24 May 2011
What annoys you about flying?
"Hell is other people." Jean-Paul Sartre
And apparently, for some of us, so it would seem.
I was at an Airport waiting to check-in a couple of weeks ago and overheard a woman say to her partner, “Oh please let's hope we are not sitting next to a lard ass or an annoying kid after that last trip".
Clearly she dislikes sharing the journey with both The Little and THE LARGE.
I smiled and secretly prayed that she would find herself on the same flight as the excited boy scout troop I had seen earlier or somewhat fortuitously, members of the Japanese Sumo Wrestling Team.
Leaving sumo sized passengers aside, how can anyone say anything mean about sharing the air space with children?
Well out loud, anyway.
Anyone who expects a child to happily sit in a sardine can for hours on end being tempted by airline food and amused by the onboard entertainment is totally deluded.
Almost as deluded as an Aunty who agreed to take her nieces from one end of the world to another without a second thought or at least a carefully crafted Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP).
It seems we forget the pain of childbirth first, then when we reach middle age we forget the pain of children full stop. What kind of grandparents would we hope to make otherwise I guess.......
Let me explain what happened to this Aunty. And that Niece.
Exhibit A - One little niece all set for flying. Sweet heh?
Exhibit B - An hour into the 14 hour flight one little niece is already exploring ways to get more comfortable and is apparently very thirsty. Fair enough heh? What's an Aunty to do but give one little niece lots of apple juice to keep her well hydrated.
Exhibit C - Eight hours in, one erratic little niece is now pulling faces at any passenger she locks eyes with - particularly the woman sitting in the seat behind us - who oddly enough was reciprocating with not only similar facial gestures but equally as expressive hand gestures. How was I to know that this one little niece was so sensitive to apple juice that I would have been better just to pour a 10kg bag of sugar down her throat to achieve the same disastrous effect.
I have to say by the end of that flight we both were ready to be committed. My niece on the other hand had finally just fallen asleep.
So ever since then, whenever I see children on board I look straight at the parent or caregiver and give them one of those 'knowing smiles'. I resist the urge to ask if I can sight their DRP and instead silently wish them all the luck in the world and hope for their sakes that there is something really mind numbing on the drinks menu.
As for me, I quickly put on my earphones and keep them on the entire flight. It's the best solution to most airborne toxic events.
So if its not screaming kids, then what annoys me about flying?
It isn’t really the in flight experience at all. I can put up with lack of leg room (Oh why is it some people like to recline their seats while they are eating almost forcing me to wear my meal), chatty neighbours (No, I really didn’t need to know about your horrific c-section before you even told me your name, no, really) and tiny bathrooms (I am terrified I will get locked in or worse that upon flushing I will somehow get sucked out of the plane’s jet).
But what really increases my blood pressure a tad is the whole airport experience. Checking in (now there are no people just machines doing the job and often they are not working causing huge waiting lines of angry people), the ever increasing security requirements (I swear they get you to keep taking bits of your clothing off for their own enjoyment not ours), Immigration and Customs (they are so slow, is it any wonder people illegally cross our boarders if they operate at that pace), getting your luggage off the carousel (what’s with the people almost sitting on the carousel to try and find their luggage first) and then trying to find your way out of the airport in one piece.
Flying, as opposed to life, really is about the destination and not the journey. And, fortunately for us, we are lucky to be able to fly to some great destinations even though some of the journeys getting there can be rather ho hum.
So tell me, does anything annoy you about flying?