This post is also published on HuffPost India.
I think flights are the time when my mind is ripe with ideas. Just watching people and their interactions gives you so much ammunition for giggling, exasperation, life’s lessons, joys and of course gyan. I was tempted to pen this post after multiple trips in India and abroad where somehow Indians tend to display some behavioural quirks. So here’s my list:
- Board as if their rear is on fire: I must regale my recent experience here. Generally, for domestic flights they don’t really board by rows but this time the lady announced that only those in the last ten rows should board. Not belonging to those rows I sat and waited. 10 minutes into boarding, the line of passengers was still quite long and hardly anyone was waiting. I wondered if something was the issue because the two calls made so far were for boarding the last 10 rows. My seats were in the 11th row so I got up along with my kids and joined the line to board. Well, guess what? When I entered the aircraft almost all the front row passengers had boarded while the last 10 rows had fewer passengers. That was a facepalm moment. Seriously, do we have allergy to following instructions or are we living in a perennial fear that the aircraft would just take off while leaving us at the gate? What kind of insecurity drives this stupidity?
- Jump out of the seat and prepare to eject from the aircraft: Again, it looks as if some of us are so tormented by the flight experience that we are almost willing to open the emergency exit and jump out in tearing hurry making sure to edge any passenger out of the way. Seriously guys, relax! What drives you to stand crouched with your hand luggage while you wait for the aircraft’s doors to open? Of course, repeated calls by the flight attendant to stay seated fall on deaf ears. Trust me they do want all of us off their plane eventually.
- Be surgically attached to their mobiles: There are folks who are mortified to not have mobile connectivity while in air. Hence they continue to have loud conversations sometimes even after the plane is airborne ignoring the airhostess’s entrities. Yet again showing how we hate following instructions or are brash about flouting rules.
- Encroach upon your space: I am reminded of those days when I used to take the early morning Shatabdi from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. A fast train, Shatabdi is a seater train and it is not difficult to see passengers carrying truckloads of luggage and then stuffing them in places meant for others’ luggage. They feel it is first come, first served and glare at you if you try to retrieve your luggage space. I have had a similar experience on airplanes. Some people carry a lot of hand luggage and then conveniently occupy places meant for you. If you protest they give you angry glares as if you have asked them to donate their eyes to you. Sometimes, I grin and bear it but this time I moved the luggage and put mine. While at it, where is the politeness to ask when you wish to use space meant for others?
- Annoying habits: I am very tolerant of toddlers and babies. I know that their behaviour is hardly under anyone’s control and I can see how the poor parents struggle to keep decorum. But, what gets my goat is people who chat loudly or indulge in laugh fests that can cause turbulence of its own. I guess, it is not easy for them to understand that this is a public space and ideally you should not be destroying the peace of others. Then there are people who keep kicking your seat from behind and those recline their seats just when you’ve opened your tray table almost squeezing all air out of your lungs and making your food fly. Then there are some who fall all over you or keep elbowing you making you crouch further away in the already uncomfortable coach seat. Let me not mention the loud burpers, snorers and gasballs and the worst of all those with bad body odour who almost make you faint. Ugh!
This quirky behaviour can make you smile if you are in a pleasant mood or drive you up the wall. It really is a pleasure to have an airline companion who is well-mannered, quiet and respects your space.
Do you have any such observations to share?
Pic courtesy: Ambro at Freedigitalphotos.net