Your bags are packed. There is time for one last check. Wallet, phone, keys. Passport, documents, cash. House is locked. Everything is booked. One last look around, and you let the door swing closed behind you.
Take a deep breath. You are now at the mercy of the travel gods and must steel yourself to run the asshole gauntlet to your destination. Travel is a wondrous adventure filled with wondrous things, tempered slightly by a bunch of pricks.
Here is my list of offenders. Are you one of them? Have I left any out?
1. Check-in Queue Jumpers
There are 30 people in this line. You can jump in front of me, once you have the permission of the 29 people behind me. In writing. With witnesses. Seriously though, if you are late to check in, you are off to a very bad start. Go to the back of the line and think about what you could do better next time.
2. Security Snails
You passed 20 signs stating what you have to take out of your bag at security. How can you be questioning this now? The security guard has been yelling for everyone to take their jackets off. You are wearing a jacket. You must take it off. Oh, you waited until you got to the front of the queue before thinking about emptying your pockets. It's cool man. Take your time. Yes, your water bottle is filled with water. Water is a liquid. As the sign said, you cannot take liquids with you. Your watch looks like it is made of metal. Is your watch made of metal? Perhaps it might set off the...yes, there goes the metal detector. Brilliant work, my friend.
3. The Early Boarders
"Ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated until your row number is called". This is a deceptive sentence which can be interpreted as meaning "everyone immediately stand, pretend to stretch your legs, gather your belongings, and strategically manoeuvre your way towards the gate. Gather around as close as you can."
4. The Non-Conformist
Sitting aloof in the corner, usually on the floor next to a power outlet sponging the last bit they can before they board. Chances are they were too cheap to purchase movies, so they will watch reruns of TV episodes on their cell phone for the flight. Headphones on, they act like it has all been done before. Cool and comfortable, throwing weighted looks at the crowd around them with the occasional raised eyebrow and shake of the head like they think they are better than everyone else. Their eyes glancing over the top of their laptop as they tap away, making notes for the next entry in their travel blog....or whatever they might be doing...OK I think everyone gets it. Moving right along.
5. "That Guy"
You know "that guy". It is not necessarily a man. It could be a woman. He or she is That Guy. The one whose name has been announced throughout the terminal to remind them where the plane is; the plane filled with people who managed to get to the gate on time. Where the hell is That Guy? What was That Guy doing? Seriously, you better have been doing something amazing, like buying a delicious single malt to share with everyone on board.
6. Carry-on Headaches
"If you can't lift your bag into the overhead locker, maybe you have too much shit in it." This thought is directed at the person struggling to lift a carry-on bag that appears to weigh slightly more than a baby manatee, moments before said bag crashes to the floor, narrowly avoiding braining the person in seat 25C. So much for the 7kg weight limit.
7. Crying Babies
I feel sorry for them most of the time, but they are worthy of a mention. This is not the baby's fault. I am quite aware they have a lower tolerance to the monotonous drone of the engines than I do and the pressure plays havoc with their tiny baby heads. I also imagine the parents are less than thrilled at having the entire plane glare at them as they walk the aisle attempting to placate their wailing spawn. One could argue they had the option to stay home. One could counter that everyone has that option. There are no winners here.
Disclaimer: I have excellent Shure in-ear headphones that block out almost all noise. A worthwhile investment. I haven't heard a baby crying on a plane in years.
8. The Enemy
I have grouped these people into one category because to list them individually would take up too much space. I shall summarise by saying they are generally the kind of people you find taking up two seats on the train while a pregnant woman and an old man are left standing, or the sort you find arguing with the concierge about how their Garden Cottage should have a sea view. I shall leave it at that. You know who they are.
9. Me First
Most people are fairly reasonable when it comes to exiting the aircraft. Most people, excluding those few who leap from their seats the moment the seatbelt sign is off, barging down the aisle knocking others aside before finally being blocked five rows up from their seat. Effective. And by that I mean pointless.
10. Luggage Carousel Crowders
Here is a fact that may surprise some people. The distance between your body and the luggage chute has zero impact on the speed at which your bag will appear. Additionally, the vast majority of people are quite capable of crossing a short distance to collect a bag that has appeared, assuming of course they do not have to clamber through a crowd of obnoxious assholes. The conveyor does not move that fast. Maybe the six or seven seconds they save will make all the difference in their lives.
You made it!
After all of this, you have arrived. Congratulations, you made it. Breath a sigh of relief and whether you've arrived for business, pleasure or returning home, enjoy yourself. No matter how many of these people you encounter, it is always worth it.