Friday, October 5, 2012

Flying Pet Peeves

So, I’m still looking for my pics of Vegas from last year *sigh*. I know they’re on one of the external hard drives or computers – I just need to find the right one. Until then, here’s a post of my traveling by air pet peeves (in no particular order – they all annoy me equally).

1. Security Line
I know, I know – everyone bitches about security at airports. With all of the rule changes, the body scanners, and the incompetent TSA employees, who can blame people for complaining about it once in a while? I actually don’t mind it so much since I know they’re just trying to keep the flights safe, and I, for one, enjoy arriving at my destination safely. But there are two areas that annoy me: feeling like I have to do everything at breakneck speed and having to do two security checks back-to-back.

When I travel back to the US, I usually have multiple electronic items in my backpack that I use as my carry-on: netbook, external hard drive, camcorder, camera, iPod, and 1 or 2 cell phones. I have to pull all of this out of my bag and put it in the little tray. Then I have to also take off my shoes, belt, and if it’s the winter, my coat. There are usually going to be people behind me, and I hate to feel like I’m holding a line up, so I feel like I have to just dump everything out of my bag quickly and strip down as fast as I can. Then I have to put everything back in place after I get through the screening area – also at a breakneck speed. Luckily, at Incheon Airport for this last trip home, we didn’t have to remove our shoes and belts. I think Koreans were just tired of smelling foreigner foot stank.

Now, for the security checks, this is about connections in Japan specifically. A lot of my flights connect in Japan (usually Narita in Tokyo) since it’s cheaper to do so. But it’s really annoying to get off a plane and go right back through a security checkpoint and be right back at another secure area right after. Why? Why in the world do we have to do this? It’s just frustrating if you’re already on a tight connection schedule to have to waste the time going through a security checkpoint that really seems to serve no purpose. You even have to throw away a bottled drink if you had one from your previous flight. Very annoying.

2. Airplane Bathroom Sinks
I hate the sinks on airplanes. How the hell are you supposed to use those things properly? You have hold the handles down for hot and cold water at the same time to get a stream of water that isn’t boiling/freezing. You can sort of use your thumbs to hold each one down and kind stick your fingers under the stream, but that’s kind of awkward. The closest that I’ve come to being able to use it decently is putting water on one hand, squirting soap into it, lathering my hands up, then rinsing one hand while holding the water on with the other hand, then switching for the other hand. And once the water does come out, if you don’t have your hands at the right angle, you splash it all over yourself.

3. Recliners
I’ve talked about this before in relation to buses, but it’s annoying on planes, too. I know that we’ve all paid for our seats, blah blah blah. I don’t care. If you’re going to slam your seat back all the way and reduce my available space by several inches while making it damn near impossible for me to do anything at all with my tray table, I’m going to bump your seat every chance I get. My row-mates and I are not fans of having to do the limbo to get up to go pee. On my last flight, the flight attendants made people put their seats in the upright position when they were handing out meals, so at least we weren’t trying to eat from under a seat back.

4. Sleeping with the Light On
This is just a common courtesy: if you’ve had your overhead light on to do something, turn the damn thing off if you decide to go to sleep. I’ve had a few flights where the person next to me has had their light on to read, do paperwork, check their bomb schematics, whatever, and then decided to go to sleep with the light on. These little lights put out quite a bit of light, and if people have a hard time sleeping on planes anyway, this can just be more than a mild annoyance – it can completely keep them awake for the whole flight. I’ve thought about reaching across the person and turning their light off myself, but that seems a bit awkward. So, what I’ve tried to do now is try to make sure I have my sleeping mask with me for all of my flights.

5. Stupid Questions at U.S. Immigration
I really hate when I've just gotten off of a 10 - 12 hour flight, probably haven't slept any because the person next to me left their light on, and my shirt is wet from the stupid bathroom sink, and then the immigration official decides to ask me the stupidest questions, or really just any questions in general. I've been asked "What do you do in Korea?" "How long have you been there?" "Do you speak Korean?" "Where are you going?" And my personal favorite after learning that I work for Samsung, "What kind of phone do you have?" Really? Does it really matter? I appreciate the attempt at being friendly, but if my eyes are bloodshot and look like I just stepped out of a shower, please just stamp my passport so I can try to make my connection.

6. Overhead Hoggers
This is going to seem racist, but Asians on international flights are the absolute worst about this. Seriously. I’ve been on many, many international flights from Asia to the US, so I feel comfortable in making this stereotype. They’ll have their carry-on: sure, that’s fine, stick it in the overhead. The women (and men) will have their massive purses, which they will also stick in the overhead. THEN they’ll have 3 or 4 little bags of bullshit that they’re purchased from duty-free or somewhere else in the terminal that shove in the overhead, too. Then there’s their coats if it’s winter time. Come on, really? Shove some of that shit under the seat in front of you. On the big planes with a 3-5-3 seating arrangement, 1 person has pretty much just taken up the storage space of 3 people. On this last flight, I noticed something weird on two different flights. This older Asian couple got on the plane with a carry-on each and 2 smaller items. Let’s say the row numbering for the section started at 20 and their seats were in row 28 (they were behind me at least by a few rows). They stopped at the beginning of the section and put all of their stuff in the overhead storage for row 20. o_O Why would someone do that? You’ve not only taken up all of the storage space, but all of the storage for a completely different row! Why?! In what universe does this make sense? It was very early in the boarding process, so I know their area was clear for storage. I use my backpack now as my carry-on so I can stick it under the seat in front of me and have easy access to my stuff and not have to worry about overhead space, but it still annoys the hell out of me since I try to be respectful of others that I’m traveling with.

Anywho, that’s my traveling pet peeves so far. What annoys you when you travel?


  1. Really loud, annoying people! I'm trying to take my vacation. Not trying to listen to all your drama in the seat 2 rows in front of me.

    1. That's when headsets are a blessing :)

  2. I hear you on the overhead bin hoggers. On my last flight to Incheon I was pissed to find that my overhead bin space was non-existent! The people at the back of the section get theirs sacrificed for some equipment or some-such.

    Security lines are a pain, but what I hate now is how there seem to be 7 different special lines now 'For Business Class, Star Alliance, Preferred Delta Customers, Jet-Setters Set etc etc etc ' where do the plain old plebeians go through?

    1. Yeah, really. You have to read all the signs before each line to make sure you're in the right one. Luckily, I have enough miles this year with United that I can use the Star Alliance Gold lines and get through things a bit faster for check in and security (in some airports). But, did you know that United (and some other airlines) are now requiring you use the check-in kiosk before approaching the counter at some airports, like Las Vegas?