Flying puts us in way too much close contact with people. That can be usually be managed with a little spatial respect (like the middle seats gets BOTH armrests; it’s a law) and a few polite nods and smiles. But there are people that nobody wants to fly with next to, across from, or even on the same plane with.
Whether we are talking about strangers or travel companions who make you think twice about going solo next time, here are the eight annoying people that make you start looking for the exits.
The Needy One
This is the person that needs help with everything. It probably started long before they left home and continues all the way through to the baggage claim carousel at their final destination. I’m not talking about sweet little old ladies or toddlers, I’m talking about seemingly intelligent adults who can’t figure out the automatic water faucets in the airport bathroom. Help them once and you have enabled them for the duration.
The Smarter One
We all know a lot about something, right. But most of us have filters. We generally keep the bulk of our knowledge to ourselves until such time as it becomes useful. The person you really don’t want to fly with is the one with no cork in their knowledge bottle.
Details about every conceivable topic pour from them like beer from a college kegger. It will go on and on throughout the flight, making you wish you had forked over the $400 for that set of noise-canceling headphones after all.
The Over Dresser
Everyone has a wardrobe misstep once in a while. The over dresser is the person that arrives at the airport with four layers of unnecessary jackets, scarves, and other fluff, plus lace-up boots. Have they never been in an airport security line? What the what, people? Pack that stuff, wear slip-on shoes, and stuff your scarf in your carry-on bag until after security.
Oh, and then, once they get settled on the plane, the poor people seated next to them must suffer through the removal and replacement of layers with every temperature change, meal service, and bathroom break.
Also known as the loud talker. They are right up there with those who can’t stop spilling their knowledge. This is the person who loudly announces things that everyone else either already knows because we heard the flight attendant or that we have no need of knowing in the first place. As in, “I’m going to stand and stretch my legs. Feeling a little gassy from that soft drink.”
The Important One
There’s one of these on every flight. They have more frequent flier miles, more YouTube fans, more money, more something that makes them r superior to the rest of us. Rules do not apply to them. They expect front-of-the-line and front-of-the-plane treatment even when they sit next to you in the center seat of row thirty-five.
This is the person that frets over every potential disaster that could befall them in the airport or on the plane, causing themselves and everyone else anxiety in the process. From possible missed connections to storms on the other side of the continent, this person is on the edge of their seats and on everyone’s nerves. Drink up, peeps. It will calm your nerves.
The Late Arriver
We all get stuck in traffic sometimes and airlines have been known to book insanely short connection times that make us run wildly through the terminal, but it is the mad-dasher that demands line cuts and holds up flights while they stow their over-sized carry-ons long after everyone else has buckled in that really grates.
Nothing wrong with having a drink on a plane. But when a stranger sitting next to you can’t keep his arm from slipping off the armrest into your lap or her head from rolling onto your shoulder it has passed the point of polite social behavior. Almost as bad is the person drowning and sharing their sorrows for four hours.
Get stuck with a boozer and you may find yourself taking a good long look around the plane. You’d have been better off next to any of those other needy, overdressed, loud, freaked-out, self-important fliers.
Melinda Crow has been writing about travel for 30+ years, long before there were “digital nomads” and “influencers.” And while at any given moment, she would rather be on a cruise ship anywhere in the world, she lives in Central Texas (yes, near Waco, and no, she does not know Chip and Joanna Gaines) with her award-winning photographer husband, Gary, 12 peacocks, two horses and one lazy cat. She is the author of Camping Colorado and Camping New Mexico by FalconGuides and blogs at FirstRead.Me and here on Medium.