We’re all familiar with the obvious people we want to avoid when we fly — the seat kicker, the crying baby. But there are the more subtle perpetrators who can make your time in the cabin that bit more pressurized.
Here are my top 10. What are yours?
The Elbow Nudger – For this flyer, the olecranon, radius and ulna are the foot soldiers in the quest to annex the armrest and claim it all. Instead of partaking in the customary unspoken “Mine goes behind and yours goes in front, then we’ll switch” behaviour, he wants it all for himself. The only way to fight is to wait til he goes to the loo, annex the armrest and refuse to budge.
The Leg Splayer – You can also find this variety of boor in the Tube and New York subway as well, where he (and it’s always a “he”) sits with his legs spread wide, forcing you to sit with knees clamped together, shifted awkwardly to one side. Just what could need so much air down there to necessitate the wide angle, is anyone’s guess. Or rather, a figment of his imagination.
The Coat Layer – It may look like a regular jacket from John Lewis or TM Lewin. But this worthy garment has hallowed powers and a nervous temperament. That’s the only reason It must because it has been carefully folded and laid gently across the overhead compartment
The Queue Hoverer – They’re not in rows 40 and above. They’re not a Gold card member. They’re not travelling with small children. Yet they’re loitering right at the place where everyone else should be boarding. Occasionally the QHs actually join the line in a bid to eke through. When the flight attendant sends them to the back of the line, we silently cheer.
The Socialiser – Hey! They’ve got drinks, they’ve got some friends, they’re on their way someplace exciting where they’ll be meeting up with old school buddies. You know how you know? Because they’re discussing it, in Ministry of Sound decibels while standing in the aisle with their companions. Did they notice everyone else’s darkened overhead lights and eyemasks? How could they, with this party going on?
The Eager Talker – Stranger on your left: “…Of course I never thought they’d actually got married but there they are and so I’m flying to Greece, which I’d never thought I would do, because I told you I’ve always been so scared of flying…”
Stranger on your right: “Yes, I manage the whole Southeast sales quadrant, which I can assure you is quite a challenge. I’m a gold member on all the airlines, not to mention the car rental clubs…”
You: “Another Scotch please.”
The Flight Attendant Abuser – Some people aren’t happy unless they’re screaming at someone and turning puce. Something’s gone terribly wrong and the FAA needs us all to know about while he or she treats the trained professionals with our life in their hands like something to be scraped off a shoe. I was once one row away from an FAA who refused to sit in his assigned seat because there was a child behind who might kick it. Eventually the pilot came out to inform him — in a low, calm and forceful voice known to every misbehaving child – that if he didn’t move he would be put off the plane. Uh-oh. Dad’s home and you’re in trouble now.
The Shoulder Massager – Has this only happened to me? Twice fellow passengers (older, male) have noticed me doing shoulder and neck rolls and have offered to provide a shoulder massage. The sad thing is, once they hurt so much I said yes.
The Makeup Applier – The queue for the toilet starts as a clump of people in the area just outside the door. Then it starts to stretch down the aisle. Still, a woman inside continues to primp and primp and primp.
Laissez-faire Parenter – Now that we have children ourselves we know that most parents are as upset when their babies cry on planes – sometimes moreso – because they’re aware it disturbs the other fliers. But occasionally you share a plane with some who don’t know or care that their little darlings are talking in voices that make a jetway seem quiet. They kick the seats, they run through the aisles. We get it. We’re parents ourselves. But please contain them before we hit our ejector seat.
As I can say is: It’s a good thing my family are the perfect flying companions ourselves.
Who or what bothers you most while flying? I’d love to hear.