The vanishing outwardly cranky air traveler

English: PBair female flight attendant at work...

English: PBair female flight attendant at work on board of a ATR 72 (Thailand). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m old enough to remember when airports weren’t so circuitously mammoth and passengers aboard planes applauded and cheered upon successful landings.

The silence of travelers in planes who land safely represents some of the modern day behavior of almost extinct, outwardly cranky passengers. If you, too, are old enough to remember these cranks, you don’t recall them with fondness. They used to make the jobs of flight attendants a nightmare—complaining and demanding incessantly.

Today with the takeover of airports by the security industry, these complainers contain their displeasure and ire for the most part. Those that cannot are removed from the situation. This procedure is arguably one of the best problem-solving techniques in the 21st century workplace; should a problem arise in the form of a particular individual or individuals, all that is necessary for the situation to be remedied is the extraction of the problem person from the scene.

The cranks who remain air travelers carry on in a passive aggressive manner. You can recognize them, still, today, if you are just even a little bit aware. They are the ones muttering under their breath while waiting at the self-serve baggage check-in kiosk. They are not emotionally disturbed so much as just, well, plain pissed off at the current state of air travel—paying for more service and room and getting increasingly less of each.

English: Deserted check-in stations as Schipho...

English: Deserted check-in stations as Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, due to the air travel disruption after the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption. Nederlands: Verlaten check-in balies op Schiphol als gevolg van de luchtvaartverstoringen door de vulkaanas 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are unfortunate enough to let them have your ear, you do, indeed, get an earful of a sour-laden state of the union address on air travel.

Some of the things they take issue with are laced with irony.

Airports have never been bigger and more of a marathon to get to your gate than now.

This is pretty true for the most part, especially in big cities. An air traveler can lose track of how many escalators they go up and down in order to arrive at their gate. Plus they need to take a train oftentimes, not to mention the amount of straight up walking they have to do as well, moving walkways robotically chatting you up to “Stand on the right, walk on the left,” notwithstanding. They harken to what could have been with respect to trains and how aside from cheap freight moving, the rails these air conditioned robots ride on now are in airports.

The way people wander, and for lack of a better word, stagger (seemingly devoid of purpose), around airports is incredible. You would think they were auditioning for the part of “walkers” in AMC’s The Walking Dead.

I can’t disagree with this one. People will be flying down the main drag of a gate area like a plane getting ready to take off, when they suddenly slam on the brakes and either, a) look at their phone; b) stare off into space in search of something that doesn’t exist; or, c) double shuffle a couple steps to the left and one to the right before stopping and looking at their phone again.

On Board Pakistan Intl Airlines.

On Board Pakistan Intl Airlines. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Phones should be used in airports like motorists use theirs: pull over to the side of the road and get out your phone once you’re safely out of the way (of oncoming traffic).

I felt bad for the flight attendant who was of a medium-size build and had to navigate the beverage cart down the skinny jeans path they call an aisle these days. And, all without cracking the elbows and arms of passengers who are trying their best to compress themselves into spaces they never were meant to squeeze into.

This is the final insult that awaits all air travelers, not just the cranks, as they board for their final destination. But there’s (not so good) news for passengers making the return trip home. Unless you’re an infant, the amount of space you have to “sit back and enjoy the flight,” is slated to continue to diminish.

Lucky cranks.


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