Airports bring out the absolute best in people. Passengers find their inner-joy on a long-haul flight; the best is of course when the arrival or departure is before sunrise, where you can wait for the day to break as you catch and release your red-eye-flight.
But then there is also the multiple hours you have to spend cramped up in a small space - with someone kicking you in the back and another one farting – and you have to survive those midnight transit hours in godforsaken airports where you waltz from one duty free store to the next duty free store sniffing perfumes. There is also the luggage carousel escapades - to your left a couple is fighting with blood-shot eyes about what bag is their bag, to your right someone is running after a suitcase and in your mind a baggage-prayer leaves your heart hoping that the black belt ninja will spew out your belongings between the hundreds of other bags.
And then, you meet your maker and you get the opportunity to test your patience at the beloved immigration lines, in front of the surly official faces and at the random security check just before you exit; your whole bag resembles a decade of laundry days all stuffed into one reeking space, begging for a wash, but today is your lucky day to expose your folding skills.
Airports really bring out the absolute best in people, and by best I mean worst.
Nobody feels funky fresh after spending 3 hours in an airport, 8 hours on a plane, another 4 hours in transit and then, just for added fun another 7 hours on a plane.
But wait there is more.
Because if you don’t live close to one of the mainstream international airports then add another 2 to 3 hour wait and then about another 60 to 90 minutes for your domestic flights.
And just like that a whole day – at least – came and went; your hair is greasy, you are in desperate need of a shower, you have Droopy-the-dog eyes and all you want to do is sleep but your internal clock is so screwed up and time-confused that you end up staying awake for a few more hours.
When I’m airport-tired to the max my temper is often not the cutest and fairest of them all. It is a quiet temper with airport demons battling inside my head; I smile, nod and wave but at the same time I question a lot of passengers’ ability to use their brains and more than often I weep for humanity as I witness random acts that leaves a question mark all over my face.
Surely I can’t be the only one?
Surely other airport-tired and slightly short-tempered passengers must feel the same?
Here are a few tips (to help me) to avoid airport anger:
Why can’t passengers have their ticket and passport ready while standing in line to check-in, go through a security check, immigration or the boarding check? It is elementary dear Watson, you are not taking a taxi and just answering the driver’s “where to”, that ticket is essential and now you are digging through your bag and getting a search party together to find your ticket.
Pick your own pockets.
There should be nothing in your pockets when you go through a security check. Haven’t we been over this before? Surely you must know this because as we waited in line you told a random passenger the story behind every stamp in your passport.
Can you please remember that you have electronics in your bag?
If your laptop is easily reachable, then please know that the rest of the line want to declare their love to you, but if you first have to take out a make-up bag, and this book and that gadget then the rest of the line might want to declare war.
Why can’t you think ahead?
Your bag gets scanned, voila, you are not smuggling anything illegal; encore, encore, congratulations. Can you please, pretty please, not block the flow of the line by gathering your things, putting things back in your pockets or slipping back into your shoes, right there on the spot? I know at some airports it will not always be possible to move a teensy bit to the side, but if you can, please do it because Jack and Jill behind you just want to grab their bag (because they’ve cleverly put everything in one space) and rush to their gates. The same goes for getting out of a plane. Why, in the name of aviation, do you decide to crouch, put the bag down and fiddle with the pockets as soon as you get out of the plane’s door while hundreds of people are piling up behind you? Would you like it if I climb over you?
Why are you taking up all the space?
Trolley bags should come with user manuals stating the appropriate length between your body and the bags’ front facing wheels because those leisurely strollers who stretches out their arms and go the distance with the trolley bag in a corridor or small space (while walking next to another trolley bag owner doing the same) make it impossible for non-trolley baggers to get through if they are in a rush.
Escalator etiquette, it’s a thing.
Don’t just stand still when you get on an escalator, some people actually have to run to their next connection. In most countries it is standard to move to the right of the escalator if you want to stand still and keep the left open for those who want to speed things up and walk to the top.
It’s a moving walkway, please move!
Apply the same principal to a moving walkway, if you want to stand still and not enjoy the sheer pleasure of walking on air, please stand to one side so that others can pass you. Don’t stand shoulder-to-shoulder to have a chat with your buddy.
From liquids to being liquidised.
You can only take 100 ml of each product with you; whether that is shampoo or bubble bath. If you didn’t know that then you are forgiven, but it will still be confiscated, if you do know about this rule but still try to argue and plead with the security staff to please allow you to take your toothpaste with you, please just stop it.
SEE: UPDATE: SAA flight delays and the 'leaking' coffin
Don’t be a rudy Judy.
Behind your tired eyes is an airport worker who is tired every single day because they have to deal with temperamental, over-tired and rude passengers. Try to behave like a decent human being; don’t yell, don’t swear and be nice.
There are probably a million other little annoyances that get me down when the airport-tiredness sets up camp in my eyes and of course there are multiple things that get me rattled up inside a plane as well, but for now, I’m asking with a weary heart… dear passenger, please use your head, be aware and think of others before you hold up a line or block a space because if I had a cent for every time a question mark of “are you really going to do this?” appeared on my face in an airport I would probably spend it on anger-airport-management therapy.
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