It’s rarely plane sailing.

You never know who’s inside…

When booking a flight there are several elements you can control – your class of ticket, what you eat on board and often nowadays where you sit, yet who you will be sat next to is sadly not one of them. Travel enough by plane and soon you’ll start to meet one of the characters below who will do their utmost to ruin your journey.

The most dreaded passenger to have next to or indeed anywhere near you on an aeroplane, is of course the crying baby. The most serene looking beauty can soon cause an extremely high level of noise pollution in an instant. Taking off on an aircraft can possibly be excused, but an incessant cry can be infuriating when trying to relax or sleep. In this instance you know the parent is trying to get the child to be quiet for their own benefit, but feel free to tut if the crying goes on for a little bit too long.

The next most feared passenger is the young kicking child in the seat immediately behind you. Usually aged between 4-10 these little monsters are normally aware of what they are doing, but young enough to get away with it. In any event, the glaring look you give after the third kick will invariably head in the direction of the responsible adult who we (correctly) assume should be ensuring such deviant behaviour is quickly stamped out, before the offending child gets involved with a gang and ends up being a victim of knife crime.

Closer to your personal space, the ‘leaner’ can soon put an end to your peaceful journey. These dangerous types known as ‘leaners’ for their willingness to lean in towards you, most often strike whilst you sit in the middle of a classic three seat formation. The usual occurrence will see the leaner fall asleep and gradually find your shoulder with their floppy head. Standard procedure is to subtly move your shoulder enough so they wake up, but the most persistent of leaners will simply move with you and at that point you can either admit defeat and get ready for a sore shoulder or cause a certain awkwardness by shaking the said leaner awake and making it clear their behaviour is about as welcome as Nick Griffin at a mosque.

Another issue to remember is that not everyone on your plane is going to be enjoying their journey. For some it may be their first flight whilst some will be so scared of what could befall them that they’ll be heavily dosed up on travel medication. This can lead to the possibility of the sickbag being removed from its beautifully pressed flat format in the seat pocket. The ‘retcher’ is to be feared as is his close friend the ‘chunderer’ – who regurgitates his in flight meal into arguably a slightly more appealing format. Having someone making loud retching noises around you will heighten your likelihood of feeling a little bit queasy yourself, whilst the smell is unlikely to help either.

Meanwhile the ‘sweater’ can also be an awful travel companion. The ‘sweaters’ often come in two different formats. There are of course the natural sweaters, those that have biologically developed a tendency for dripping sweat with little effort and for those people we simply offer condolence and support. However, the second set of sweaters, many will have little sympathy for. The average person in this smaller subset of the category will have overslept, or been stuck in traffic, had overweight luggage or some other issue that has caused them to run through the airport like a maniac to make the flight. In a matter of moments, you can go from thinking you have a free seat next to you to having to put up with somebody breathing so heavily you fear that they’ll make it to the destination. This person will be unable to hide their sweaty odour despite their best efforts but will no doubt tell you about their ordeal by means of justifying their state and in a bid for sympathy.

If you’ve managed to avoid all of the above, you’ve done well. It’s just a shame, you’ll now likely be stuck next to someone who think it’s acceptable to retell their life story when all you want to do is sleep.


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