At this point in our careers, some of us travel quite frequently for work. While the frequent flyer miles and hotel points we acquire on our employers’ dimes will pay off with an awesome vacation at some point in the future, the truth is that traveling these days can be remarkably unpleasant, usually due to our fellow travelers. After hours upon hours spent in various airports (and subsequently, airport bars) across the country, we’ve discovered that there are some distinct types of people you encounter whenever you travel by air (train people are a whole different breed). Here is our breakdown of five types of people you may encounter the next time you fly off into the wild blue yonder.
While travel seems to bring out the worst in everyone, impatient travelers are some of our least favorites. Guess what? We all have somewhere to be–that’s why we’re traveling in the first place. But the impatient travelers are the ones who crowd the boarding area instead of waiting for their zone to be called. They jam the aisles of the plane the second the “fasten seatbelt” sign turns off upon landing. What they fail to realize is that by being impatient pricks, they are slowing down the process for everyone, including themselves. So for the love of God, please stay seated until your zone number is called.
Oh, you want to be upgraded? You want to take up the entire overhead bin with your giant carry-on? We were unaware you were only person flying today. The entitled traveler thinks he or she deserves everything, whether it be the last first class seat or an extra airplane bottle of free vodka. This type is usually rude and demanding to both the airport staff and flight attendants, and he or she generally makes the entire flying experience unpleasant for everyone. Pro tip: you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, asshole. We always make it a point to be extremely gracious to all of the staff we encounter, because when you do, you are more likely to get the perks. Hell, we wrote this column from a free extra leg room seat that one of us got because she was nice to the gate agent when she asked about changing her seat. Plus, do you really want to piss off the people who are in charge in case of a water landing? Didn’t think so.
The oblivious traveler is the (slightly) less annoying version of the entitled traveler. This person takes up three seats in the boarding area with all of his or her stuff, not because he or she doesn’t give a shit that there are 20 other people looking for a seat, but because this person legitimately don’t notice that all of the other seats are full. These travelers are the ones who miss all of the boarding announcements because they are so engrossed in the biography they are reading and therefore are the last to get on the plane. Then they walk down the aisle bumping into everyone with their enormous carry-on. While you want to hate them, you just can’t because they are just so clueless.
Sometimes we forget there are people who not only don’t travel as much as we do, but who haven’t flown at all. Still, our patience is tested with the inexperienced travelers who literally have no clue what the hell they’re doing at the airport. They wander around like lost puppies, gazing wide-eyed at everything and looking like they might pee out of nervousness at any moment. While we’re happy to step in and help if it hurries the process along, who doesn’t know at this point that you can’t bring a knife or more than three ounces of liquids in your carry-on? Do you live under a rock? There’s this thing called the Internet where you can find very detailed travel instructions from the fine folks at the TSA. Check it out. Please.
Show us anyone under the age of 12 and we’ll show you someone who is bound to encompass all of the worst things about the people we’ve described above. While they are cute, innocent children (for the most part) that doesn’t mean we want to deal with them. On a recent cross-country flight one of us was on, an adorable little boy stopped at her row, looked at her, then turned and asked his dad, “Daddy, can we sit in this row with the pretty lady?” While flattery will get you far, kid, we still don’t want to sit beside you for the next five hours. Unfortunately, he wound up in the next row, kicking the seat, and talking at full volume for the entire flight.
At the end of the day, traveling is pretty much one big adventure. While some people you meet along the way can be awesome, there are definitely those who aren’t–and they always seem to wind up in the seat next to yours. All you can do is put on your headphones, pop a Xanax, and hope for the best.