We’re all in agreement that United sucks, right?

I actively avoid United whenever possible. As a result, my airline experiences are generally tolerable. I accept that stuff like staffing and weather and putting the safety of many people into a metal contraption with countless moving parts built by the lowest bidder and hurtling it through the troposphere at hundreds of miles per hour can result in delays. It sucks, but you just have to file in under “shit happens” and try your best to deal with it.

But a lack of basic human decency from my fellow travelers is of far greater annoyance, for two reasons. First, there are countless insensitive jackwagons on every flight, and second, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO FUCKING BE THIS WAY, YOU BRAINLESS ASS MONKEYS!

Let’s be clear: The “you” I’m referring to is actually “them.” You’re cool because you’re reading this article. You’re one of the air travelers people should aspire to be more like, here to get your rage on about these cancerous chuds.

I was prompted to write this piece because of a recent air travel experience. I was in my aisle seat, having been able to board early. Later, window seat dude shows up. Doesn’t say excuse me, just tries to get to his seat without saying anything.

Like, hello? You’re trying to cram your way past with less than two inches of clearance between my knees and the seat in front of me, while jamming your ass in my face? I don’t fucking think so. So, I said, “Excuse me!” all indignant because I can’t believe what he just tried to do. And he says, “I need to get to my seat.”

Well I’m admittedly already in a bit of a mood because of perfume-bathed passengers and the lady that bashed me in the head with her bag and pretended like it didn’t happen, so I’m not just shrugging it off. I said, “Well don’t you think it would be a much better idea if you said excuse me and asked me to get up so you can then get into your seat?”

He stares stupidly for a moment, then says, “Okay.”

But he doesn’t fucking move. He’s standing in the aisle right next to where I’d need to get out. Finally, after I take a moment for a bit of deep breathing, I said, “Well if you want me to get out of my seat you’re going to have to back up.”

So, he does, and I get up and let him into his seat at the window.

This is the really fucked up part …

MIDDLE SEAT GUY SHOWS UP AND TRIES EXACTLY THE SAME FUCKING THING! WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK?

I made a post about it on my Facebook page (you should follow it; it’s fun), and the holy hell of hate for our fellow air travelers was unleashed in the comments. It gave me the idea to crowdsource this article. I made a second post asking for what drives people bugshit bonkers about other airline passengers and hundreds of people unloaded with all their ire. I’ve read them all and encapsulated them into the following categories.

If you are a regular air traveler, I hope you find this read cathartic.

Hygiene, people. It’s a fucking thing.
Listen up, you brainless fucknut. We’re about to spend some significant time in close proximity to one another in a shared-air sick tube, and I don’t want to see it snowing on me inside the plane because you never heard of a thing called Head and Shoulders. And everyone would appreciate it if you bathed at least as often as the plane got a safety inspection. Also, DO IT AT HOME FIRST! The plane isn’t the place to think, Oh, now would be a great time to clip my toenails.

I am often afraid of flying because I don’t like the idea of the two-minutes of impending-doom-filled screaming as we hurtle toward the earth just shy of Mach 1 because a lightning strike tore an entire wing off and people are screaming and trying to scribble “I love you” notes to their families on highly flammable cocktail napkins while converting from atheism.

But toenail guy? I was hoping for that lightning to hit just so I could have the peace of mind knowing that fucker was gonna burn too.

The best scent is no scent
Hey, Madam Miasma. People are actually allergic to that mosquito repellent you call perfume. Others just think it’s horrible. Also, young fella? Life is the opposite of an Axe Body Spray commercial. It makes women run away, not toward.

Your dumbass luggage fuckery
Oh, shit. So much dumbfuckery. Better bullet point this:

  • “Hi. I don’t like checking bags because reasons. But I’m also incapable of packing light. Would you mind helping me fit this armoire into the overhead bin?”
  • “Everyone else is supposed to put their second bag under the seat, but I rushed the front and as my reward I get to put both bags and my winter coat and purse and dog carrier up top because I’m special.”
  • “I’m going to wear this bulky backpack and do pirouettes in the aisle and bash people in the head all while being completely oblivious to the multiple concussions I just caused.”
  • “If I apply enough anal lube to my ‘carry on’ then it just might be able to fit in the overhead bin.”
  • The person in front of me thinking their luggage goes into my foot space. I. DON’T. FUCKING. THINK. SO.

The infectious ingrates
People get the sniffles and there isn’t much we can do about that. Wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, and sneeze / cough into your elbow pit. Not your hand. Fucking elbow pit.

The fucker with drug-resistant tuberculosis who flew despite being begged not to is rare. Influenza, however, is one of the biggest killers in the developed world, yet some people feel they just gotta get where they need to go despite being infected with a highly contagious and potentially lethal disease.

Get your fucking flu shot. And vaccinate your damn crotch goblins so we don’t end up like that poor flight attendant who went into a deep coma after contracting measles. You know measles, right? That disease we pretty much totally eradicated not long ago until Karen decided her precious Brandon and Brittany were too special to expose to that nasty old LIFE-SAVING VACCINATION.

The unnecessary seat yanker
I’m not going to shame those who need to do this. It’s a reality that some people physically must pull on the seat in front of them to get out of their seat. It’s a cramped space and it can be difficult to stand and work your way across a row of seats relying only on the armrests. If that’s you, go ahead. Try to minimize the disruption, and take care not to pull anyone’s hair, but you get a pass.

It’s the fucker who obviously doesn’t need to do that but yanks on the back of my chair like he’s jerking off a rhinoceros. That’s the fuckwit I want to punt in the taint. There are also the ones who are strolling down the aisle with nary a hint of turbulence but feel the need to yank on the back of every goddamn chair as they pass. Can we just airlock those cockwaffles?

The ones who just don’t fucking listen
I’m going to give a specific example of this. There have been a couple of times I needed to get off the plane quickly because the flight was delayed, and our connection was really tight. There have been times when I’ve been on a plane where others had this same dilemma. And the flight attendants make a number of announcements to this effect. They beg the passengers to stay seated when we arrive at the gate so these desperate air travelers can hopefully make that connection.

And do you know how many times I’ve seen everyone stay seated so those people can dash from the plane and make that connection? Fucking never. Not a single goddamn time.

These assholes might get off the plane ten seconds sooner, at the cost of making people have to wait hours for another flight. If you have ever done this, I hate you.

The midnight talker
“I know it’s pitch black out and the flight attendants have dimmed the cabin lights and ended all service, but I want to tell you this detailed story at maximum volume about this fish I caught …”

The creep
It’s an aircraft, not a night club. Leave her the fuck alone.

Fart
The Facebook callout for writing this post resulted in several hundred comments. One guy made a one-word comment: “Fart.”

Yeah. Not much more needs to be said. Except for this: “Don’t.”

The fragrant foodie
Bringing your own food onto the plane is allowed, but opening a can of tuna? Satan is watching and shuffling papers on his desk and thinking, Shit. I’m not even sure we have a level of Hell for people who do that.

Ignorant of armrest etiquette
Listen to Jim Jeffries. Middle seat gets both armrests. “We’re not fucking animals. We live in a society.”

“Get me out of here!”
To quote Jim again: “We’re not fucking animals. We live in a society.”

When it’s time to get off the plane, we deplane by rows. The entire fucking row. Unless someone is taking their sweet-ass time or obviously not ready, you don’t try to jump ahead a row to get off.

Footwear fiascos
Some believe you should never remove your footwear, but I think there is a little flexibility here. On long flights, feet can swell. I think people can take off their shoes so long as it doesn’t release the Kraken of foot odor upon the plane and they don’t start propping their damn feet on the armrest of the row in front of them. Seriously, people. Show some fucking class.

Expecting me to change seats
You can ask. There are circumstances where people really do need to move because the airline fucked them, and junior is gonna wail the entire flight because he’s crammed between two Neanderthals and mommy is 18 rows away. I might say yes. Depends on the situation.

But when you expect me to move because of your shitty planning or just because it’s a little nicer for you and want me to give up my nice seat for your shitty one that you can eat a box of snake cocks.

Being a shitnugget to the flight attendants
I understand that the United Airlines employment application is a single question of “Do you hate people? Y/N.” These people are about as pleasant as someone who got called in to work a double shift the night after a bachelor party.

You don’t need to be kind to the United flight crew, but don’t be a complete asswagon. It’s only going to make things worse. And if it’s not United and they’re treating you with a modicum of decency, be nice! We’re all crammed into this metal monstrosity together and I don’t want to hear you asking to talk to the manager because they don’t have Diet Pepsi.

Security stupidity
“Oh, here I am at the front of the security line. What is it that I’m supposed to do now? What do you mean I can’t bring this 37-ounce bottle of shampoo in my carry on? Now I’m mad and everyone here is going to know it. I want to talk to your manager!”

Entrance and exit etiquette
People have to pee. People like to drink. I like to drink. That’s why I always prefer an aisle seat. So I can pee without bothering my seat mates. But it is no bother. If the person in the window seat needs to pee. I will happily take that moment to stretch my legs to let them out, and also get up to let them back in.

Don’t crawl over people, and don’t ask people to crawl over you. If someone needs to get out or in, you fucking move your ass.

The lack of headphones
I don’t want to hear the explosions or mushroom jumping or whatever the fuck on your videogame, or the prattling blather of some YouTube douche describing how “lit” something is.

Mom / Dad gives up
Reasonable people—especially those with children—understand that sometimes there is just nothing you can do. You do your best to calm down that holy terror you spawned, to make them sit still / be quiet / go the fuck to sleep, but it’s all for naught. If we see you trying, if we see you’re doing your best to keep the kid from going Chernobyl midflight, we appreciate it and can tolerate the disruption. By the way, have you considered shaving their head and looking for the “666”?

But the ones that put in the earplugs, don the mask, and ignore the fact that Lord of the Flies is taking place in the seat next to them … Well, just … fuck you.

Those who despise children
“They shouldn’t allow children to fly.” Dude, you were a kid once. Quit being such a fucking misanthrope and hate-staring the parent that is genuinely trying to handle their spawn and keep them from going all fed-after-midnight Gremlin on the aircraft.

If you hate kids that much, perhaps you should stay home.

How drunk do you need to be?
I’m not a fan of flying, and a couple of beers takes the edge off. Also, when the booze is free, I don’t mind taking advantage.

But come on. Flying is not a frat party. Show some fucking restraint.

Did the movie make you angry?
I’m just gonna quote the dude who left this Facebook comment verbatim: “It’s a touchscreen that’s behind my head, not a punch screen, you ham-fisted protein stain.”

The gate crowders
You can strategically position yourself, because I know overhead bin space is an issue, but don’t line up until your fucking zone number has been called. Peasant.

Speaking of peasantry …

Everyone in first class
I hate you because I ain’t you.

And finally, a note about seat reclining …
The only consensus is not to do it too vehemently. Don’t slam that fucker back, else you risk crashing it into someone’s knees.

But there is a division between those who say recliners are worse than Hitler, no matter how gently they do it, and those who insist on the right to recline like an American ammosexual asserts his right to buy his 85thassault rifle without a background check and fuck you for daring to question it.

My position? Lighten the fuck up. Don’t get so upset about it either way. If you really need extra leg room, pay for it.

Did I miss any? Feel free to unload your ire in the comments.

My new book THE HOLY SH!T MOMENT, is now available. GET IT HERE!

You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

James S. Fell, MA, MBA, has bylines in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, the Guardian, TIME Magazine, and many other publications. His blog has millions of readers and he is the author of two books: The Holy Sh!t Moment: How Lasting Change Can Happen in an Instant (St. Martin’s Press, 2019), and Lose it Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind (Random House Canada, 2014). Order them here.

 

by: