t u dedicate ur next blogpost to all the nice people u have encountered on ur flights……
    Do tell us about the unique experience of being happy about something on a flight!!…..

    • Everywhereist

      Oh, this is a beautiful idea – I’m going to do it! Sadly, I’ll have a harder time thinking of examples, but I will DO IT!

  • Jen

    Gogurt is for children. When I did day care the kids all had them in their lunch boxes, no spoon required. The kids also like them frozen like Otter Pops.

  • I too hate the people who can sleep on a plane. I did, unintentionally get back at one though. He was in the window seat and I was in the middle. Thankfully, my sister was on the aisle because being between 2 strangers on a plane is torture. Anyway, he falls asleep way before we even finish boarding, and is snoozing away unaware and the ding goes off signaling I can recline my seat, which I reach over to do, but somehow get confused and push his seat recline button sending him plummeting backward. He shoots upright, I’m sure believing that we are crashing, only to find my sister and I laughing hysterically at my stupidity. I felt terrible, but could only muster a snorted apology through my laughter.

    Luckily he had a good sense of humor about it and did go back to sleep. At the end of the flight as we were getting ready to land, he goes to put his seep and says to me…”unless you want to put the seat up for too.”

  • Oh MAN can I go off on this. I will not add anything more on people who sleep for the entire flight except that I am deeply, profoundly jealous. The last time I went to Korea, half the cabin popped pills and slept the whole flight. I was ready to wake everyone up just to make sure they didn’t develop deep vein thrombosis (seriously, you’re still for 14 hours, that CAN’T be good for you). I also reserve my ire for people in front of me who recline their seats. That last inch isn’t going to make your life that much more comfortable but it is going to make the person behind you infinitely less comfortable (the last time I came back from Geneva, the woman in front of me reclined her seat and slept the whole time. I argue if you are tired enough to sleep for eight hours, you probably could have done so without reclining your seat). But while I disagree with those who recline their seats, I can understand it. What completely boggles my mind is the people who are sitting in the aisle and then just sit there when the doors have opened, and act all surprised that they now need to get their stuff down from the overhead compartment. Those of us trapped by the window can do nothing but fume.

  • Rachel

    My air travel pet peeve is at the luggage carosel. Why can we all just step back from the moving belt, watch for our luggage, and then calmly step forward and grab our bag when it comes up? No pushing, shoving, or bumped body parts! FYI – I wouldn’t recommend leading by example with this one – people just park themselves in front of you (first hand experience and that vien in my forehead still hasn’t receeded)!

    • Hayley

      My sentiments exactly.

  • Jo

    I spend a good chunk of time on planes, and I’m always baffled by people who have NO regard for arm rest politics. You either choose the front portion thereby leaving the back for your neighbour OR vice versa. Surely this is a given; it’s part of the natural law and order of flying. Some people are greedy I suppose…and these greedy people shouldn’t be allowed to fly.

    • Romabit

      Yes! As a petite lady traveler, it’s mind boggling how many big people assume I don’t need the armrest at all and take the whole thing (and some) for themselves. Also, I wanted to point out the people who fidget and move around constantly … I’m guilty of many ticks and neurotic behavior but seriously, tapping your foot for two hours while sharing a bench seat with other strangers? They do realize the ENTIRE ROW is shaking, don’t they?

  • Tall people who jab their knees into the seat in front of them, as if bringing pain to someone else’s back will somehow decrease their own physical discomfort.

    • Kathleen

      Tall people can’t help jabbing their knees into the seat in front of them. There isn’t room for their legs. Are they supposed to sit with their legs spread into the people sitting beside them? Then those people would complain.

      • I am, of course, talking about intentional jabs. I’ve witnessed my fair share of air rage involving calculated, unnecessary knee thrusts to the backs of innocent passengers. This is not cool.

  • Michael

    I never heard of SeatGuru until now. And I’ll probably forget it before tomorrow because I don’t fly tgat often.

    • Michael

      Typed on a phone, by the way.

  • Liz

    This sort of responds to this post and the previous guest post about traveling with kids.

    Crying babies on planes I can deal with – that’s what headphones are for. Crying babies/unruly children in restaurants drive me crazy. I think there are many situations where you don’t have much choice but to fly with kids. You prepare as best you can, but there’s only so much you can do with an unconsolable child.

    But you just about always can avoid taking young kids into nice restaurants. I can’t begin to count how many dinners I’ve had ruined by other peoples’ kids. Take them outside when they’re spastic. Request outdoor seating when available. Leave them with a babysitter. Or get takeout and eat at your leisure where your kids can enjoy themselves and you don’t have people glaring at you and complaining to the wait staff. My rule of thumb: if a place serves alcohol, it’s for adults – Leave the young’uns at home.

    • Wurst

      Could you please post your three favorite restaurants? I would like to visit those together with my three little ones. Many times.

      • Mary

        Why are you always responding to every post with some pro-bratty statement? Parents can control kids contrary to popular belief.

      • Kathleen

        If your children are well-behaved, feel free to take them anywhere you want. If not, don’t inflict them on other people until they develop some manners.

  • MicMac

    I’m baffled by the amount of clothing and get skinny gimmicks lately that appear a lot like girdles—wrapping it tightly doesn’t make it prettier. Any food that starts with ‘go’ seems suspect. More memorable airport moments: I sat in an exit row with a woman who was afraid of flying and was taking her ‘exit row duties’ quite seriously and when she asked the flight attendant pointing to the pamphlet where the inflatable ramp in the back was located, the attendants reply was “don’t worry about that – if you have to find it, it’ll be too late.” >> I took a red-eye on Christmas aka kids with no sleep in their PJs fly free night – where a fellow passenger finally screamed “just cut my ovaries out.” >> A passenger in the center seat, calmly took her readers digest out, pulled her tray table down and proceeded to systematically tear out every single page of her book. Absolutely no idea why. >> Sat between a very heavyset woman and a very large man. The woman was pretending to sneak hard candy wrapped in the loudest cellophane out of her bag (for 2-hours). The man next to me ask me where I was going and I told him, I politely reciprocated the query which resulted in him bursting into sobbing tears. I later did find out why.>> A family with twin girls were seated down and across the aisle from us. One of the twins was tired of sitting with her family so came over to my chair, crawled up on my lap and went to sleep. When she woke we just made puppets out of the puke bags that entertained her for the rest of the trip. >> Seattle being the small town that it is and because I read your blog, I recognized your kissing companion on my last flight to SFO. I feel it was my first celebrity sighting.

    • Stefanie

      i think this wins as my favorite comment!

  • Jbelle

    Go-gurt was createt by anthropologists! They studied
    Families and realized kids didn’t eat breakfast because moms were on the go, putting yogurt in a tube made it mess free and easy to bring in the car. Hope that explains the idiocy adults see in it 🙂

  • Claude

    yes! give me hours and hours of fluffy cloulds and mountains and undetermined patters! I’m the traveller stuck to the window and I’m not afraid to admit it. As for sleeping on the plane, you need to forget of your fear of flying (if you’re one of those weird people who belive it’s not natural) and will yourself onto sleep. As Dani explained, it’s an aquired skill.

  • OK… that Foster Farms “Airport” ad was one of the funniest I’ve seen in a long while.

    “I think my giblets are frozen.”


  • Robin

    Okay then, i’ll download some Big bang theory if that makes a difference.

  • Dude

    Wow that was an amazing story but, why you may consider it such of a extraordinary kind of, that is what i am not concerned about.

    But again i enjoyed reading this i wish i could share mines but they are to extreme and kinda unbelievably
    strange especially those around the Europe.

    BTW the fork was funny too

  • Amber

    Once I was on a plane and this woman had an oversized doll on her lap, so of course the gentleman next to her asked about it, something like, “oh is that a present for your daughter?” Something you would assume about a grown ass woman toting around a doll. For the next 2 hours we were all subjected to overly enthusiastic chatter about the woman’s doll collection, but the poor soul next to her got the worst of it, everytime he would try and open his book she would have thought of something else he just had to know about her precious dolls, my mom and I still talk about it I think mainly because it was like something from SNL or Portlandia.

  • Natdragon

    The grown man that talked loudly for three straight hours about high school cheerleading. And he had a photo album to illustrate it all. WTF indeed?

    The fashionistas always baffle me, as well as the people who push and shove each other to get to the overhead luggage, especially when they are at their final. estination and in the back fifteen rows. Please don’t whack me in the face with your overhead items.

  • Hahah!

    I really loved this article, even if I’m guilty of sometimes visiting the bathroom sans shoes. But you could also just call his piece “12 reasons flying is so interesting and fun” – I love the weirdness of being up in the air!

  • If you hate Gogurt, you’re really going to hate crushers. Check them out. The premise: since spoons are SUCH A MASSIVE INCONVENIENCE, these yogurt cups can be easily CRUSHED with your bare, hulkish hands so you never have to deal with the insanity of utensils again. Really? REALLY? This is a necessity for children today?

    p.s. You crack me up!

  • Jackie

    Can someone explain to me the need for passengers to stand up once the plane reaches the gate and the fasten seatbelt sign is off. It usually takes 5 minutes before the doors are opened and standing squashed in airplane aisle with a set of strangers is not fun.

    • chechina

      People are desperate to leave.

  • I’m a flight attendant, so I have a couple of things to say about this post. First of all, pretty spot on. From the crying babies to walking in the lav barefoot, geez people!!! People must check their brains at the ticket counter.

    I have a blog and plan to write, “The Top 10 Ways to Irritate Your Flight Attendant.” And guess what will be one way? Get up and use the lav when the flight attendants are in the aisle trying to serve snacks and drinks. REALLY?! You can’t just wait 5 mins?

    Some insight on the gate checked bag thing. The passenger that asks to gate check their bag is smarter than you think, or just better informed. Now that many airlines charge about $400 per checked bag, passengers can get around this by taking their bag as a carrying on, then when they get to the gate, politely ask the gate agent the following:

    “Is this a pretty full flight? Can I gate check this bag?”

    If that doesn’t work with the gate agent, ask the flight attendant when boarding how much overhead bin space is left, and then just ask if you can gate check.

    80 percent of the time you won’t be charged. Depending on the airline, your bag may be at the gate at the next destination or at baggage claim.

    Anyway, few tips next time you travel.

  • Sleeping in an airplane is one of my specialties. And also the pain-in-the-neck (literally) when I wake up.

  • RiderWriter

    Oh, my… I have experienced many of these travails, and it just never gets any easier. One of my never-to-be-forgotten fellow passenger stories is from my honeymoon. We had just boarded our flight to HI, and were seated in the 3-across next to the window on a 747. I had the window, New Hubs had the middle and we were crossing our fingers that no one showed up for the last. No such luck… along came a guy, probably about 21, wearing a t-shirt. He immediately announced, “Whew, it’s hot in here,” and while still standing up (lurking over us) proceeded to remove his t-shirt. Underneath he was wearing a tank top, copious amounts of arm hair and the worst B.O. I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. Horrorstruck, we then had to endure his delightful presence for the full eight hours to Honolulu. Nice start to a romantic vacation (I’m happy to report it did turn out to be AMAZING, so it was worth it).

    The other top story in my line-up does have to do with children, but I’m talking about mine. We were taking our daughter, age 2, and infant son back to NJ for the first time. My grandmothers had not met my son and he was going to be baptized, so this was a significant trip. Our first issue was the airline was not able to give my daughter a seat adjoining either of us parents (apparently they thought she could sit by herself somewhere else – there’s a good plan for ya!). They said we’d have to ask someone to switch seats. Okie-dokie. We get on, Hubby goes off to his single seat, I am supposed to go to a middle seat with lap child infant. I politely ask the business man traveler in the aisle seat next to me if he would mind switching to the other aisle seat (empty) just across the aisle, so my daughter could take the middle and I could take his. You’d think not a very big deal, right? (I thought this was better than asking Window Seat Person to get up and move, since all the rest of those were taken).

    WRONG. This sorry excuse for a human first looked outraged, then spluttered, and hissed, and finally hoisted himself up, still muttering. I forget what else he said but the crowning moment was when he said very loudly, “You should have just left these brats at home.” I myself was incapable of speech – utterly shocked and starting to cry. My husband did catch this exchange and told me later it took every ounce of his willpower not to launch himself at the guy and deck him. I have a feeling there were a lot of other passengers shooting him venomous looks as well.

    I then had to endure THIS man’s presence mere inches away across the aisle for several hours. I never looked that way the entire flight. I hope he was happy. He can certainly rest assured that he has gone down in the annals of our family history as the single rudest, meanest individual we’ve ever encountered while traveling (and I’ve been doing so since *I* was an infant, which I hate to say is over 40 years now!).

    • RiderWriter

      (P.S. Neither of my kids ever made a PEEP, in case you’re thinking the guy was observing us with a justifiable sense of impending doom, and that’s why he was such a jerk.)

  • Ahhh, I love a good article about how so many people are just plain WHACKED! Honestly, I don’t know how some people manage to get through life for as long as they do. That being said, people watching is a favorite hobby of mine so I always look forward to flying. Because I’m such an avid people watcher, you may have me confused for a “glarer.” Yes, sometimes I do glare, but not because I’m jealous of the people in first class, but because I’m keeping an eye out for celebrities. Hey, if Justin Timberlake’s on the same aircraft as me, you better believe I’m gonna spot him sittin’ up front in his three piece suit. Yes, I glare when people, including children are too loud. If my Ipod’s turned up full blast, and I can still hear you, you’re TOO LOUD, and I don’t care how old you are. And for God’s sake, in the 3 suitcases that you checked and your carry on bag that’s bigger than my actual suitcase, you couldn’t squeeze in a stick of deodorant?

  • dcook

    About the bathroom floor…my husband explained it in detail to me some time ago. Apparently in public lavatories (especially those marked “Men”) the first guy in stands right in front of the toilet, does his business just as he should…but then dribbles just a bit. Next guy in sees the wet spot and stands back just enough to avoid it, and of course he also finishes with a drop or two on the floor. Guy three enters, stands even further away…..and so on. Yes, there can be a wet spot clear to the door in just a little while. Forget being barefoot or in socks; I want to spray my SHOES with Lysol after every trip to a public bathroom.

    • Everywhereist

      I’m officially never peeing anywhere but the sanctity of my home bathroom ever again.

  • Rob

    I must admit to being a #12. Haven’t always been – and I remember thinking, “Wow…if that guy/gal can sleep on the plane, they must have had a great time last night!” I actually looked forward to the point in my career where I would be partying with vendors LATE into the wee hours (at their expense, of course), screeching into the car return and doing the OJ Simpson run to the gate just in the nick of time, collapsing exhausted into my seat for a nice nap home.

    Of course, I now realize that the late hours are spent in the hotel room updating presentations, filing expenses and tending to other tedious details (like arranging the next flight). But YOU don’t know that! So, when you see me – head rolled back, mouth agape and just a tiny bit of dribble at the corner of my lip – please assume that I had one kick-ass night…as opposed to a night that kicked mine.

    • trvlgirl99

      This is a very delayed response but I had to reply to your post becuase I totally get it! I travel 50% – 60% of the time and get some of my best sleep (sadly) on airplanes, and it’s not because of the exciting nights out that I have, it’s the work I’m doing in my hotel room late the night before! I’m usually asleep between boarding and take off, and wake up somewhere between landing announcements and touch down, and it’s rare that I wake up during that time. I often have flight attendents comment on how deeply I slept as i’m walking off and I just smile and thank them for a nice flight.

      As for crying babies, I have to admit to be a glarer if there are crying babies on the rare flights that I can’t sleep. I understand all the comments about babies being scared, tired, ears hurt, etc. and try to be a little understanding but the fact is, if your child can’t fly without disrupting the entire flight, don’t take them on the plane. There are some children that do well flying, and there are some that just aren’t meant to travel outside of the privacy of a car with only their parents company, if that is the case please recognize that and spare the rest of us (and your child) the torture of taking them on a plane.

  • I once saw a guy remove the gauzy white pillow case from the airline pillow, pull it tightly over his head (including his face/nose/mouth) and promptly fall asleep sitting upright. That one still amuses…and baffles me.

    • Everywhereist

      This made me laugh audibly. In my mind, he didn’t take it off, even after he woke up. He simply yawned, stretched, and got off the plane wearing it. Then continued on with his life, having gauze-headed babies with his normal-headed wife. AMAZING.

      • okay before there was the snuggie/cozy napper, there was me sitting on a plane with a jacket wrapped around my whole face. I’m guessing gauze guy didn’t want anyone to watch him sleep and maybe it made him feel like he wasn’t really on a plane?? Or maybe he is just a freak?

      • Oh my that is the funniest thing I can think of as far as weird travel. However, I’m starting to get creepy images of a KKK clan master with a white gauze head.

  • Hahaha this is hilarious. I follow the leggings are okay as long as the top is longer than your butt when bending. If you can see any ass crack while bending, then your shirt /dress is too short!

    I am the person that brings nothing on the plane (well, I used to be, before I brought three kids on the plane, which is a million times worse than nothing) and the person that sleeps on a plane (again before the kids). Planes are like school buses for me, the white noise of the engine puts me to sleep.

    I just found your blog and love it! I too am in Seattle and have traveled quite a bit. I am wondering if you’ve ever addressed the “exiting farters”. My Aunts a flight attendant and she assures me that this isn’t my imagination, that everyone really does start farting as soon as the wheels have touched ground. Pay attention next time to the stench, lol.

    • * follow the rule is what I meant to say 🙂

    • Everywhereist

      I have noticed this, but I always figured it was because they shut off the circulating air once the plane landed.

  • I hate to fly, so I’m the person who brings 3 books, 10 magazines, her iPod, etc., (even on a 2 hour flight) and alwaysalwaysalways gets a window seat so I can distract myself in peace. Normally, my fellow aislemates get the hint and don’t try to engage me in any sort of conversation, but on more than one occasion I’ve actually had the passenger in the middle seat either attempt to read over my shoulder, make comments about what I am reading, OR, the worst, I fell asleep once, and woke to that person reading one of the magazines I had purchased and brought on the plane, and hadn’t even asked! When I woke up, I thought maybe it was just a coincidence that we both had the same magazine (it isn’t like InStyle is obscure), but when she realized I was awake, she sheepishly reached over and placed it back in my seatback pocket. I was so surprised I didn’t even know how to respond.

  • As someone who avoids the bathroom on the plane at all costs (no overseas flights yet and not in a hurry to do one for this reason) I never understand the people who board the plane and immediately go to the bathroom. What was wrong with the bathroom in the terminal? I personally hate the rush to be the person who gets to stand in the aisle waiting to off just so I can make faces at my fellow travelers when it “takes FORever!”. Once the flight attendants asked everyone to stay seated after landing as “emergency workers” would be boarding to attend to a passenger. Didn’t matter…the plane got to the gate and before the seatbelt sign was off all of the aisle folks were up and grabbing their overhead luggage . It took several minutes and several flight attendants to clear a path for the PARAMEDICS.

  • Christine

    Babies cry. That’s their only means of expressing themselves. People need to understand that and deal with it. I can’t imagine very many parents just ignore a crying infant and don’t even try to help. Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do.
    Young children running up and down the aisles, jumping or kicking the seats, yelling or coughing/sneezing all over everyone, on the other hand are *not* ok. That’s something parents can control (certainly not easily but that’s parenting for you) and it’s never ok. If you let your kids torment everyone else on the plane just so it’s an easier trip for you, you suck and deserve all the glares you get.

  • JEN

    My folks used to give us all benedryl before the flight (3 kids in 1 year not triplets) so my body is just accustomed to falling asleep as soon as my butt hits the seat. I hate the people who are so good and soo important that when people are told to turn off their electronics they know that is not meant for them. Gotta get that FB posting just before take off I suppose.

  • Oh my goodness, so true, every word of it. Having been on entirely too many flights in the last two months, I completely agree. A guy on my last flight went to the bathroom in socks SEVERAL times and I could not handle it. Can you imagine what was soaked into those? Ew. Ew. Ew.

  • No 12 is the most baffling for me.

    I was on a flight out to NYC direct and this guy next to me fell asleep literally seconds after sitting down. He slept through take off, most of the flight and landing, only waking up for food time.

    While i am normally not a jealous person, i was in awe of this guys ability to make a boring flight evaporate into nothingness.

    Need more sleeping tablets next time.. 🙂


  • hahaha, I can relate to soooo much of what you wrote here! I love traveling and I love flying, but oh my lord if there is a place to find new pet peeves it’s on board a plane 😉

  • I don not understand people who STAND IN THE AISLES, looking around aimlessly, while the rest of the passengers pile up behind them. These people seem to be oblivious to the fact that others are behind them and that they alone are holding up the entire show. Then, when you ask them to step aside, they act truly SHOCKED and/or ANGRY!!! Like, why in the world are we in such a hurry?? (Well, I dunno, Lady. You’re the one who got on the plane BEFORE ME!)

    Frankly, I would love to be able to carry a cattle prod with me to get these people to move their butts. I mean, how hard is it to step into your seating area for a moment to figure out where you’re going to stash things. Let people behind you move into their areas. And, believe it or not, some people actually have a plan in their head BEFORE THEY BOARD as to where they are likely to put their things.

    Thank you for listening! 😉

  • OK, here’s one that’s plain old brilliant in its simplicity but you’ve got to have a “I don’t give a rat’s ass, for any of ’em,” mentality. I once got on a plane and across the aisle, wedged into his seat was this Goliath of a man. He was totally unkempt with food-encrusted beard, stains all over clothes, rumpled everything, His nose ran and he merely brought his long-finger-nailed hand to his nose, wiped it on his shirt…jacket..whatever. I watched as passsengers tried to abide him and then went to steward to rearrange another seat….ever so subtly.

    What was the outcome? On this 7 hour flight, the big guy got to stretch out and sleep, unencumbered, because he had the brass to pull it off. I never forgot this passenger…

  • Ooh, ooh! I know I’m like 100 years late on this, but I can explain #8!

    Checking your luggage at the gate is how you avoid stupid baggage fees. That 20 minutes of dragging your crap around the not being able to pack more than .05 oz. of liquid = $20 in your pocket.

  • Laura

    Love your blogs and this one in particular. I will add my pet peeve. I’m 5′ 10″ and most of it legs. When I sit on a plane in coach, my knees almost touch the back of the seat in front of me. So virtually any reclining will jam my femur in the direction of the seats behind me. I always politely explain the situation to the reclinee, but if they disregard my warning, I will happily take the upset tyke from the bulkhead row, put him in my lap and let him kick the snot out of the seat in front of me, while looking only vaguely apologetic.

  • Oooo! Oooo! I have one! How about the drunk woman who insisted, mid-way through the landing sequence after the flight attendants were already strapped into their little jump seats, that she had to go to the bathroom. She climbed over her seatmates (literally) and headed into the loo. The flight attendants jumped up and were shouting at her through the door: “You have to sit down now! We’ll open the door if you don’t come out now!” and finally she emerged, clearly satisfied, climbed back over the folks in her row and said loudly: “That’s better!” Before 9-11, of course. Also the time I flew from Fiji to New Zealand, back when I was a sixteen year-old exchange student on holiday with my host-family. In the seat next to me: two poor Fijian women taking their babies to New Zealand for heart operations through a charity organization. Tiny, emaciated, sickly babies, both of them, with obviously loving, attentive mothers. Sitting across the aisle from us is a very wealthy, beautifully-dressed mother and father of a healthy, active baby of about the same age. These parents are paying zero attention to their baby, who they’ve parked in the fold-down bassinet. He cries, they ignore him. He coos, they ignore him. At some point the mother, who is dressed in immaculate white linen, orders a glass of red wine. Fijian women and I watch in delight as her son proceeds to head-butt the glass in her hand so that the wine spills all over that lovely white dress and his adorable miniature tennis whites. Ah, karma. I have never forgotten the look on her face.

  • Andy

    What? I’m supposed to understand that not even parents can control their babies all the time BUT no one understands if I glare at them? Lol

  • CatCatAttack

    Only saw one answer to this one, but I take nothing on the plane because I get airsick if I read or even watch a seatback movie-screen, and if I turn my ipod up loud enough to hear, it’s at the level where it’s bad for your hearing.
    So zone out it is.

  • Mpls Carrie

    My most suprising moment as a traveler happened when I was seated (in coach) next to a pregnant young lady returning from her Las Vegas wedding. She was very dainty and very pregnant. After exchanging a few polite words with her, she did not speak or move until the passenger in front of her reclined his seat back a bit. Suddenly, she starts kicking the back of his seat with her legs and speaking loudly about how no one should be allowed to move their seats back. I just hid behind my magazine.
    Wonder how she handles having a toddler?

  • I love this post. As the mom of an occasionally screaming-on-a-plane baby, I especially appreciate #5. And #2 made me gag a little. Who goes into *any* bathroom barefoot? It’s like people suspend logic when the plane takes off.

  • JayCeezy

    Great blog, great post. Here’s one new to me. Weird thing happened to me last week, if you have any thoughts on this please share. I’m on a plane flight from ONT to SMF, 90 minutes. I’m in the back row on Southwest, completely full flight. This big young white bohemian looking dude is in the row in front of me. He starts off, to no one in particular, “man, I love this country!” He then proceeds to engage his seatmate (a 70 year-old white woman) about how he “opted out” of the body scan and made TSA do a pat-down, because of the “radiation”. He was talking WAY louder than necessary, and it was basically a monologue about how the “scanners” were waiting in a warehouse until the underwear bomber incident on Christmas Eve allowed “them” to roll out the “scanners” and not coincidentally put millions of dollars into Obama’s crony’s pockets. He then caught the eyes of all those around him, who couldn’t help but stare, and said “you a listener? I love listeners!” And he was off to the races, a top-volume lecture about the Constitution and why we should all rise up and throw out our government leaders. (No mention of what/who would replace it)

    He went on about wacky conspiracies, (The Amero a hoax currency based on the fear that Mexico, US and Canada will pull a Euro), the 16th Amendment (income tax is illegal!), illegal wars (Obama is as bad as Bush!), oil companies conspiring, MF Global and Jon Corzine’s conspiracy, the Fed is illegal, and artificially keeping down the cost of living (so?), the IMF and the UN and so forth. He asked several of us, including me, if we were air marshals. He loudly bragged about having “never paid tax, and never will”.

    This guy was so overbearing, it seemed like he was intentionally trying to antagonize his fellow passengers. A guy across the aisle asked him to “keep the volume down” and he immediately and hostily responsed “you have earphones, don’t you?” He then accused the guy of being a “total CIA operative”, and challenged the flight attendant about his seatbelt needing to be buckled. He also told everybody that he bought a last-minute one-way ticket.(!)

    That poor woman next to him, it must have been awful.

    Anyway, something about him didn’t ring true. He will definitely be remembered, and this kind of behavior is not something that was a first-time thing for somebody like him. He had his talking points, agenda, and was already confronting people (like me) who didn’t even know it until long after the flight was over. There was also a guy, who sat a few seats and a row away from him, who provided an attentive audience, and then waited for him at the end of the flight. Not positive, but wonder if they were together in this type of ‘street theater’. Some kind of provocateur? Weird. Hope this doens’t happen to others, but I got the idea this was just the start.

  • I’d like to know how I can take my sleepy naps at takeoff/landing when the air supply goes down a titch, and extend those periods throughout a flight … extend the sleep, that is. I like my average air supply nice and plentiful throughout the duration of the flight.

  • Jo

    Sometimes small children (or infants) cry on planes because of the changing in air pressure. It’s not possible to teach an infant to chew gum or “pop” his or her ears, and if you’ve ever flown with an ear infection, you know how painful the pressure changes can be. So give the kid and his or her parents a break!
    I agree that children should not run amok on a plane, just as they shouldn’t run amok in any other public place. But despite a parent’s best preparation, babies cry, especially in an unfamiliar situation. Just because someone else’s child inconveniences you (and your flight), don’t take it so personally. Exercise a little compassion.

  • Gaby

    On a flight from NY to Las Vegas the woman seated next to me had some sort of fear of heights/airplanes/flying/whatever, and from the moment we took off she started sighing and making weird noises alternating them with ohmygods… Thank you iPod.

  • Chris

    95% of the other passengers get up as soon as the aircraft gets below 20mph on the tarmac, in order to be up in the centre aisle before the 5% who are waiting for it to get below 10mph. I’ve had the guy in the window seat tell me to shift so he can get up and join the crammed queue in the aisle. Me, I wait. I stay there, seat-belt fastened, head resting on seat top, and I wait. Once the men in suits have managed to stop the giant aluminium tube somewhere near but not actually in the building and the cattle have shuffled through the milkshed door, I get up, get my bag and stroll out. I usually pass most of them on the way to passport control, and then we all have to wait at baggage reclaim anyway.

    There was a woman once who stood right at the edge of the baggage conveyor and loudly announced that there was no point in her being there because she could never spot the bags in time to get them anyway. Lady, I could get two of me into that space. Let two people my size use that space, spot their bags and go, and then once the belt’s mostly empty take whatever bags are left that look like yours. Standing there watching your bag go past five times isn’t helping us or you.

    • Andy

      Funny… if it wasn’t so true!

  • My favorite “leggings” (SOOO not opaque enough to be called that): security line at SFO, poor young thing showed her thong off to the entire mob of people waiting to be screened all FIVE times she bent over to get prepared for the scanner … taking her shoes off, standing up, unzipping her bag, standing up, getting her laptop out, standing up, getting her liquids out, standing up, getting her bag zipped back up … horror.

    • Andy

      I bet she was wearing Uggs… Leggings usually = Uggs. Just how comfortable do you need to be?

  • Peter

    Better late than never, *thanks Geraldine* for this post and the whole blogging thing you’re doing. You’re hilarious. The last three years I’ve had to fly about 500k miles and one caption really made me laugh: “You get fancy soup and a cheese plate, but your spouse is probably gonna leave you.”

    Yup. Flying less and don’t miss it one bit. Although I find it odd now that my spouse keeps asking me when I’m going to go somewhere. Hmmm. 😉

    Congrats on the Foundry deal! You’re in great company.

  • Arman

    You, no doubt, have seen some equally weird stuff while traveling, right? Please don’t hesitate to share your stories in the comments section below…. So here I go with a short tale about one strange co-passenger.

    This guy may be your number 1 type – having nothing to do with his time. So he decided to request the air-hostage to permit him to smoke a cigarette – just one. He did that shortly after the meal.

    Obviously the air-hostage didn’t agree to this proposal. The rest of the flight the guy kept on requesting and cajoling her on the same issue. He was holding a lighter and a cigarette all the time.

    Thanks God, it was a short flight!

  • Carehta

    What about the safety neurotic freaks who stare at you and carefully follow your movements when you walk thru the aisle or dig your stuff in the overhead bin? They look like terrified in anticipation. The other day one popped-eye woman was holding the breath and got only relieved after she saw that what I had in my hands was a tooth brush.

  • Having travelled quite a bit myself, the socks to the lavatory has always baffled me… more like grossed me out!

    Nice observations….

  • Daryl

    I must admit I am one of those people who undoes my seat belt…. It simply cuts into my overlarge belly and……. I am fully aware that we are travelling at several hundred miles an hour at 30,000 feet, extremely aware and that is why the pathetically thin strip of webbing we call a safety belt seems so unnecessary…….. 🙂

  • brigitte grisanti

    I love when you are eating and the person next to you watches you eat.Plus they ask you,is that good?? Or you are watching a movie and they tell you how it ends.

    Brigitte Grisanti

  • I travel quite often, and absolutely agree with all of these about passengers, especially those that stare disapprovingly at the parents of crying babies! (While I agree with all your other complaints, I have mastered the sleeping-while-flying skill. The trick? Wear yourself to the bone and be very sleep deprived before your flight. The fact that you even can sit down for a little will have you sleeping like a baby in no time!)

    This post also reminded me of passengers in the airport. It never fails to amaze me how people don’t use those moving sidewalks the way they’re supposed to, despite the fact that it’s clearly marked “Walk” on the left and “Stand” on the right. Or that everyone rushes to board the plane as soon as the gate agent picks up the microphone, despite the fact that we all have clearly marked boarding zones on our boarding passes. Oh, and the fact that we’re all about to go sit on the same plane for several hours. I can’t think of anything I’d rather push people to do! =P

    Have you seen Brian Regan’s skit on passengers at airports? If you haven’t, you must check it out – it’s hilarious! =)

  • Daniel W.

    I’ve only flown three times so far (Louisville to NYC, Atlanta to Santiago, Atlanta to Chicago to Beijing and then return by Shanghai), but I’ve seen several of what this post points out. What gets me the most is the people who get upset over crying babies. Yeah, sometimes they want to be fed or they have a dirty diaper. This can be easily resolved. But other times it’s the pressure change, or they have colic, or some other thing that will keep them crying for hours on end. And people don’t just get mad about it on planes. I’ve seen pics of notes left on apartment doors telling new moms that “other people live in this building, too, and don’t need to hear that mistake of yours crying its head off all the time.” Pisses me off. It’s like they think the world was made just for them and God help the entity that dares infringe upon their self-imposed attempt at utopia, intentionally or no.

    As for sleep on the flight, I remember dozing off a bit on the way to Santiago, but only for an hour or two. On my flight to China, I deliberately stayed awake the entire 13 hour flight because I knew it would be night there when we landed, and I wanted to be able to sleep when my group got to the hotel. It took a lot of the stress off the jet lag as well, and I was over most of the lag in four days while some of my friends were still subject to it somewhat. I probably spent a third of the flight pacing the aisle, chilling in the back, and looking out the window in order to stay awake and keep the blood flowing (and I was able to get some great pics of the polar ice cap from above when I was up as well!). I’ll be flying to China again in late August, this time for ten months, and I plan to pull an all-nighter American time so I can sleep till almost time to land when it’s dark in China. I just hope I get a seat near the aisle so I can get up when I need to. 😉

  • My job takes me flying 2-3 times a month and reading your blog makes me laugh.
    Realizing that I am actually one of them – The IPad guy…

    Thanks for noticing me.

  • Bhahahah!! I found myself DYING at every single “flyer” you mentioned. I have seen almost every one of them! Ohhh the things we have to find that amuse us when we travel so much! Great post! Thanks for the humor!

  • please please please teach me how to sleep on a plane too! It’s the only reason why I glare at the guys in first class…aaaa those (many) extra inches. And they have cleaner lavatories too, btw.

  • Rob

    Hi- I just discovered this site via someone else’s Twitter stream on June 12 2012 so I’m late to the party. Too much talk about babies. They cry and it’s annoying. What can you do? People gotta get places. What is TERRIBLE is the dude that gets on the flight with wicked body odor. I was flying from IAD to SFO once and I could smell the guy before I could see him. His body odor was an entity. He luckily went to a different part of the plane so I couldn’t smell him. Also, in terms of WTF. Why do people get on planes with shopping bags?? What? Or the guy that brings his f-ing Cello on board or a surf board onto a tiny jet. Another WTF is the way people handle the overhead bins. I want to kill most people in this regard. Jamming your suitcase into a small space repeatedly while crushing everyone else’s stuff is a great strategy. I can sleep on planes. It just happens. Don’t hate me.

  • Elizabeth

    My 8 year old son and I had the best time on our latest flight staring at the woman across the aisle from us. She was dozing and doing the “head-bob” whenever she actually fell asleep. She would then jerk herself awake, adjust her seat, and repeat the entire process. It wasn’t even an overnight flight, it was the middle of the day! We were both snickering so bad we could hardly contain ourselves.

  • Alexa Rae

    On my most recent flight… (Denver to Ontario) an older woman asked the flight staff for pickle juice when they were going down the aisle offering beverages. PICKLE JUICE. What?!

  • Hannah Rush

    I absolutely adore all your posts – and I have only found them recently, as in, yesterday- but have found plenty of time to read away! 🙂

    My friend sent me the 50 Shades post after a nice rant I had on my own blog about the horrendous novels – which I did finish, because well, I hate to leave things unfinished (except cleaning, and writing, and laundry, etc) and I found your blog about it to be in a word, hilarious!

    I have encountered these types on many a plane trip as well, and I must say that the best ones always happen on International flights. Coming home from Paris a few years ago I had a very nice Indian gentleman try to convince me that I should come back with him to Florida and meet his son, and was welcome to stay with his wife and himself until we (his son and I) decided to get married. This was a very long 14 hour conversation, and I loved the man for it, his wife Guitara, was utterly confused because her husband kept forgetting to translate what he was saying to me, back to her.

    It was a lovely, if not terribly bizarre flight 🙂

  • You are so witty 🙂 thank you for sharing!

  • Mike

    I too bring my bag to the gate then voluntarily check it but I also work for one of the majors, airlines that is. So when we fly it’s almost always standby and believe it or not I have learned the hard way sometimes my bag will go without me being on the plane. So I now lug it to the gate and if space is tight offer to check it once I know I’ll make the flight.

    What drives me most insane are the people who board, arrive at their seat, then decide to rummage through their bag looking for their book, iProduct, or whatever else they’ve decided now, at this moment, they will need during the flight. No you didn’t have an hour of waiting in the terminal to be prepared, no that is not a line of 100+ others waiting on you so they can take their seats.

    A close second: people who stow their bags sideways! Bin hogs, that get pissy when you dare turn their bag properly so you can stow yours. Actually this may be what drives me most insane since I’ve had words with a few bin hogs.

    The unprepared are usually only worthy of a loud sigh and an “are you kidding me?” look. Ahhh the friendly skies.

  • Kitty

    Smelly backpackers, those who haven’t showered or washed their clothes in about a week. That really bugs me! If you’re lucky your brain won’t registrr the smell after an hour or so,but you have to be truly lucky.
    Constantly crying kids do alter my blood pressure. I don’t glare at them unless the parents make it clear that they’re doing something for the kid to stop crying but that’s not always the case. An adult can’t control what annoys him or her, just as a child can’t control what’s scary or boring. For as long as the adult doesn’t make a fuss for it, the parents will have to accept somebody is going to be annoyed and glare sooner or later. I bet many of us would like the seating arrangements to be modified so that there is a kids section and you get to choose to stay away from kids to minimize uncomfortable situations, but unfortunately that’s not possible.

    Still, crying will only make your ears pierce, but the worst thing is when the kid near you decides to poo and the parent won’t change the nappy. Maybe the parent is expecting the air steward to change the nappies. Thankfully, it’s a very rare situation and sooner or later you’ll be joined by others in your quest to convince the parent to change the kid. If you’re lucky, that’ll happen before you have your food served, and the smell will go away in time before it contaminates your food by cross-contamination.

    And there’s something just as bad. When the kid behind you decides it’s fun to kick your seat. That happened to me with a french kid on a Paris-Seville flight. A complete nightmare, I told the kid and the parent to please stop in Spanish, French and English. But the parent just stared at me and didn’t do anything to make the boy stop. Really, some people can be nasty and unconsiderate! Nope, all french people are good parents.

  • Tara

    In defense of the passenger that volunteers to check their bag at the gate: I am guilty as charged. I recently flew with an airline that charges for all checked bags, and I had a 3 hour layover each way. I was more than happy to let them check my luggage free-of-charge at the gate if it meant that I didn’t have to haul my bags around the airport for 3 hours. Normally, I would agree with you, but I refuse to pay a checked bag fee if I can absolutely avoid it, partly out of frugality, and partly out of protest.

    • Tara

      Also, I prefer to be that person that checks their bag at the gate as opposed to being that person who is searching for precious luggage space and ends up with their bags far away from their seat, who then becomes especially disruptive when the plane is unloading.

  • Just found your blog and it’s fab – thanks for putting your thoughts out there.

    I’m a trailing spouse (we’ve lived in Australia, Bangkok, Detroit and now southern Germany) and I spend a LOT of time on planes.

    One of the main things I don’t understand on planes are people who travel long haul (12+ hours) in economy with their full sized bed pillow. I see it all the time and they usually discover that the pillow is bigger than their seat the moment they get on, and the pillow goes in the overhead. Sigh.

  • Lol! I travel a lot myself and I’ve encountered many of the stories you highlighted. I”ve also seen people who down cup after cup of beer/wine just because it’s free.

  • Leggings as pants thing – I will tell you clearly, I started this trend, years and years and years ago (I am now 46 and it was when in college in San Francisco, that’d be, hmmmmmmmmmm, over 26 years ago…) – no I am not kidding. And it wasn’t due to fashion, but that I simply didn’t have the cash to buy the matching skirt. No, not kidding. They were thick, I was a little skinny and was going to go back for the cute sweatery-ish skirt that went over the sweater-on-legs looking tights but couldn’t afford it. So when that x-mas came and returned home to Seattle – from there tooooo – and invited out for a night of dancing had nothing else to where and so – poof – there you have it, leggings aka leg sweater with big over-sized shirt (had some sense of decency and fashion mind you) fashion was born.

    No, I don’t expect gratitude or cheers, but I’m telling it like it is, er, was. 🙂

  • P.S. this is the first time I’ve stopped by even though – of course – I’ve heard of you as have been moving around quite a bit with a child in tow and months behind on my own blog, discipline dictates I do little hangin out on others, but hopefully that will change soon.

    Just listened to your video interview with Travel Blogger Academy and it was great, loved it plus what a story – fun hearing how your blog came to be and evolved, plus many great tips for newer blogging folks. Glad to hear you do not have a brain tumor, that post was a little depressing! Hope to have more time to stop by more, lots of fun stuff going on here and can’t wait to see your version of the often written ‘travel guide’ fare.

    Best, Molly

  • Geepster

    I had a short commuter flight of 45 minutes where my seatmate on our Otter (200?) decided, after I informed him that I was at the time a student at the catholic college across the street from the airport we had just departed, that I needed to be saved and reborn in order to join him in God’s kingdom. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t as polite as I am. I spent the last 20 minutes just staring out of the window.

  • Pam

    I once saw a woman at the airport wearing a bathrobe, slippers and bright red satin eye shades perched on her head. No shit. Sad I missed her passing through security.

  • The reason you should never use the airline restroom I your bare feet.
    My son Kyle is a reluctant flier. He would rather not fly however it is the fastest way to get from where he is to where the party is. So he flies.
    Recently on one such journey from stateside to Europe, the plane had just taken off when his butt informed him that it was now “weaponized” and that there would be, without further notice an explosion following.
    Kyle, is not unlike most people in that he would rather pretend that he never has normal bodily functions of this nature. Having a bowel movement is a private thing. The idea of standing up in the front of the plane and making his way back through the isles was embarrassing enough and should be avoided at all costs. But, this was the beginning of a fourteen hour flight. His options were not good. He could just let it go, sit a couple inches taller and try to act like the smell was not coming from him, or he could take the walk of shame to the back restroom and just deal with it.
    His lower abdomen was starting to go into rhythmic contractions as if to add even more urgency to his plight.
    So despite his strong desire to only use the toilet in a private setting, he was up and on his way. It was really for the best, for the safety of the other passengers it was best that he forgo his inhibitions and just get it over with as quickly as possible.
    Before he knew it he was seated in restroom. As anyone that has travelled by commercial air can attest, the restroom on board is made as a necessity only area. No one pays for a seat in the restroom, it is merely for emergencies only. After all it is only a fourteen hour flight, most people can hold it that long.
    However, this was an emergency. As much as he did not want to be here, Kyle was in the area designated for such a need. He began to let go. Just then the flight encountered turbulence.
    Having flown several times, this was not the first turbulence Kyle had ever gone through, just the worst. Plus, timing is everything and while he was bouncing up and down off the seat, his rear was now in full ejection mode. He pulled his dress shirt up over his own head so as not to soil it with the errant particles. The turbulence continued, but his Bombay doors had received the green light and were now dumping the entire load, un-restricted regardless of seat contact.
    Once his bowels had finished, he tried desperately to return to his seat, only to have an flustered flight attendant ordered him to remain where he was.
    He meekly began to close the door but announced that he would probably require a roll of paper towels and some industrial strength disinfectant.
    Making use of his time in solitary confinement, Kyle did his best to wipe down the interior of the tiny cell.
    To his great surprise, even though he has used an entire roll of the non-absorbent “toilet paper” it did not seem to plug the tiny flushing orifice. The suction was so powerful that he speculated that it went directly out of the plane but the crew strenuously denied this.
    Satisfied that he had done the best he could with the materials at hand, once the flight had stopped bouncing around the sky, Kyle was able to return to his assigned seat. Let it suffice to say that until the plane had reached it’s destination and could be pulled off the line for a proper cleaning and service, any idiot that used the facility after he did in their bare feet, came away with more than they bargained for.

  • Mack

    While flying to Seattle with my ex, the MUCH older sir sitting next to me began speaking with the two of us. We just kind of smiled and shook our heads politely at what he was saying, and then he asked us if we wanted to join him at a swingers party when we landed. I don’t think my ex had ever laughed so hard before in her life, and the look on the man’s face is forever locked in my mind. The way his hope of scoring two young, good looking (by our accounts) twenty-somethings faded into sheer horror at her reaction was awesome.

  • J-Burd

    Look, I realise I’m late to the party, but just have to add my two cents here.
    1) On every flight I’ve ever taken, there has always been someone who can’t find their seat. Who are these people?? It’s a number and a letter, not a complex algorithm you need to decode. If you can’t find your seat, the truth is you shouldn’t be allowed to walk around in public without someone to help you get through the day. In fact, if you can’t find your seat you shouldn’t be allowed on an aeroplane.

    2) Why do people, as soon as the seatbelt sign goes off, feel the need to open the overhead lockers and unpack their entire bag?

  • I used to be one of those people who went to the bathroom while barefoot! haha I laugh at the thought of it until last year I flew to Peru with my friend she flat out stated in absolute disgust, so loud for the whole plane to hear, that “dried shit is all over that floor!”
    Thank God that we’re nurses and so I 10+ alcohol wipes magically emerged out of our pockets and wiped my germ-infested feet away. Needless to say, I now bring a couple of those disposable socks from the hospital every time I fly somewhere. I can’t help it, I still love the feeling of walking barefoot in airplanes!

    • Everywhereist

      Those little socks from the hospital are amazing. I love the grippy bottoms.

  • Erin

    I have encountered most of the infuriating airplane passengers listed here. Another one that gets me every time is the person in front of me in security who somehow hasn’t heard yet that liquids aren’t allowed on the plane. They then proceed to remove shampoo, toothpaste, bottled water, hairspray, perfume, and a multitude of other liquids from their carry-on, while arguing with security. Where have you been living for the last 5+ years that you haven’t heard of this rule yet? Also, are they completely oblivious to the 35 signs about the liquid regulations leading into the security area?

    Another pet peeve is the family with the 10 year old kid who tries to do the pre-boarding for people with young children. Seriously? Or when they call the last 20 rows to board and every person in the waiting area gets up and tries to board. The plane is not leaving any sooner because you got on the plane first. The worst thing is that I rarely see the attendants turn these rule-breakers away. They let them go ahead and board, letting them think they can always get away with it.

    I could go on and on for hours about frustrating travelers. Oh, and worse than fast food on a plane is the person who whips out the homemade egg salad or tuna salad sandwich. You really couldn’t have done ham and cheese?

  • Katamal

    Sorry if this has already been said (I only found your fabulous blog yesterday and am trying to read it all quickly while at work – don’t tell the boss – so am skimming some of it to come back to).

    Anyway … how about computer game players who refuse to TURN THE SOUND OFF! Why do they need the sound? It’s not like they can really hear anything above the aeroplane noise (I’m English, hence the spelling!!). All you can hear is a monotonous drone or swish – but it’s REALLY IRRITATING. At least babies produce a natural human sound (I always want to go up and give the babies/kids a cuddle but suspect that might be frowned upon!).

    Phew – sorry about the ramble!

    Brilliant brilliant blog – hope your parting from Steve recovery is going well.

  • This isn’t to do with the flight itself but on my last trip I was approached at check in by an elderly couple asking me to take their “holiday souvenirs” in my luggage for them, as my luggage looked so light. I saw them asking another passenger, too. I DIDN’T KNOW PEOPLE ACTUALLY DID THAT. Who would be stupid enough to say yes?! Why do these people take so much stuff back with them if they know they will be charged for the extra and obviously don’t want to pay it?? And then to have the NERVE to ask a total stranger to take it for them!! As if!!! Ughh it makes me angry just thinking about it.

  • Am

    I really can’t believe people actually use airplane toilets barefoot! I’ve never seen anyone do that! It’s so absolutely gross I can’t even bear to think of it! Though, here in Singapore, I’ve seen many women put their bags/handbags on the FLOOR of the toilet cubicle!!! (Not airplane toilet tho’.)

  • How about the creepy I-like-to-sleep-on-your-shoulder guy? You know the one, the guy who falls asleep normally but then his head drifts over onto your side and finds a new home on your shoulder…do you wake him up to let him know your shoulder is not fair game or do you just let him sleep? This has happened to me twice. And one of them drooled!

  • Laura

    I once had parents with a child- the mother changed the diaper of the kid right after the departure. Not too bad, but the used diaper was lying on the floor over the aisle for the rest of the flight. And I am not even talking about the smell…

  • Ana

    My favorite one is the fashionista one.
    Let me tell you, on a flight to the Amazon Rainforest, to the city of Leticia, Colombia, our group was the only one dressed like we were headed to the jungle (that is sneakers, comfy pants, and a t-shirt along with a very necessary rain jacket), everyone else was dressed like they were heading to a nightclub in Miami….
    Women in high heels are the worse, don’t they understand that in case of an emergency their precious heels and feet run the risk of twisting?
    Don’t get it really…
    Another WTF: people that speak nonstop throughout a 10-hour+ flight for example, loud enough so that people three aisles down can listen to their entire irrelevant conversation instead of trying to sleep a bit or concentrate on watching a movie or silently reading….

  • Montecristo Travels

    wow – we travel with dog and I am almost afraid of some of the people here … when I read the comments with regards to children. Public transport is … well public. Last time I checked that means you can’t control who will be on the plane with you. Kids, farters, heavy body odor dude (Oh the joy …) and his nemesis heavy perfume lady. Having said that – I have endured … yes the word is specifically chosen – a child crying for 12 hours straight on a non-stop (HOW is THAT even possible – see that is on my I don’t understand list) flight to Hawaii. I am afraid that after the 4th hour I was ready, willing and able to murder … my tiny dog, in his carrier, silent as a lamb just made me want to kiss him all over for being so easy to deal with. LOL! Sleeping on planes – IF you get that secret PLEASE SAHRE!! – Sonja

    • Montecristo Travels

      sorry .. SHARE.

  • Rick

    I’m with William Langewiesche, author of “Inside the Sky: A Meditation on Flight” on the whole looking-out-the-window thing. There’s amazing beauty there.

    In fact, I get really annoyed with the flight attendant who wants me to shutter my window. No, thank you. I’m actually looking outside and would rather not deal with the flickering advertisements or re-runs of “Two and a Half Losers.”

    Then again, I’m a commercially-rated pilot, former flight instructor and all around aviation nerd, so perhaps I’m a bit biased. 🙂

    As to crying babies, I would refer you to The Oatmeal who offers the most elegant design for an airliner:

  • Jennifer

    I recently sat beside a fifty(ish)-year-old errr… “gentleman” who read a hustler magazine for a full three hours from Denver to Birmingham.

  • This post was hi-larious! And the most funny part of it is that the guy sleeping on the plane looks like someone I work with. O-M-G.

  • Mickey

    As a flight attendant, the reason that your flight attendant got snippy about giving you an extra meal is that they only stock one meal per person so there’s always the chance that if you get two meals someone else doesn’t get to eat. Most of the time someone just wants to sleep and doesn’t want to eat so there are extras but we still won’t know how many until after we’re through giving out all of the meals–THIS is the time to ask for a second meal 🙂

  • Julia

    Loved it! I, too, have been next to each of these passengers. My favorite: A flight from CHI to RDU (having just gotten off a flight from Paris and having a 3 hour flight delay) the female CEO next to me spent 20 minutes lecturing the flight attendant that further delays were “unacceptable” and “had the airline planned better, this would not have happened.”

    All I can say: Thank God for the Ativan that was still circulating through my system from the previous flight.

  • I. LOVE. THIS. POST. You, madame, are too funny!

  • Mr French makes chicken feed, and I think living in a large industrial chicken factory where you probably hatched on a moving conveyor belt and call a teeny space with alot of smelly chickens ‘home’ could make anyone suicidal. The good news is that Foster Farmers gives their birds so much crap they grow ultra fast and don’t live more than few weeks. Down right merciful of ’em, n’est-ce pas?

  • I don’t know why, but the people who turn on their phones and are already in mid-convo when the wheels have barely hit the ground. Seriously, why is the conversation so important that they can’t wait till the plane has stopped?

  • Perfume!! In the small confines of a plane cabin, and I don’t care how big the plane is…..seriously, who squirts that stuff?

  • If you would like to sleep on planes, have children. Then you will be continually sleep deprived and able to sleep anywhere. I once fell asleep on a NYC subway. Fortunately I had people with me to keep me from being ravaged and pillaged.

  • Great list! I am guilty of #1 myself…short (1 hour) business trips where I am there and back same day….I just walk on the plane. No bags, nothing; just me!

    I’ve traveled with my own crying baby many times….I never stop trying to get him to calm down (its actually rare that he loses it on a plane). Parents trying are fine by me….its the parents that do nothing that I have an issue with.

    Anyway, great article and site!

  • Haha this list made me laugh 🙂 but I have to disagree with you on the whole babies crying not being a big deal. While it may happen all the time and in almost every public setting known to man, babies crying is still one of the most distressing and irritating noises. I mean have you ever tried to read a book, watch the in-flight movie or even think straight while a baby is crying? that is a monumental task to say the least. Anyways, killer post and keep up the good work!

  • Tanya

    I sleep on planes all the time. I can sleep thru crying kids, people next to me snoring, heck I had a flight attendent yell at me because I fell asleep during the instructions they give you at the beginning of the flight. I really don’t know how I do it, but for me sleeping on planes is pretty much the only way to pass time. Maybe it’s because I bring my own little blanket? I’ve never used the airplane ones they use to pass out, but I always have a small lap blanket with me when I fly. Maybe you need to bring a blanket next time? Or, pop a benadryl if you are on a really long flight, benadryl always makes me pass out for a few hours.

    I love the list! It had me laughing out loud at work (which is frowned upon since I work in a prison).

    PS frozen go-gurt is the bomb when you are babysitting little ones, you can show them how to eat it without being messy and it’s pretty delish!

    • Roland Jonas

      All true, except the meal issue. I usually get the Chinese buffet if available a the airport as I don’t like any kind of the typical fare of fast food junk. Although, I will definitely try to eat before I get on the airplane. But you know how it is? Sometimes, it can’t be helped. If I have to put up with crying babies and screaming kids, then you can certainly get over yourself when I decide to eat my meal in cruise flight. Airline food is not that appetizing most of the time.

  • This made my morning. Especially loved the photo of the broken fork… I have had similar experiences with long-distance bus meat lately, and those plastic knives are more than useless for sawing through it! I truly, truly have no idea why anyone would want to use an airplane bathroom without shoes. Even with shoes, I feel uneasy.

  • Marilyn

    Very funny post. I read through the whole thing to see if anyone mentioned the one thing that baffles me the most on airplanes and someone finally did. It is the people who stand up immediately upon reaching the gate. They continue to anxiously stand for at least 5, sometimes 10 minutes before they can move and get off the plane. I understand that they are ready to leave, but this is something like the person who speeds to a red light. Isn’t there a smarter use of time than racing into a traffic jam? I continue to sit and read until I can get my bag and walk off the plane without anyone in my way. When I get off I end up walking right past a lot of the standers on my way out of the airport or we end up on the same shuttle. Why be stressed??

  • This is my first visit to this site and I caught the link to the Baffling Airline Passenger story. It was absolutely hysterically funny to read ! I also learned some things that I didn’t know like for one, that you can bring fast food onto a flight with you ! While I would not want to do for fear offending passengers seated nearby for just the reason you stated. I know even the wrappers that sub sandwiches are put in can leave a horrible stench. I can’t imagine how bad that would be on an airplane !

  • Nat

    Absolutely brilliant! So true about people glaring at business class passengers. It’s a double whammy…you’ve either earnt the seat by sacrificing many hours of this precious life to long-distance travel, or you’ve paid through the nose…neither of which is fun. The economy passengers should all say thank you for subsidizing their cheap tickets!

    My two biggest pet-peeves: when people clap when we land (what were they expecting?) and people starting to form lines to exit the plane, when we have JUST TOUCHED DOWN. Morons. They should be banned or made to sit at the back of the plane with a big D for Dunce on their head.

    Incidentally, the only way I can fall asleep on the plane is to have blatant disregard of others’ opinions of me (I believe the unfortunate-looking chap whose dribbling photo you have employs the same tactic) and to be significantly sleep deprived. The sleep deprivation can be a double bonus if you land at morning-time, as you’ll already be mostly adjusted to the jet lag. If that doesn’t work, a few glasses of red wine usually does the trick.

  • enjoy reading your blog and so thought would pass some of that appreciation along by nominating you for the “sisterhood of the world bloggers award”. if you are interested, more details here:

  • Kristen

    I never thought Go-Gurt was intended for speed. I had just always assumed it was for the convenience of not using a spoon. I would totally eat Go-Gurt if they made organic greek Go-Gurt!

  • Pamela

    I can sleep on planes, but only if conditions are right. I need to be in the window seat, and the flight has to be longer than 3 hours. I usually take along an extra sweater to ball up and use as an extra pillow (the ones they offer are just not big enough), stick in headphones with some relaxing music and just let myself drift.

    The thing i’ve never understood on planes is trying to sleep on a stranger’s shoulder. I had that from both sides on a 13+ trip from Canada to S.Korea. My tickets (which I didn’t book) had me in the middle seat. Both of the girls on either side of me kept falling asleep on my shoulder. I kept pushing them away, but they kept doing it over and over again. Eventually, I stopped caring, put my head forward to touch the seat in front of me, and tried to sleep. (13 hours on a plane is torture).

  • I have never seen anyone go to the bathroom barefoot. That is not only disturbing but it is disgusting.

    What bothers me is the people who stand up on the plane and do their stretching in the middle of the aisle. If they were in an area not immediately in my vicinity I would not mind but when someone decides to bend down and reach their toes with their toosh in my face it becomes rather uncomfortable.

  • Maria

    As an airline employee, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for this post! You have no idea how many stories I could tell that would make your jaw drop.


  • Hillarious. Thanks for making me laugh.

    The one that amazes me is the person who doesn’t get up to pee the entire 8-hour flight.

  • Chloe

    have you ever seen a small toddler eat yoghurt normally… like with a spoon…
    if you have im sure you understand why the image leaves me wanting to shower or something…
    small people are extremely messy…
    and a go-gurt is basically a straw…
    it takes out the need for a messy toddler to transfer food from bowl to mouth… and therefore eliminates mess!
    TA DA!

  • Holly

    Go Gurt – Freeze it. It will change the lives of every person you know with kids.

  • Alotta

    I’ve traveled with three babies at a time … triplets, so I know from first hand experience why people would get irritated. I know kids cry, but with a little preparation it can be almost avoided.

    I started traveling with them when they were two years old. Months prior to our first trip, we started practicing getting on a plane, how to act on a plane, and getting off the plane. We went to a local discovery museum that had a plane in it, or sections of a plane. We each took turns being the flight attendant, serving peanuts, and drinks, usually water, while using their manners. You can teach a 2 year old to say yes please and no thank you. It’s work but it can be done.

    Next we went to the airport and practiced going through security …. this was before 911… then we would go to a gate and watch the planes taking off.

    The day arrived when we finally got to go on the plane. Security, no problem! Boarding the plan was equally simple. I was amazed at the nasty looks I received from people. You know the one that says “I hope they’re not sitting near me!” The three kids were in one row and I was on the isle seat next to their row. Once on the plane, they buckled their seat belts and they each opened their special “travel” backpacks that were filled with games, surprises, activities and snacks including go-gurts. Now problem with cabin air pressure as we has just learned how to chew gum and yes it was in their pack!

    The steward comes around with refreshments “What would you like to drink?” “Water please.” “Water please.””Water please.” and out come their sippy cups with lids. They ate their snacks, did their activities, no problems in our 3.5 hour flight. The plane lands, and as I trained them they sat quietly in their seats until everyone was off the plane, so we could take our time.

    Many of the people that gave us those nasty looks as we boarded, commented as they passed us, on how pleasantly surprised they were at how well behaved three little toddlers could be. It was a ton of work and preparation prior to, but worth it to have a pleasant first travel experience with out crying babies.

    • Everywhereist

      That is amazing! I can’t believe all the work you went through. Good on you!

  • Sarah

    Sleeping? Easy! Just get on the plane, pass my eyes through the airline magazine and boom: I can’t stay awake no more. I don’t care if the journey is 45 minutes long or 8 hours, 20 minutes after the plane is flying, I’m sleeping.
    (not that cool when it’s a short flight, since I’ll need to wake in 15 ou 20 minutes to get out)

  • Tracey

    I agree with the nasty feelings towards people who do NOTHING about their screaming child. My son and I are always in first class ( due to my husbands business) and I’ve taught him to be a respectable traveller (he is now 14). Dress properly, don’t kick seats, use the bathroom in the airport and treat the employees like they matter. It was less than pleasant when the woman in front if my decided to burp her baby over her shoulder and it projectile vomited on me. Oh the smell. 2 hours with that smell. No apologies or offer of a baby wipe from that ignorant parent!

  • Kristina Cline

    I have to time when I give gum to my kids to clear their ears, otherwise its swallowed 5 seconds later.

    And folks, sometimes if a kid is on the spectrum and He knows he should know how to clear his ears but keeps letting the air out of his mouth and then starts crying because He is frustrated and … it goes on. Please don’t glare at me, we are trying so very hard. I bring nothing for myself on flights with my kids, all of it is activities for them.

    Except for the time My Hubs decided a fun way to pass the time was to teach my eldest to pull on the tag of the booster seat and yell “CHOO CHOO!” Yeah, you could have glared at him for that.

  • Crystal Lai

    I don’t understand how you can NOT sleep on a flight. I have sleeping problems, but nothing gets me to sleep faster than being on a flight. The white noise, the gentle vibrations from the engines, it’s perfect. In fact I try to be productive on flights and never do I get anything done because I’m always falling asleep.

    • Akrates

      Some of us can’t sleep unless we’re completely horizontal, almost naked, and in a silent bedroom at night. Being surrounded by hundreds of strangers, sitting in an uncomfortable chair fully dressed, and hearing white noise is very distracting for the rest of us.

  • Stephanie Rose

    Great post!

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