7 habits of highly annoying travelers

Mar 12, 2010 by

A while back, I wrote a post about annoying people at work. Just lately, much of my work has involved traveling so I thought I’d draw that theme out again, for a couple of reasons: I like and need to vent about the stupid things people do; and I’d like to provide a cautionary message lest you become one of these people.

Take heed of the completely annoying, frustrating, traveling-ruining stupidity that I see practiced around me regularly, in rough order from beginning to end of the trip (note: much of my travel takes place on planes, but some of these apply to trains as well):

  1. Bad behavior at the security checkpoint – This one encompasses a wide range of activities: waiting until one gets to the actual conveyor belt before taking off shoes, coats, etc; not paying attention and going through the metal detectors with change, watches, belts, etc. thereby necessitating an additional trip through; wearing complicated, lace up shoes that take five minutes to remove and then put back on; not realizing that shoes need to be taken off and then arguing the point with TSA agents; and much, much more. Security restrictions are quite easy to learn about: the TSA keeps their website updated and TV/newspapers report on on new restrictions constantly – just pay attention!
  2. Stopping in the middle of the aisle/walkway or wandering aimlessly – This infraction is particularly annoying in airports and train stations when you are trying to get to your gate and end up delayed because of people blocking the walkways. Listen: I know that navigating airports can be difficult. But if you get lost, pull over to the side out of the way of everyone else and take a minute to figure out where you’re going. Likewise, if you’ve got a three hour layover and plenty of time to do nothing, walk on the outer edge of the hall. Meandering about slowly while I’m rushing to get through the horrible Philly airport (where they ALWAYS seem to put your connection in a different terminal) is not the way to endear yourself to other passengers.
  3. Crowding the gate during boarding – Many of the airlines now seat by zone or section. Your zone/section is usually printed on your boarding pass so you have a general idea of where you are in the boarding process. These fine people have decided that despite their placement in the later boarding zones that they’ll crowd the gate so that everyone else has to push past them, wrestling with their bags along the way. One can never be sure whether these people are actually in line or just blocking the entrance so a lot of dodging, tapping on shoulders to ask people and gauntlet running often ensues.
  4. Putting coats and small bags in the overhead compartments – In this day and age when the airlines will charge you for everything, especially for checking bags, many more people are carrying on than ever before. Unfortunately, the size of the on-board baggage compartments have not expanded to meet that increased need. Therefore, every square inch of space is valuable. But that doesn’t stop John and Jane Tourist from putting their purses, briefcases, small duffel bags and coats into space that should be reserved for roller bags. This is especially frustrating when said tourists have plenty of room under their seat, but don’t seem to understand that space is actually designed to store those briefcases, purses and coats. I’ve actually had arguments with people on planes to try to get them to move their coats, etc. In frustration, I often end up crushing their baggage beneath my own; and no, I don’t feel guilty about it.
  5. Forgetting/ignoring/disregarding seating assignments – Almost every airline assigns seats to travelers. Many allow you to choose your own seats prior to boarding; I always choose to sit on the aisle because of the extra freedom of movement it provides. Seats usually have a letter and a number associated with them; in fact the system is quite simple. They even provide pictures above each section of seating letting you know whether you’re on the aisle or on the window. So why does it seem so hard for some people to find their own seat? I can definitely excuse mistakes, but if I had $5 for everyone who was ever sitting in my seat and then argued with me about it thereby delaying everyone else from boarding (not to mention pissing me off), I’d be a rich woman.
  6. Excessive and/or loud talking – One of the more challenging elements of travel is the loss of personal space incurred when squished next to far too many people in a relatively small metal tube. Its bad enough to have your bodily space invaded without the excessive and loud talking that can crowd your mental space as well. I personally thank the travel gods everyday that cell phone use hasn’t been approved on planes; but that doesn’t prevent people from talking to their neighbors a LOT. Loudly. About stupid stuff for the most part. People: you are sitting less than 3 inches from your neighbor – there is no way that you have to shout to be heard. And while I do adore train travel, cell phones actually are allowed and the problem seems to intensify.
  7. Talking on a cell phone while attempting to board or exit – I discussed the evil of cell phones above, but I had to elaborate. I love my cell phone too. In fact, I have two: one for work and one for personal reasons. But there is a time to talk and time to get off and when are you are trying to board or leave a plane is one of those times. There is something so painful about having landed back home after a week away from your friends, home and partner only to be prevented from getting off the plane by some jackass talking his or her head off. A quick call – or even better, a text – to let someone know you’ve landed is fine. A 30 minute diatribe on how much the flight sucked while you struggle to get your coat and bags from the overhead compartment (yes these are often the same people), block the aisle, hit people with your bags accidentally, drop three things and then finally get off the plane is way too much.
  • Your rants crack me up! You would hate traveling with me. I’m the one who always brings too much stuff on the plane. I’m trying to board with a container of food from the food court, a big coat because I get cold on the plane, a laptop, and a big ass purse. I say sorry when I bump into people on the aisles, though! πŸ˜‰

  • @Rosetta – I’m actually pretty bad with bringing too much stuff on the plane too (especially because I’m always trying to avoid checking bags). The difference is that you say sorry and I try to get all my crap and myself in my seat ASAP after boarding the plane. As long as you avoid the cell phone, you’ll be fine πŸ™‚

  • Absolutely love this post. I read it out loud to him. He encounters these things everyday! πŸ™‚

  • Ha! That’s right – you’re husband is a commercial pilot right? He must get even more annoyed than I do but dumb things people do. πŸ™‚

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