Some passengers need a timeout

November 22, 2011|By Connie Reyes, For RedEye

Happy Thanksgiving! Time to pack those unflattering sweaters Great Aunt Mary gave you and head home to [insert random Midwest location here] for the holidays. And unless you've mastered the skills of teleportation, you will most likely be heading to O'Hare or Midway along with the rest of the city in the next several weeks.

Good luck. You'll need it.

On a recent flight, I found myself contemplating the actions of my fellow travelers. There was something askew—yet still familiar—about their behavior. But after spending 10 hours on a trans-Atlantic flight with them, it hit me. Despite the fact that the majority of passengers were in fact adults, a lot of childish behavior was happening all around me. There was screaming, there was tattling on line-cutters ... there was even a pouty lady who was about to lie on the ground and kick her legs in the air while crying if she didn't get a Diet Coke soon. (OK, that lady was me.)

It was when I reached the edge of a full-on temper tantrum that I realized this: Traveling on an airplane turns adults into kindergartners.

It starts before you even get on the plane. You're waiting in the terminal, and the gate attendant explains in plain English the process for boarding. Yet no matter the instructions, everyone flocks to the entrance, creating chaos and confusion. You can almost hear the mental cries of anguish as first-class passengers take their seats. "Unfair! I wanna go first. How come he gets to go now?"

This is just the beginning. As the flight attendants give what is possibly the most important speech you will hear on your journey, better known as the HOW TO MAYBE POSSIBLY IF YOU'RE SMART SAVVY AND LUCKY SURVIVE A CRASH speech, you see your comrades instead ignoring the survival tips by turning on the air vent or staring you down because you mistakenly put your kneecap next to theirs. Apparently knowing how to follow directions is not a prerequisite for boarding a plane.

Then, as soon as the plane reaches cruising altitude, the bathroom line fills the aisle. Does cabin pressure shrink everyone's bladder to the size of a 5-year-old's? We should all be thankful pilots don't make their passengers wait until they reach the next town like my dad used to do on family vacations.

Airlines have intelligently caught on to this kindergarten paradox and brilliantly supply some flights with the tantrum-preventing "snack time." Never mind the fact that most of the passengers were stuffing their faces at the airport Chili's a mere hour ago. As soon as those carts come down the aisle, you would think their mommies forgot to give them Cocoa Puffs for breakfast. Fortunately, snack time usually occupies the little devils long enough to reach the final destination.

So it goes without saying that in order to survive the holiday horror travel scene, we should follow the rules we learned in kindergarten: share your toys, listen and be polite. And never sit next to the kid with the wet pants.

CONNIE REYES IS A REDEYE SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR.

RedEye Chicago Articles
|
|
|