Two Universal Travelling Constants


I’m sure many of you have flown in an aeroplane before, as have millions of people around the world. My wife and I are in transit as I write this in fact. We’re hopping on and off at airports, trying to get back home, seeing the same two strange phenomena over and over again. The first occurs a few minutes after touching down, while the second needs a half hour more or so. I’m sure you’ve all seen this happen and perhaps you even do this yourselves – perhaps you’ll be able to enlighten me as to why it happens.

The captain or whomever is in charge of the intercom, just after landing, will ask the passengers to remain seated until the plane has come to a full stop, until the seat belt sign is turned off and sometimes even until the doors are opened. This whole process usually takes between five and fifteen minutes, during which standing up is pointless for many reasons, which I’ll dive into later. Despite the above, as soon as the plane is stationary (and sometimes before it comes to a halt) people start getting out of their seats and opening the overhead baggage compartments, removing their belongings from them. These belonging are usually huge and heavy bags of some sort. The problem is that an aeroplane’s aisles aren’t designed to contain so many people at the same time – I’m not even mentioning the luggage at this point. This leads to pushing, shoving and I promise I once thought I saw someone trying to bite their fellow passenger – I now make sure to have my tetanus shots regularly. What’s worse are those five to ten kilogram bags that people try to fit in between everyone else. I’ve been hit by them on the head, had them dropped on my feet and even got my eye elbowed once by a women who had absolutely no control over her flailing hands – she assured me afterwards that she was perfectly healthy.

I have no idea why any of the above happens every single time. On. Every. Single. Flight. Are people retarded? No, seriously – think about it for a minute. Why would you choose to stand, squashed in between a smelly, sweating guy and a lady who just had shrimps with extra garlic? Why would you want to get pushed, shoved, felt up (by accident of course), coughed on, spit on, puked on (by a baby – I’m being totally serious) and worst of all, trod on by a girl in army boots while your feet are still bare? I cannot fathom why this is so.

The second fantastic phenomenon happens around the baggage belt. I’m sure it must be addictive in some strange way, to which I am thankfully immune, because people behave incomprehensibly as soon as they see them. Instead of standing two or three metres away from them, so that others can walk up and comfortably pick up their luggage when they see it coming, they crowd up right to the edge of the belt. And not just the men who will do the lifting – whole families, with their kids, aunts and grandparents try to get in front of everyone else. Again, there is not enough room for both humans and their luggage, so before you realise what’s happening, that two metre tall American is flinging his twenty three kilogram Samsonite suitcase right at you. It’s sharp edge bangs your knee … hard … and you bend over in pain, wondering where the train tracks are.

In the future, please sit your ass down until there’s a reason to get up and a place to go to. I won’t care as much if I have a window seat, but if you’re between me and the aisle, you will have to wait until people start to disembark before I make room.

Please stay the hell away from the baggage belt too – if you’re crowding me while I’m trying to get my bag off the bloody thing, I will cause you pain. I will swing my hard plastic suitcase, without looking, and then offer what appears to be a sincere apology, mumbling something about tight spots and idiots.

Unless you’re female.

That could get you off the hook. Could … not will.

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