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Seat slammers, aisle blockers and other crazy airline passengers

Interior of airplane with passengers on seats.I love the story on the Toronto Star Travel website about the flight attendant shaming passengers.
Lord knows we’ve probably all seen some pretty stupid stuff on airplanes, right? I must admit I’ve been pretty lucky. But there are a few pet peeves and a few small incidents I can recall from various trips over the years.
The most annoying flight I recall was three years ago or so, when I was next to a guy of about 40 for a four-hour flight from the Caribbean to Toronto. Most of the way back he was playing the most insipid video game (I happen to think all video games are an awful waste of time, just so you know; I mean, you could watch a nice movie or work or sleep or read a book or listen to music instead) and it drove me crazy. I don’t know what it was called but it sounded like he was missing something or screwing up an awful lot, because every 10 or 20 seconds I’d hear this loud “Waah, waah,” as if he was Tarzan or George of the Jungle swinging on a vine and had missed one and done a face plant into a tree. Then again, maybe it was a Debbie Downer video. I don’t know, but it was hugely annoying.
I cleared my throat many times and said “excuse me” a few times, but to no effect. I didn’t call the flight attendant, as I don’t like being a jerk and I don’t like giving those hard-working folks more to do than they already have. But I was SO annoyed.
I’ve had more than a few very ill-prepared parents with small children around me on planes, and that’s pretty much inexcusable. I mean, how dumb do you have to be to know that everyone around you (and you, for that matter) will be locked in living hell if you don’t bring books and crayons (okay, and video games; I can live with them if they keep a small child happy in a flying tin can at 35,000 feet) and snacks and something for kids to drink or suck on so they don’t have their ears hurting when the plane descends. That latter one constantly amazes me; parents that don’t bring something to alleviate their child’s pain.
We have three kids and took them all around the U.S. and Canada when they were young. We weren’t perfect parents and there were some rough moments when they were sick or ill-behaved. That happens. But not for hours at a time, or even more than a couple minutes. My wife was extremely smart and would bring treats to hand out on the hour and also packed tons of books and activities, so we usually managed okay.
I can recall more than a few flights when kids have been bouncing around me and slamming my seat back and making it hard for me to work. But at least those are kids, and it’s not their fault if they’re parents don’t prepare. Adults have no such excuse. Which is why I get so annoyed with the fingernail cutters and the Olympic-class seatback slammers who casually fire back their seat with enough force to propel a glass of red wine or coffee onto my shirt or my just-washed pants and the barefoot folks and the people who take FOREVER to get their bags from the overhead compartment or the people who stand up and try to rush past you when you’re moving quickly to get your own bag from the overhead compartment.
Speaking of which, whatever happened to the days when flight attendants would tell folks to remain in their seats and let people with tight connections get off the plane first so they can get home for the holidays? Didn’t we used to hear that announcement fairly regularly? I was on a flight the other day and we were delayed 45 minutes and some folks at the back were in a hurry, but nobody organized a “parting of the Red Sea” to let them get off the plane first, which baffles me.
At least we don’t get seem to get people in pajamas on the plane any more.
Anyway, that’s my Monday rant. If you have comments, drop me a line at jim@jimbyerstravel.com

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