We’ve all been there: a long layover at a busy airport, waiting for our flights, trying to find a place to charge our various devices, and trying to get as much rest and relaxation as possible in an otherwise crowded and high stress environment. Even though everyone shares this experience at airports, there always seems to be that one person who makes it worse for everyone around you. So to honor those people who seem to take joy in the suffering of others, here’s ten signs that you are the asshole – Airport edition.
1. Using bags to take up additional seats at the gate or terminal / Laying down on the seats when it’s crowded.
We’ve all seen it. The terminal is busy. Everyone wants to be closer to the gate for that precious over-head storage and carryon space. Nobody wants to miss their boarding group. The chairs are filled, outlets are taken, and James across the way has decided to lay down and use his backpack as a pillow and his suitcase as a barrier, taking up three seats in the process. Not cool, James. Not cool.
2. Standing in the way right outside of TSA and security checkpoints.
Security can be the most stressful part of flying in the US, with the long lines, waiting, awkwardly unpacking your carry-ons to separate your laptops and shoes, and finally having to pass through uncomfortable pat-downs and invasive observations because you forgot to take that gum wrapper out of your pocket. Once you’re finally through, you have to undo all of the chaos that security caused, and there’s nothing quite as irksome as walking through the scanners only to be blocked by the Brady bunch putting their shoes on in front of the conveyer belts carrying your belongings; especially when there are benches a measly 20 feet away. Take the extra ten seconds to move out of people’s way. Don’t be like the Brady bunch. Be better.
3. Blocking the left side of an escalator or moving walkway with your luggage
It seems to be an unspoken rule in larger cities like New York or Chicago, but I can’t recall ever being explicitly taught that when riding an escalator to stand to the right and let people pass on the left. You will be acosted by locals in major metro areas, and you might be shoved by a desperate traveler trying to catch their flight on time if you block the walkway with your luggage or person. Just like driving in the USA, slower traffic keeps to the right, passing happens on the left. Be aware of your surroundings and be considerate to those who have the energy somehow to run up an escalator or gallop down a moving walkway. Keep to the right.
4. You wear an unreasonable amount of perfume, deodorant, cologne, etc.
Nobody likes BO and being crammed next to sweaty strangers. On that same note, nobody likes to smell 50 cubic feet of Axe body spray condensed into an airplane seat on a six hour flight. Not only does not everyone share your love of a particular eau de parfum, some people may be sensitive to additives, have allergies, or asthma . Wear deodorant and a small and socially acceptable amount of cologne/perfume, but don’t let your scent nauseate those around you. Nobody wants to leave the airplane smelling like a middle school gym locker room, or your grandma’s soap collection.
5. You stand up for boarding and crowd the gate when your group or section has not been called.
Why? Just… Why? When boarding a flight, chances are you have assigned seating, and even if you don’t have assigned seating, you will still likely have a boarding group and group number. If group A is boarding and you are group C or D, there’s no reason for you to stand. You will only get in the way of others actually trying to get on the plane. The plane won’t leave until it’s fully boarded, Martha, and if you have assigned seats you won’t lose your spot. If it’s the overhead storage you’re concerned about, there’s a good chance that the airline will check your bag for free if space runs out. Standing and crowding the gate early just makes it harder for passengers to board, staff members to do their job, and it makes the experience that much more irritating for everyone involved. Be better than Martha. Sit down and wait your turn.
6. You stand in the isle of the plane the instant it taxies in or lands after the flight.
If you’re in row 48 towards the back of the plane, and you stand in the isle the instant the plane taxies into the terminal, I have one question for you: do you think this makes deplaning faster? Because it doesn’t. Everyone in front of you has to stand, get their carry-on items, and awkwardly shuffle off of the plane. When you’re in the back of the plane like that standing does nothing but get in the way of people who need to shuffle back towards their bags being stowed above. You end up doing an awkward stand crouch thing to let people pass by you, and nobody leaves the plane faster because of it. Don’t panic. The flight attendants will make sure you get off the plane in one piece. Just sit and wait the five minutes. I promise you’ll get off the plane like everyone else.
7. Right after takeoff, you recline your seat back as far as you can with no regard for other people’s space.
We get it. Airplanes are crowded. The seats are NOT comfortable, and being crammed like sardines in an aluminum tube is a dehumanizing experience. But just because you have long legs, Craig, doesn’t mean you can use the chance to cram down on my leg space to alleviate your woes. If you really want that extra leg room, try to get the emergency exit rows. These rows tend to have more legroom but with the added responsibility of saving everyone’s lives in the case of an emergency. It’s a small price to pay for comfort. Additionally, if you have the funds, you can upgrade your ticket to get a seat with better leg room. Should airplanes be more spacious for people and more accommodating for different body types? Absolutely. But until that happens, consider how your comfort can impact the comfort of others. Let’s just be uncomfortable together.
8. Taking up more than one outlet to charge your devices.
Traveling can be draining on our electronics, and nobody wants to be stuck on a long flight or in a long layover without a good playlist or podcast to listen to. If you can, travel with a battery pack and you can avoid the chaos that is charging at the airport, but if you can’t, limit the number of plugs you take so that others can charge their devices too. You might be charging your phone, laptop, Switch, and headphones, where as I might only need to charge my phone. If possible, stick to one outlet or even better stick to one slot in the outlet to give others the chance to charge their devices as well.
9. Taking your shoes and/or socks off in the plane, or putting your feet on the armrest of another seat.
Not only is this rude because you’re taking up space designated for someone else, it’s gross. I don’t know when you last showered. I don’t want to feel your toenails scraping against the back of my arm while I try to rest on the flight. And nobody wants to smell your feet after we have all been waiting for a long time at the gate. If you have to take your shoes off, keep them under the seat in front of you and keep your feet to yourself. As they say on theme park rides, keep your hands and feet in the ride the entire time.
10. Verbally abusing airport staff.
This almost goes without saying, but they’re just trying to do their jobs. Nobody wakes up and goes to work excited about the prospects of being yelled at by a grumpy person who doesn’t know what they’re doing. The majority of the time airport staff are communicative and willing to help you whenever you need. They can point you in the direction of your gate, they can help you switch tickets to a different flight, and they can accommodate you if you need help boarding or deplaning. Being rude to airport staff will get you nothing good. If you’re especially aggressive it might get you some special treatment from a Marshal or police officers, but yelling at the person at the gate won’t get you upgraded to first class, and if you’re good at pissing people off you might find yourself without a flight to board at all.