There are many reasons people hop on planes day after day. We travel for work and for pleasure – visiting family, friends, and places we’ve dreamed of seeing in order to enrich our lives.
But, let’s face it, flying – and our fellow travelers — can really stink sometimes.
It’s not just the crowds and delays. Sometimes really stupid things happen that throw a major wrench in our well-prepared plans.
In recent news…
It seems that October has brought out the crazies. Maybe it’s the spooky Halloween spirit in the air; maybe it’s the change in the weather, or the barometric pressure, or the tides. Who knows.
But whatever it is, some really stupid things have been happening on flights all across the country in recent weeks.
And what really stinks is that these ridiculous situations – or the bone-headed people who cause them – create major stress and inconvenience for the rest of us trying to keep a good head on our shoulders.
I always have to fly with an active preschooler in tow, so I bring plenty of coloring books and lots of snacks.
For the first time on a recent trip, TSA agents asked that I remove all my daughter’s snacks from her backpack. I did it quickly, but still felt bad for the people who had to wait while I unloaded several packs of Paw Patrol cookies and fruit snacks into a tray.
But one woman took it a step further and really held up the line through security this month.
She wasn’t even traveling with a small person, but agents pulled her aside to unload twenty bags of Flaming Hot Cheetos from her carry-on.
Apparently, this seemed odd to the agents on duty (yeah, why does one person need that many Cheetos?), so thinking some nefarious activity was going on, they pulled her aside and swabbed the offensive snacks for chemicals.
The TSA recently started having people remove snacks from their bags due to the fact that all those little bags of yumminess can interfere with the scanners that are looking for the bad stuff.
The woman was also questioned about her poor snack choices, and being a social media influencer, posted the whole ordeal on her social media page.
She explained her extensive cache of Cheetos on something totally reasonable: Her friends in Korea can’t get the tasty tidbits there, so she was simply trying to help alleviate their cravings.
Too bad for the people in line behind her that day, though. And I’m sure she didn’t enjoy the delay or third-degree questioning either.
At least it may serve as a warning to anyone who thinks they can smuggle something in a couple of snack bags – just say no.
In the wrong place at the wrong time…
There you are, sitting quietly in your seat minding your own business. Your flight is on time and all is right with the world.
And then you become part of the reason for an entire plane of passengers having their whole day royally screwed up.
On a flight from Baltimore to Chicago this month, one poor woman ended up having the worst day ever when a drunk passenger directly behind her projectile vomited all over her head.
I mean, other than crashing into the ocean, I can’t imagine a worse flight experience.
While flight attendants immediately jumped to her aid – even being so kind as to help wash the vomit out of her hair – the pilot made the decision to divert and deplane.
Good idea. Not only would no one want to sit anywhere near the seats this guy contaminated, I’m sure his fellow seatmates were praying they weren’t the next to get barfed on.
The drunk dude was escorted off the plane by security, and all the passengers had to wait around while the plane was cleaned.
The pilot joked that, “This stuff only happens on my Vegas flights, never happens in Chicago,” according to the local ABC affiliate.
He then requested that any other drunk passengers get off the plane immediately.
Apparently, what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas.
In case you didn’t get the memo, flirting is now taboo. Don’t tell a woman she’s attractive – or worse – send her winking emojis and call her “babe.”
But one (probably harmless) gentlemen on a recent Virgin Atlantic flight had the unfortunate luck of “flight flirting” with a female attorney who specializes in online sexual harassment cases.
The men were using the plane’s chat system to send her little messages; for example, that she was a “tidy babe.”
She complained to flight attendants, who had to speak to the men involved in order to chastise them for their behavior. She received special attention from the crew to make sure she was okay the remainder of the trip.
Now, I’m a woman, and I’m by no means dismissing actual cases of sexual harassment. But, seriously? I feel kind of sorry for men these days. They can’t even tell a woman she’s pretty without being sued.
And, of course, all the women liberals out there jumped all over the story, praising the woman for standing up for herself and being the voice of all those who are harassed in the universe.
To each her own, but you can call me a “tidy babe” anytime.
What do you mean I need a ticket?
There’s one thing everyone knows about flying – you have to buy a ticket and go through security in order to board an airplane. This is a fact that is globally understood.
Well, in recent weeks, not one, but two women somehow boarded flights without tickets or being screened.
One woman boarded a Delta Airlines flight in Florida headed for Atlanta. She was discovered prior to departure because she had taken someone else’s rightful seat, causing flight attendants to try and straighten things out.
When police arrived, they found the woman had no identification and had not passed through security. Her excuse? She “threw her ticket away.” Sure, we believe you.
The other woman boarded a plane at T.F. Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island last week without being screened.
She claims she was in a hurry to catch her flight to Philly and “didn’t realize” she hadn’t been processed. Right. We think you’d realize you didn’t wait in line, take off your shoes, and dump all your belongings in a tray.
TSA agents somehow caught the error, but the woman had already boarded her American Airlines flight.
That flight was delayed three hours while the woman was rescreened, seriously irritating other passengers who were now inconvenienced.
What’s really scary is that two women in one week managed to board without going through security. And what’s really mind-boggling is that neither is being charged.
You can’t make this stuff up.
In an ironic twist of fate, I was writing this article while waiting for my flight to take off because something really stupid happened.
I was among the first to board and had my three-year-old in tow. We got settled and waited. And waited some more. And no one else got on the plane.
The flight attendant came back and let us know that all the other passengers were being held at the gate because one of the only two other passengers on board somehow got his finger stuck in the metal frame of his seat.
Well, that was a first for me, and apparently also for the flight attendant who said he’d never seen that happen in his decades of airline service.
“It will just be a few minutes while we help him out” turned into an hour… and then three.
Three hours sitting next to a tired, hungry, very cranky young child. I had waited to get her lunch because my flight was supposed to be less than thirty minutes from Atlanta to Birmingham.
My snack stash (see above) was depleted, my phone with its endless stream of Disney songs was dying, and I was losing my mind.
Meanwhile, hubby got a good nap. I let that go, lest I be the next one thrown off a plane for assault.
Finally, two airline techs and a paramedic later, the rest of the passengers were boarded. No one appreciated the three-hour delay. The anger and frustration were palatable.
It just goes to show how something so stupid can affect so many people.
I never did find out how or why a grown man got himself so literally stuck in such a weird position. I really don’t want to know.
What I do know is that my kid fell asleep in the rental car the second we got in it, and I headed for the nearest convenience store for a bottle of wine.
This kind of stuff happens every day – there’s even a website dedicated to stupid travel crises called “Flights From Hell.”
I guess what they say is true: You can’t fix stupid.