Think about every flight you have ever been on. There are a few types of people you see, no matter what type of flight you take, how long it is, or where you are going, regardless of what airline you are flying on, and to where. The next time you fly, take a look around; you will see the following types of people. And if one is missing? Well, be careful… it might just be you.
The One with the Deathly Cold
Airplanes are germ factories, and even if you aren’t germ phobic, it can get a little overwhelming. There is always at least one person on a flight who is constantly coughing, sniffling, or clearing their throat. Sure, they may not be carrying the plague, but you don’t know that. Even if they aren’t really sick, the sounds themselves get really irritating after a while.
Solution: Although you cannot stop the people from coughing or sniffling, you can keep yourself from becoming one of them by washing your hands frequently or using hand sanitizer.
The One Who Obviously Didn’t Shower
Have you ever walked onto a plane and simply wanted to walk off again because of the smell? Generally this is not due to a malfunction of the plane itself. In fact, it usually is because someone simply didn’t take a shower, wear deodorant, or otherwise has bad B.O. Sure, you can feel bad for the person, but you certainly don’t want to sit next to them.
Solution: This is a hard situation to deal with, because short of Febreezing somebody, you may think that you have nothing that you can do. Come prepared with a car air freshener and place it in between the seat near them and this should neutralize the smell.
The Screaming Kids
Cheap flights tend to attract families. This isn’t a bad thing, and not all kids on flights are bad, but you will find screaming children on nearly every flight who just ruin the whole experience for everyone. There are well-behaved kids too, but they are completely overshadowed by the ones bawling or screaming obscenities. When you experience these children, sometimes you don’t know whether to feel worse for the parents, or your eardrums.
Solution: In my opinion, headphones were made for this specific reason. The screaming of a child is something that people who do not have children shouldn’t be subjected to, so sound-cancelling headphones will save the day!
The One Who Won’t Shut Up
Talking during a flight can be cool. It’s great to meet new people, and you can learn awesome, interesting things, but sometimes, you simply want to be left alone. Unfortunately, this person doesn’t understand the concept of personal time. They won’t shut up, even when you give normal social cues that you don’t want to talk, or in some cases when you outright tell them that you aren’t in the mood for conversation, these talkers won’t stop jabbering.
Solution: Headphones will be a weapon for some of these people, and this is a great repellent to the chatty Cathy next to you who won’t stop. The pretence of falling asleep can work as well, and I have often put my head down on the food tray whether I was asleep or not when dealing with an offender of this sort.
The Complete Recliner
Airplane seats recline, we get that, and it’s great and all, but there is very little room for negotiation in today’s planes. When you recline your seat—even a tiny bit—you are taking space from the person behind you. Though it’s fine to recline a little, it can be really irritating to the person behind you if you recline all the way and then leave your seat like that for the entire flight. Sure, it’s your right to do so, but remember that it’s their right to bring their screaming kids, talk your ear off, and sniffle through the whole flight.
Solution: Nobody wants to be the person who asks the one in front of them to move their chair back up. In many cases the person will be polite and move it up, but in other cases the person will say it is their right to do this. Note that it is also your right to call the flight attendant over and ask to change seats because this person won’t raise their chair. This may seem rash but as a man who’s 6’4″, this seems like the best solution over hours of extreme discomfort.
The One Who Doesn’t Think the Rules Apply
This flyer you can spot a mile away. This is the one who doesn’t feel that any of the flight rules apply to them. During security, they try to get
through with things they know they shouldn’t have, and when boarding the plane, they ignore seating zones, and try to get on immediately. Every single time they are told to do something, they try to challenge it.
Solution: This person tends to be confrontational in nature and will challenge anyone who thinks they should follow the rules like everyone else. Don’t let this person bother you; they make other people’s lives more difficult, and flight security will surely dissect their bag and take comfort in the fact they have to repack everything.
The Bin Hogs
Checking luggage is getting expensive. We get it, but come on, people. There are restrictions to the amount of space your carry-on can take up, so don’t try to hog the overhead bin space with your bags, your personal items, your jacket, your sweater, your laptop that for some reason you pulled out of your carry-on… it’s just not nice to the rest of us. That space is as precious to every other traveler as it is to you.
Solution: Do not touch this person’s things, but rather let a flight attendant know what they’ve done. The flight attendants are magicians in the way that they can fit so much in the overhead bins that it amazes me. If you think you’ve seen it all, trust that the crew has seen more and can solve any problem.
The Seat Stealer
Whether simply oblivious or obstinately ignorant, there is always someone who is sitting in the wrong seat. When they are confronted, this passenger always gives one of two answers: Either they take offense that you would accuse them of something so horrible, or they are shocked and appalled at themselves for making such a silly mistake. Both are annoying, but at least in one of the two cases you are not being blamed for their mistake.
Solution: This is an easy fix—if you run into the person who becomes confrontational, just contact a member of the crew. If you run into somebody who made a mistake, just ask them to move; they’re already embarrassed, so do not bring attention to the situation. Don’t be rude to either of these people, as traveling karma will come around and one of your flights will be delayed for an inordinate amount of time.
The One Who is Too Good for This
Flight Attendants deal with a lot of crap from passengers. They have to deal with all of the same annoying things the rest of us do, plus a lot of things that we may not see as an average flyer, and they get to do it several times a week. Just because this is their job, and they chose it, does not make them a target for harassment. One of the most annoying and worst flyers around is the one who is rude to the flight attendants.
Solution: You cannot change the rude flyer but you can control your behavior. Make sure you are polite so the flight attendant can give the best care to the rest of the passengers without being annoyed.
The One Who Has No Respect for Your Ears
As laptops, tablets, and even movies on cell phones become more popular, more people are bringing their favorite television shows and movies with them on airplanes. However, too many people forget their headphones at home, or simply don’t care about the fact that you may not want to listen to what they have on. In addition to movies, music and audio books have all been used to perpetrate this offender’s crime.
There are a lot of irritating people on any flight: flying is convenient, but it is also stressful and frustrating. To curb your irritation, and that of
others, be as respectful of the other passengers as possible.
Solution: On my last flight I encountered someone like this, and did what any sane person would do and bought them the five-dollar headphones that are available on the flight because I didn’t want to be subjected to their TV show.