When you travel as much as I do, you begin to see patterns and things that begin to rub you the wrong way. Here are a few things that absolutely drive me crazy when I travel (in no particular order).
1) Using your cell phone on speaker phone mode in the gate area. Why do you people do that? Do you think we care about the conversation? I recently joined into one. A lady was talking about how bad her man was treating her to a girlfriend. It would be one thing if this was being done in a corner somewhere. Instead, I was sitting in a chair in the gate and she sat down right next to me to have this conversation. I assumed she wanted me to join in. When I started answering questions, she gave me the dirtiest look. I said, "Oh, I thought you wanted my help since you sat down next to me and are on speaker phone. If this was private, I would have thought you wouldn't be broadcasting it to everyone in the gate." She was not amused. Some people can be oblivious to the world around them.
2) Calling someone as soon as we land and speaking so loud that everyone on the plane can hear you. I understand the need to call people and communicate from the plane. However, be mindful of those around you. On a recent flight, a lady called a shipper of goods to inquire where they were in the delivery process. Evidently, they had tried to deliver and couldn't. She began to scream at the top of her lungs how that driver will turn around and go back or she would have his job. The tirade was nasty and loud. A gentleman in the very front of the plane finally turned around and yelled, "Shut up, nobody cares!" She then started telling the whole plane the situation…..and again…..nobody really cared. She then yelled something that leads me to #3.
3) Nobody cares who you are. At least once every trip, I hear somebody exclaim, "Do you know who I am?" There are many important people in the world. However, when there is an inconvenience, there is always the person that thinks they are more important than everybody else. One exchange recently was pretty funny to watch. The plane was delayed by weather. The gate agent was trying to handle everybody's connections and accommodate the entire plane. A guy marches to the front of the line and steps in front of an older lady. He then demands to know the reason for the delay. The gate agent said the weather was unsafe to fly through. He demanded answers as to when he would fly. She was very polite to suggest that if he returned to his spot in line, she will deal with him when it is his turn. He responded, "Do you know who I am? I HAVE to be in Detroit tonight. I have a very important business deal that must be done tomorrow." The gate agent again requested that he return to his spot in line. When the guy yelled that he would have the gate agent's job, another passenger stepped in. "Nobody cares who you are. Get in back of the line." He then turned around and announced he was the Senior Vice President of some small company nobody had heard of. The whole line just started cracking up. It was pretty funny. When a flight is delayed, everybody has a reason to be on that plane; else, they wouldn't have bought the ticket! The "I am more important than everyone else" game is ridiculous.
4) I demand to speak to the President of the airline! When a flight is canceled or delayed, it is a pain. It unfortunately isn't a rare occurrence. I have been bumped, had flights cancel, had flights delay five hours and then cancel, and completely missed them. Revenue for airlines is all based on people sitting on seats on an airplane. Because people miss, cancel, and move flights, the airlines will overbook. On some occasions, everybody will actually show up resulting in an oversold situation. This is normally resolved by seeking volunteers to move their flights. In rare occasions, a passenger is bumped. It is a term and condition on every airline's ticket. It can be frustrating when it happens, but it does. When weather has occurred or someone has been involuntarily bumped, the outrage ensues. I was on a plane recently from Birmingham to Atlanta. The flight is normally between 25-35 minutes in length and is always scheduled for an hour. Atlanta being one of the busiest airports in the world, the Birmingham flight is frequently placed on a ground hold due to incoming traffic in Atlanta. Even with the delay, we are generally to our gate +/- 20 minutes. One day during this delay, a guy announced he had enough. He called customer service and demanded to speak to the President. I have heard this many times. Someone screaming, "Then get me to someone who can make a decision. I want to speak to the CEO. Get me the number!" First, they will never give you that number. Second, why are you more important that everyone else?
5) Bringing food on the plane. This one is probably more controversial. I understand not having time to eat or being hungry. However, the plane is so cramped and everyone is on top of each other that whatever you do bring on the plane, everyone can smell. There is nothing like having the person in front of you eating Chinese food while the person next to you is eating Mexican food. The blend of aromas is joyous.
6) Not sharing the space. I am a big dude. I take up quite a bit of space, especially on little planes. I tend to book window seats and try to sit an angle so that it is comfortable for the person sitting next to me. However, I get angry when they are all in my space. Not a care in the world. Reading the newspaper and the paper being in my face. Using the armrest in between us to store your drink because you have used your entire tray. Be mindful of space!
In the end, travel can be stressful. Even when it is as routine as it is for someone like me; it can still be a challenge. I have several tips that I have developed over the years…..but that will be a subject of another post. What are some of your pet peeves?