Tuesday 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?


  1. The worst thing by far is the ritual humiliation of being forced to walk through Business Class en route to the cattle pens at the back ... its like being reminded that you are a dud, a second class citizen, the kid in school again who missed out on going to OC class or who always came last in Maths and French!

  2. I don't do as much of it as I did years ago. 14 hours is too long in the air but I have done a couple like that.
    Your question - dumb fees such as a baggage fee even for the first bag. They can easily just calculate the average weight of bags and charge accordingly - I don't want to mess with the fees.
    I don't know if your were reading A Few Clowns Short back in July 09 but I found a great airline revenge story.

  3. that lady was very mean, there are nicer ways to put things. I'm just plain scared of flying Lilly. all distractions welcome. Your niece is so cute.

  4. OK, I had to laugh with the pictures of your niece. And the story was too funny about the apple juice and faces.

    But the things I don't like about flying- all of the above that you listed. I'm not a big fan of flying, but will do so in order not to drive a long distance.

    That said.... we used to be known as the "Traveling Grimballs" because Dad would ONLY drive and they drove everywhere. We fly now though... The airport to and from are the worst parts of the vacation experience :)

  5. Nothing!

    I love flying, the uninterrupted movies, variety of music playlists, the in-flight meals (and I'm not being sarcastic!), in economy too.

    In business class.... died and gone to heaven!!!

  6. I never really flew domestically, and started off being simply international. That means flying a minimum of 20 hours(Mumbai-USA). To make things more exciting we have these really dramatic security checks. They always ask me to take of my gold bangles, and mangalsutra( gold and black necklace worn by married ladies in India), and always say no. The earrings dont bother anyone. They then pull me out of line in security, ask for special help on the PA system, and conduct a check on my body where all the rest of the flyres can enjoy the episode. You stand with feet apart opn two feet painted on the floor, hands raised, and some lady in a uniform, kind of moves a probe all over you, to check whatever, asking you to turn this way and that. No one is bothered about my bangles and necklace. :-)

    The whole thing feels like a very slow motion ballet, and i get to do this in the US on every flight. I even asked a lady if she ever got tired on doing such checks, bending all over like this.

    And then they object to a tiny nail clipper in ur bag, attach some tag to it, make you sign some baggage thing, and tell you to collect it on the baggage carousel at your destination !

    After all this, sitting scrunched, fighting to reach a loo, and getting non veg diabetic meals when one has asked for hindu asian vegetarian meals, is nothing.

  7. I loathe flying, I can't eat (who wants to eat airline food anyway?), and always feel claustrophobic. I've declared not to fly again unless I can go first class (which means I'll never fly again). Great post. You reminded me of a great Bill Cosby skit, "Jeffrey," which I'm going to post about soon (and give you a nod).

  8. You are truly a wonderful Auntie, Lilly! My daughter flies everywhere with my granddaughter and brings every kind of gadget to keep her happy and occupied. She also brings lots of food to also keep her happy, if not healthy.

    What don't I like about air travel? The cramped space and the lack of food now. I didn't love airplane food before, but I really appreciate it now.

  9. By the way, your niece is adorable.

  10. I'm one of those people who loves to fly ... not annoyed by much anything. EXCEPT .. the last time I flew cross country, the guy next to me passed gas every ten minutes or so .. I was sick by the time we landed (4+hours)

    Adorable child, this precious niece.

  11. I find having to remove my shoes ridiculous.

    I resent men who -- in my own experience only! -- always take the armrests.

    I don't care for people who spill into my seat. I fly alone 98% of the time -- wearing someone's arm or thigh is so disturbing.

    I'm a calm flier, however. A little Dramamine, my iPod, and I can daydream for two to three hours at a time. :-)


  12. I would just like to know what airline Young Werther flies as the rest of the world needs to know or is this person just very easily pleased?

  13. Well, I did TRY to comment, but Blogger is such a pain in the a**e that it got lost and I'm not writing all that lot out again.

    So... good post ;)

  14. And why do people have to haul themselves out of their seat by leaning on and jiggling the seat in front of them? There are armrests you can use to lever yourself out. Have some consideration for the person seated in front of you who just might be asleep or at least trying to sleep. I would happily have attended court on murder charges for the overnight flight I once experienced but manners got the better of me and just grinned and bore it

  15. A 14 hour flight with a young child-- You are ONE GREAT AUNTIE!!!! Wow, I'd never a vacation to recover from that-- with or without the apple juice high.

    When I take Godson(age 14) to Ohio I load up movies, games, music, whatever I can on the iPad to keep him occupies and that's only a 5 hour flight.

    Flying is becoming such a chore, especially with security checks that it's not so much fun. We've backed off flying lately and driving to closer destinations in stead.

    So, do you have to take your niece BACK on a 14 hour flight???

    xo jj

  16. Hey Lilly and all your fellow Aussie mates (I've never learned if women call each other mates or is it a guy only thing)
    I could use your help in some voting. It's Memorial Day weekend here in the states so many blog readers are not reading. But OZ is not busy right? It's almost winter. So go over to Jillsy Girls blog and vote for lisleman. If I win, I'll try to get Barry and Michelle to really stop over there this time.

  17. @ Lisleman - Done. Great work mate!!

  18. The PRICE annoys me!! I haven't flown for 5 years because of it. Quite expensive to travel that way with family :(

  19. I love flying, the uninterrupted movies, variety of music playlists, the in-flight meals (and I'm not being sarcastic!), in economy too.

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Thanks for your comments.