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Adventure At 35,000 Feet: 8 Kinds Of Characters You May Encounter On An Airplane
Sometimes when you’re going on vacation, the adventure starts before you arrive at your destination. We’ve covered countless stories about the “summer of travel hell,” and the toll it takes on passengers and those in the travel industry. The lost luggage. The crazy long lines at security. Fights on airplanes. Overbooked flights. Melting tarmac in the UK. The list goes on.
Airplanes specifically are hotbeds for drama. One drunk woman had a tantrum because she didn’t want to sit next to a child. She hit at least two people and got charged with battery. A couple on a flight from Florida was kicked off the plane for using slurs and mocking passengers for wearing masks. Let’s not forget the man who broke into the cockpit while the plane was still on the ground, damaged the flight controls and tried to jump out of the window. Clearly, some people don’t value the privilege of flying.
Here are 8 kinds of characters you might encounter on an airplane.
1. The Chatterbox
You had a nice chat with the person next to you. Now you’re settling down for a long haul flight to the Motherland.
It’s hard enough to get comfortable in economy, but you’re going to try to make it work.
The issue is the person hasn’t taken the cue that the conversation is over. They can’t stop talking.
You don’t want to be rude, but why can’t they see that your eyes are closed or that you’ve got the blanket pulled up to your chin?
2. The Drinker
For some people, knocking back cocktails is part of the fun of flying. But let’s be honest, some folks can’t handle their liquor.
Remember the woman who had a few prior to boarding, spilled a new drink on herself, and let her panties air dry above her head?
There’s also the trio on the flight to Mexico “caught drinking after being told alcohol was not allowed on the flight by a flight attendant.” They were removed for being unruly.
3. The Anxious One
You’re about to takeoff for St. Lucia and all of a sudden, the plane starts sliding to one side on the runway.
Everyone is startled, and it doesn’t help that the pilot is saying there’s an issue with the breaks. Yikes.
You figure it’s best that it happened while the plane was still on the ground. But the person next to you is visibly a nervous wreck. Not even changing aircraft can calm their nerves.
Aerophobia is a common and crippling fear. In more extreme cases, professional help might be in order.
4. The Screaming Child
Let’s be honest- a screaming child is nothing any passenger wants to hear, including their parent.
But whenever you feel annoyed, bear in mind a few things.
Their ears might hurt from altitude changes. They might feel claustrophobic in the flying capsule. They might have sensory issues. Or they could be fighting sleep.
If it’s possible for you to change to another seat, ask if you can. If not, earphones or earplugs are your saving grace.
9 out of 10 times, the parent will try their best to soothe the child. Give them and their little one some grace.
5. The Mile High Club Folks
We’re all for love, sure. But there’s a time and a place.
Apparently, just holding hands isn’t enough for the lovebirds just across the aisle. They insist on being extra.
There’s tonsil hockey. There’s hands going everywhere. And there have been stories of folks going even further than that either out in the open or in the lavatory.
Mile High Club, anyone?
6. The Animal Lover
When most think of service or emotional support animals (they are different), a dog comes to mind. You’ll typically find him at his owner’s feet or curled up in their lap, well behaved.
You might not care for animals of any kind, which is fine. But some serve an important role. Aside from companionship, they help people with anxiety, depression, autism and more.
That said, some people really go overboard.
There have been stories of emotional support horses, pigs and peacocks. In 2018, we reported that a passenger on an American Airlines flight managed to bring a pet kangaroo.
Small wonder The Association of Flight Attendants derisively called the whole debacle, “Noah’s Ark in the air,” in 2021!
7. The One With No Sense Of Personal Space
Some people forget they aren’t in their living room, so they just sprawl out without giving a thought to where they are or who is next to them.
Legs spread. Arms hogging the armrests. Seat reclined all the way.
And what’s that corn chip smell? Oh, they’ve got their socks off, too.
8. The "I Have To Get Off The Airplane First!" One
The plane has landed and is taxiing to the gate. Your neighbor can’t unfasten his seat belt fast enough before he slides past you and into the aisle.
You’re thinking: sir? The doors aren’t open yet. Where exactly are you going?
There might be a reason for the rush to leave. According to The Travel, aerophobia and claustrophobia could be at play.
A third is the illusion of control. Some people “believe that standing in the aisle as soon as the plane lands will help them get off and collect their luggage quicker.”