The beginning of summer travel – Gentlemen (and ladies) start your venting


Memorial Day weekend is not only time for the Indianapolis 500, it’s the unofficial start of the the summer travel season.

Which means, if you thought planes and airports were full before, they’re going to get worse; with more families and infrequent travelers.

Many of the added hassles these folks bring with them are trivial in the grand scheme of things. (I’m not talking about the parents who let their “little darlings” run wild, or the truly obnoxious travelers.) But, it doesn’t mean they aren’t irritating. Especially when you’re tired, running late, or both.

So in the spirit of cathartic venting, here are a few of my biggest “little things” that drive me crazy at the airport and on planes. Please chime in at the end in comments.

1. People who apparently have never been through a TSA line before and/or don’t read the papers.

We all can forget things in our pockets, but some folks can end up going through the detectors multiple times, a cellphone, coins in pockets, etc. A guy in front of me last week had not one, but two, cans of Red Bull in his carryon, which TSA found after they stopped him for a hubcap sized belt buckle.

2. People who get on moving walkways, clearly speak English, but decide that the “stand to the right, walk to the left” rules don’t apply to them.

At San Francisco Airport Friday, a middle-aged couple with large carryons stood completely blocking one walkway. When a young woman in a hurry asked them politely to move, the woman complied, but rather indignantly. She also then immediately went back to her blocking position.

3. People who remember everything they need out of their carryon, after they put it overhead.

We’ve all been there — a line backed up into the Jetway to board the plane, and someone gets to their seat, puts the bag overhead. And then stands in the aisle, and digs around in the bag for a book, and then maybe a new pillow, and then maybe a candy bar. Meanwhile, the line gets longer and your own carryon gets heavier and heavier.

4. People who forget that warmer weather might mean using more deodorant. Enough said.

So how about you, Consumer Traveler readers. What’s the little thing your fellow travelers do that drives you the craziest? Venting below might help avoid a meltdown at the airport.

  • pezmanffx

    People that have to put their shoes on right after they collect them from the xray belt causing a log jam. Helloo, see those benches 10 feet away??? 

  • Charles

    That is why, after passing security, I grab my stuff and leave the area.  Because I have seen TSA Officers looking for something to occupy their time.  I don’t want a further exam after passing thru.

  • MeanMeosh

    What you describe happened to me once, but in Australia, not here.  At the Sydney airport, I was waiting at the end of the security area for my wife after collecting my bag from the x-ray belt.  And of course, this was apparently enough for a security officer looking for something to do to flag me for a “random” inspection.  Ever since, I either put my stuff back together on the benches, or find a seat in a gate area near the checkpoint to wait.

  • Ron

    Let’s not forget the people that sit at the window, but also have small bladders.  They need to get up a few times during a two hour flight to use the loo. 

    I especially love those that try and be thoughtful about it and not wake me as they climb over me and, inevitably, trip over my long legs as they are scrunched into the seat in front of me.  A gentle tap on my shoulder is a much better way to be awakened than by a seatmate landing in my lap.

  • MVFlyer

    The person who, as soon as the plane takes off, push the seat back to the max.  They leave it that way until the end of the flight.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind people reclining–but just because you can push the seat all the way back doesn’t mean you should.

  • Harrimiller

    So not to show gender bias: (1) men who bring on 2 carry-ons:  a LARGE roller-bag and their “personal item” – a huge garment bag stuffed with clothes and rhen put both of them in the overhead because neither will fit under the seat in front of them and (2) women who bring a large, HEAVY roller-bag that they cannot lift into the overhead and expect a beneovolent gentleman to heft it up (and down) for them.  If you can’t lift it – don’t bring it on board! If you can’t fit one of your carry-ons under the seat, don’t bring it on board.

  • Rhonda478

    Dear Harrimiller,

    I am one of the women, aged 60, that can not heft my bag to the overhead. I carry a CPAP machine due to sleep apena. I have been told NOT to pack it. I place my CPAP and computer in my bag. I fly business class and have always had help when I needed it. What is wrong with a gentleman helping a lady? I can get my purse up there and don’t ask for or expect help. I don’t get it, why is it wrong to be helpful to fellow passangers? I for instance have been seated by a mother with a crying child sereral times. Each time I have massaged the childs hand to calm them. This helps everyone! Please show a little passion in the future. One day you might need assistance. Karma, my dear!