The time has come for your yearly sojourn to your childhood home. But before you can burst through the front door with great pomp and circumstance, you must navigate your way through the perilous labyrinth that is a crowded airport. You take a moment to pump yourself up in the bathroom mirror just before the Uber driver arrives. “You can do this. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” By the time you’re standing at the departures curb you’re mentally prepared for the melee. Since most of your journey will be spent figuring out how to avoid people that have no business traveling in public, we’ve assembled a list of the five of the worst offenders to look for:
“I’ve Never Flown Before” Lady
Meet Winnie. Some combination of claustrophobia and aversion to using fossil fuels has lead Winnie to become a grown person who has never stepped foot onto an airplane. The trouble with spending any time around the Winn-ster during your travel day is that the rules you take for granted are brand new to her. She can’t figure out the self-service boarding pass machine, she doesn’t have her driver’s license handy at check-in, and she is completely perplexed when asked to remove her vegan clogs at TSA (leading to a longer-than-necessary exchange with the agent). Once in the gate area, you can bet she will be standing in the middle of the moving walkway. Winnie means well, but it’s best to steer clear of her nonetheless.
“I Refuse to Check My Bag” Guy
Let’s talk about Edgar. He is not going to check a bag. Not if the gate agent begged him, not if his childhood hero Dan Marino showed up and asked nicely. Edgar would not check a bag if Earth was facing imminent contact from a rogue meteor and he could personally save us all from certain death by just checking his freaking bag. Nope. Maybe he is staunchly opposed to paying the extra fee, or maybe Edgar has a complicated history with lost luggage. In any case, he poses several problems. First, his carry-on is the size of a toddler, yet he maintains that it meets carry-on requirements. Once he wins that fight with the check-in agent, getting through TSA is going to take forever as he removes the myriad of items that need special examination. On the plane, it takes about 7 minutes to stow his gigantic bag and the three jackets he wore. Yeah, avoid this guy.
“I’m Running Late and It’s Your Problem” Man
Chad woke up late, missed his 9 a.m. meeting, and had to reschedule it for a time slot just two hours before his flight departs. Now he’ll be lucky to make it to the gate on time, especially since he is still wrapping up a post-meeting conference call with his boss. You might be thinking, “Wow, Chad has some problems.” But Chad will always, always, make his problems your problems. He thinks his poor time management means he gets to skip to the front of every line at the airport. He says things like “Excuuuuuuse me, my flight is about to take off. Can you move out of the way? Can you?” while he briskly charges past you wearing Axe body spray. At the first sight of a Bluetooth earpiece, you should just avoid all eye contact.
“I Know My Rights” Woman
Linda read an op-ed piece about how TSA body scanner images are projected into a back room where a creepy guy laughs at your figure. She also knows with certainty that the levels of radiation in a body scanner are not safe and could lead to growing a tail. While you’re in line, Linda is going to explain to you for 20 excruciating minutes that airport security is against her constitutional rights and she intends on refusing any request for a scan or full-body pat down. We’re not here to say whether Linda is right or wrong, just that you should put in some earbuds and run like the wind to any other security point. This isn’t gonna be pretty.
“We Stick Together Like Glue” Family
While you’re trying to figure out how to avoid talking to people, the Fleishmans have turned up at the airport in matching holiday sweaters and they wouldn’t stop gabbing if you paid them. They’re here, they have a gigantic stroller and multiple screaming children, get used to it. The Fleishmans are probably lovely dinner guests and throw a mean toddler birthday party. But stand near them at check-in, security, or the gate desk, and you’re going to get hit with a toy lizard and an earful of “But I want my juicebox nooooowwwwwwww!” Since they travel as a pack, if you want to avoid one member of this clan, you must avoid them all.
These are just a few of the people to avoid in the airport this holiday season. You’ve also got your manspreaders, your smelly travelers, and more. It’s a jungle out there, folks. God speed.