Traveling is an activity that, if not conducted for business, can be quite fun. You get to discover new destinations, meet interesting people, and you get to take tons of pictures of everything that interests you – mostly of yourself. You’ve made all the necessary preparations, have your suitcases packed, and you even made it to the airport early. As you’re boarding the airplane and judging the stewardess who is forced to greet you, your heart takes a mini-dip and kind of drops when you realize that you’re screwed. Quite badly, to be more precise, because he’s already giving you a wide, too-happy grin and beckoning you over as you warily look at your ticket stub to make sure that 4D is not next to Mr. Arms Wide Open. Here are five standard characters that you will probably meet at some point during your flight, and especially if your preferred (or only) method of travel is an airplane.
The Wailing Child
Let’s not beat around the bush – childless travelers who spot a family with young children either smile with delight at the “widdle baby” or curse under their breath. Most likely, it’s the latter. The Wailing Child is the most consistent feature in every flight experience, and unless airlines enforce a child-free policy, the bundle of joy you see at the gate is going to cry very loudly, in increments, and probably as soon as you fall asleep. Now, the parents of The Wailing Child are just as upset, if not more, as you are that their child has not stopped screaming, whimpering, and nagging in crescendo for the past four hours. They know that you want it to stop; they know you are questioning their parenting skills, and yes, they are certainly aware that it hasn’t stopped crying since the plane took off, but they can’t do anything about it and neither can you.
The Compartment Space Thief
It’s obviously the space where you are supposed to place your carry-on above the seat, but because The Compartment Space Thief doesn’t have a place to put his coat, he assumes that it’s perfectly okay to use your space anyway. He was able to find a place for his things, so why can’t you find a place for yours? The Compartment Space Thief also watches you like a hawk if you try to move his coat away to free some space, but he’ll offer to help you move your carry-on to another compartment to assuage his guilt. However, you both know that there’s no place for your carry-on anymore, and the passengers behind you are starting to get iffy, so you end up shoving it anywhere and hope for the best.
You can spot The Sleeper from a terminal away, with clues such as the inflatable shoulder pillow, the sleep mask, and the earplugs. The Sleeper always has bad breath, and tends to be a mouth breather. By the time the fasten seat belt sign lights up, he’s already gone. The only time The Sleeper wakes up is when the stewardess is asking passengers if they would like meat or chicken, and his choice is always “anything”. By the way, don’t do that to flight attendants because they are perplexed that you need them to choose your food for you, like a child. The Sleeper subsequently shovels the food into his mouth, and goes right back to sleep; only waking as the plane touches down. Inside, you secretly envy The Sleeper but cannot help staring at his face in fascination while he slumbers, oblivious to everything and everyone around him.
The Prima Donna
Her nails have just been done and her hair is still sizzling from the curling iron. She thinks people are beneath her but she sits in economy just like everyone else; ladies and gentlemen – allow me to present The Prima Donna. The Prima Donna wears high heels while she travels, her makeup is flawless, and she always ends up needing help with something because at one point in the terminal, she loses her ability to walk properly. The Prima Donna color-coordinates her sleep mask to match her outfit, and she actually squeals every time the plane passes over turbulence. Not used to being alone with either her thoughts or a cellular network, the Prima Donna checks her phone anyway because maybe, just maybe there’s a text on screen. Not finding one, the Prima Donna pouts and takes out her mirror, wondering if her foundation looks too cakey because of the altitude, and wondering if she should stage another “bored” selfie.
The Sprinter is on a mission to grab his carry-on before anybody else does, before the plane actually lands. He is seen preparing himself for the feat, eagerly looking around him and waiting, just waiting for the wheels to hit the ground. Finally, as soon as the plane thuds, he’s up, seat belt off, trying to climb over the elderly lady next to him. The steward sees this and mentions pointedly that he needs to stay put and fasten his seat belt. Defeated, The Sprinter slinks back to his seat, seemingly until the plane stops. He doesn’t rest though – his eyes are watching, ears listening for any seat belt being removed. As soon as he hears it, he’s already clutching his bag, looking very proud of himself until he realizes that he has to stand in line anyway, and wait for first class to get off.
What kind of traveler do you always meet while you’re on the go? Let me know in the comments!