Wings and wheels

Scrolling through the headlines, I paused at “These are the Five Most Annoying Flight Passengers.” Before reading on, I decided to hazard a guess.

It wasn’t an easy task. When it comes to flying, what bugs me has more to do with airline companies and my own impatience. It has very little to do with my fellow victims, I mean, passengers.

I swap driving for flying only if I’m required to reach my destination in a hurry or if the drive is longer than, say, 12-14 hours.

Airlines possess zero customer service and poor communication.  Chick-fil-a could teach them a lot about common courtesy. I’ve never—as in ever—heard an airline employee say, “It’s my pleasure.”

Leaving Chicago with friends one summer, Gary and I arrived at the airport at 7 AM to discover our flight had been delayed. We would have happily left the confines of Midway to spend the afternoon in the city had we known that take-off would not happen before 7 PM. But we were privy to no such information.

When I drive, I take what I want—no extra charge. I stop where I choose or don’t stop at all—my decision.

There are plenty of delays on roadways to be sure. But, when I encounter traffic, I can take a different route or exit the freeway to shop or get a bite to eat.

Cars are much smaller than airplanes, yet, when strapped into an airplane, I feel like I’ve been locked in a closet that’s jammed-packed with clothes of all sizes. No thanks. Give me my car—any day.

The top five annoying people on flights? In no particular order): crying babies, unruly kids, sick passengers (who don’t bother to cough and sneeze into tissues), loud talkers, and socialites (people who talk to seat-mates who do not wish to be social).

OK. I am a socialite. I am. But I recognize the signs of nonsocial seat-mates.

Of my guesses, I do not blame babies. Crying is the only way an infant can express his or her own fears—“Where am I?” “My ears hurt?” “What’s happening to me?”

If unruly kids are indeed on the list, they should be replaced with “irresponsible parents.” Out of control kids who kick the backs of seats and drive Matchbox cars across the arms of strangers are direct results of parents who don’t discipline.

Loud talkers don’t appear to care that the person next to them or in front or back of them wants to sleep, work on a project, or read a book.

Time to check the article and see if my guesses are even close. Drum roll….

According to Expedia.com’s etiquette study, germ spreaders are the most annoying flight passengers. Nearly half the individuals polled said they ask attendants for a different seat rather than take their chances with sitting beside a “Germ Spreader.”

“Germ Spreaders” were followed by the seat kicker-bumper-grabber. I guess that kind of behavior is not limited to kids.

Next came the drunk passenger. Lucky me that I have not encountered that one. It’s bad enough to sit two consecutive seasons with a drunk fan behind you at WVU football games. That I have experienced, and it was NF—NO Fun.

The aromatic passenger came in at number four—whether it be perfume, body odor, or a case of flatulence. Any of the three would make for a l-o-n-g flight.

Number five was—believe it or not—the inattentive parent. At least I knew enough not to blame the kids.

I think I’ll stick—not stink—to driving. If I am bothered by passengers who are riding with me, it’s my own fault.

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