Flying causes me massive anxiety. I do not like being stuck in a metal tube hurtling through the air at hundreds of miles an hour. I put up with it because it's the fastest and most efficient way to travel, but if I could I would travel by train everywhere.
Part of what makes flying so terrible is I'm forced to be in a small space surrounded by strangers. I don't like people much, especially strangers touching me or wanting to talk to me. And people are always stressed out on planes because travel is stressful.
Most of my flights go smooth as butter. But there's always room for improvement or that one flight that makes you want to never leave your house again.
1. Be An Armrest/Seat Hog
Being stuck in the middle seat of the plane sucks. To be over five foot six on a plane must suck; I wouldn't know about this. Frankly, it's awful to be in economy class shoved into a metal tube with a bunch of strangers.
So why are you making it worse by hogging all the armrests?
I distinctly remember on my flight to Scotland six and a half years ago, the man sitting next to me in the aisle seat deciding not only was the aisle armrest his but the armrest on my right side. Not only that he needed to have his coat bundled up and resting on my shoulder. He commenced to manspread into my space and fall sound asleep. All attempts to wake him from his cacophonous slumber by myself and the flight attendant failed. I spent most of this flight curled into a ball and trying not to lean on the malodorous gentleman on my left.
I am a small woman at barely five feet. This does not mean I do not need a place to put my legs, arms, or body. I am entitled to the seat I paid for, which includes the foot well and at least one of the armrests.
Nowadays, when I'm flying solo I hedge my bets and pay extra to secure a window seat.
2. People Who Refuse to Control their Children
I do not hate children or think they should be kept out of public spaces. I want to breed some day. I can understand that it is hard to manage your children on a plane, especially long haul flights. Babies will scream, toddlers will tantrum, elementary age children will run up and down the aisles, and teens will listen to their music too loudly. That's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about parents who bring their children on long flights and refuse to control them.
Let me illustrate. On a four and a half hour flight home from Detroit, the row of seats in front of us was empty. But not for long. A mother decided to seat her three or four-year-old child, car seat and all, in front of me. Parents out there, are car seats on planes typical? I've seen it before with a toddler, and find it kind of horrible to trap your small child into their seat for that length of time. Oh, quick Google search tells me FAA recommends children sit in approved cars seats as opposed to sitting on your lap. This was not an infant that would have been sitting on his mother's lap. Maybe it is safer when there's turbulence; I will give this parent the benefit of the doubt because I'm neither a parent nor a pilot/flight attendant.
Once the plane hits cruising altitude, the mother comes over and reclines the seat all the way back. He's in an upright car seat and cannot actually enjoy the benefits of a reclined seat. Then, his mother goes back to her seat across the aisle. She leaves her older children to take care of the younger one.
The child is fine for about the first thirty minutes, amused by Angry Birds. Then the screaming and violent rocking/kicking started. "Mommy, mommy, mommy, I want mommy." The mother tells her daughter sitting next to the child to quiet him down. The girl desperately tries to entertain him with toys, videos, games, anything. She gives up and the older brother takes over. This goes on for four more hours. The child is screaming, jerking violently in his car seat, and crying hot tears of rage for his mother. She does not speak to him the entire flight.
I might be sounding judgmental here, but this was beyond rude of the parents. Oh yeah, because there was a father too and he didn't speak to any of the kids the entire flight.
Parents, unless your child is capable of monitoring their own behavior, for the most part, please, please, sit next to your child if you can. I paid hundreds of dollars for my seat. You chose to have children; take responsibility for them.
Whew! That was a lengthy rant.
3. Take Forever in the Bathroom
Some individuals take longer in the bathroom than others. People have disabilities that require them to take longer in the bathroom, or you might have psychological issues with using toilets in public. You might be one of those unfortunate individuals who gets food poisoning or air sick in flight; my boyfriend got horrible food poisoning on our flight back from Vietnam and spent most of the flight going back and forth from her seat to the toilet.
I am not referring to these people. I am referring to the people who just take a fucking long time in the bathroom or the people who think it is appropriate to wank one out on an airplane or fuck in the bathroom. Don't fuck or masturbate in airline bathrooms. If you're a slow crapper, wait until you're really ready to go. Sometimes a lady desperately needs to change her leaky tampon before she bleeds on her airline seat.
4. Remove/Move Other People's Bags from the Overhead
I'm bringing back sleeping, snoring armrest hog from the first story. He and I did not start off well. As soon as he arrived at his seat, he reached into the overhead and removed my bag from the bin and placed it in the aisle, blocking all other passengers from getting to their seat. He commenced placing his wheeled carry-on, laptop bag, and heavy winter coat into the overhead bin, and then plunked down into his seat. Thankfully, the flight attendant saw what happened and removed his jacket and laptop bag into his lap.
My bag no longer fit in the overhead and had to be moved to an entirely different area of the plane. Don't be that guy. You're allowed one bag in the overhead; everything else must go under your seat. Don't touch other people's stuff unless you ask them first.
5. Sit Purposefully in the Wrong Seat
I am guilty of sitting in the wrong seat or incorrectly accusing someone of stealing my seat. Both times I was a massively sleep-deprived zombie. When confronted, I immediately moved and apologized. But no excuses, I should have double-checked my tickets.
Innocent mistakes are made, but on my recent flight from Chicago to San Juan, Puerto Rico, a couple intentionally sat in the incorrect seats and refused to move when asked by the flight attendants. This delayed the seating process and the flight attendant was forced to waste time changing the flight manifest. They managed this because there were numerous empty seats, but someone else had chosen that seats, and these people stole them.
6. Putting on Scented Lotions or Cosmetics
A plane is a metal tube with recirculated air, so those fumes are not going anywhere. Individuals bring their own unavoidable smells and body odors. Putting on your nasty Victoria Secret scented lotion next to me on a full flight is asking me to vomit on you. Okay, I didn't vomit but I wanted to. Remember, there are people with scent and fragrance sensitivities (me), and people who are chemophobic (me). Groom yourself before or after the flight.
Have any flight horror stories? Is there anything that makes you want to punch people in the back of the head or at least stare daggers at them?