10 passengers that we all love to hate

We’ve made it through Gadling’s top 10 passengers that drive us crazy over the past couple of weeks, and it has been a contentious, wild ride. Some bloggers can’t stand the upgrade panderers, others, the agressive seat recliners.

Truth of the matter is, everyone has cranky days when it seems like the entire travel world is conspiring against you, from the guy with standing on the wrong side of the escalator to the weather delays all over the east coast.

Travel has a way of throwing curve balls at you, forcing you to change your plan, roll with the punches and venture into the unknown. Maybe that’s why some of us love it so much, and why dealing with crazy passengers is part of the fun. Next time you’re on the road, keep an eye out for Gadling’s 10 passenges that we love to hate and maybe before you lose your cool, give them a wink for us.

Day 1: The Escalator Obstacle
Day 2: The Foodie
Day 3: The Baggage Claim Vulture
Day 4: The Upgrade Panderer
Day 5: The American Idiot
Day 6: The Parent with Uncontrollable Children
Day 7: The Bluetooth Bigshot
Day 8: The Call Button Coward
Day 9: The Converter
Day 10: The Recliner

10 passengers we love to hate: Day 10 – Aggressive seat recliners

Dear passenger in front of me – I appreciate that you’ve taken the captain’s suggestion to “sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.” I’m trying to do the same thing myself. Heck, we’re stuck in this metal tube together with nothing to do but sleep and watch movies for the next several hours. But I gotta be honest – you’re getting just a bit too aggressive with your seat recline.

Sure, I can appreciate that seat recline button is there for a reason. By all means, use it to get comfortable. But you’re reclining that thing like you’re competing for a medal in the X-Games. Was it really necessary to recline your seat back BEFORE we even took off? The flight attendant even asked you to bring it upright for takeoff and landing, but you went and put it immediately back down again. Is that even safe? It’s not like this coach seat reclines into a bed and we’re busting out our pajamas.

And would it kill you to ask me first if you’re going to drop that comfy airplane throne down on my face? You don’t always have toddlers or Verne Troyer sitting behind you. Those of us over six feet tall have trouble even fitting our knees behind the seat, letting alone getting comfortable, and now your seatback is all up in my meager personal business. And forget about using my laptop – with your seatback so aggressively reclined, my laptop is looking more like a giant Dell-brand oyster that’s clamped shut on a pearl. How am I supposed to squeeze my hands on the keyboard?

Maybe I’m just that angry guy who likes to rant for no reason whatsoever. I am kind of cranky today. But I suspect, if you were to ask any other passenger in my position, they would feel the same. It’s a tight space to begin with – cut the rest of us some slack and ask me before you recline that La-Z Boy like it was nobody’s business.

Read about ALL the passengers we love to hate.

10 passengers we love to hate: Day 9 — passengers who try to convert you

Here we are on the ninth day of the “passengers we love to hate” series. Today’s pick is the enthusiastic proselytizer who desperately wants to convert you to his or her religion. Far more than merely wasting the flight attendant’s time or hogging the baggage claim area, this brand of annoying passenger will question your morality, insist you are going to Hell (pictured here) and proudly proclaim they have all the answers.

Now let me just say that I feel everyone is entitled to their beliefs. Freedom of religion is a basic foundation of any decent society, but that also includes freedom from religion. You don’t know me, you don’t know what I believe, and you don’t have the right to harass me for an entire flight trying to convince me to change to your way of thinking.

I seemed plagued by this sort of passenger. At least once a year I’m stuck next to one of them, usually on a long international flight. Once I had an entire high school group of evangelicals who tag team preached to me all the way from the U.S. to Bulgaria.

My religious friends joke that maybe God is trying to tell me something. The problem with that theory is that these annoying fellow passengers come from all different religions. Maybe God is trying to tell me not to listen to people who claim to know what He wants.

Plus I think God would send some better emissaries. Every member of the Mile High Preaching Club I’ve had to deal with has been astonishingly ignorant about different faiths, and sometimes pretty shaky about their own. One of those high school evangelicals insisted the Bible was literally true and the only foundation for a proper life, then admitted he hadn’t read it all. Please do your homework, and if I want to talk to you about your religion, I’ll ask. If I don’t ask, read the inflight magazine and show me some respect.

Is that so hard? I have friends whose beliefs range from Orthodox Judaism to hardcore atheism, and not a single one of them tries to convert me, not even when we debate religion. They can disagree with me without calling me evil or ignorant or wrong. I don’t take kindly to that sort of treatment, especially when I have jet lag.

Judge not, lest ye be judged. (Matthew 7:1)

10 passengers we love to hate: Day 8 — passengers who misuse the FA call button

We’ve already reached the 8th day of our “10 passengers we love to hate” lineup. You’ve been able to read about passengers who misbehave around the baggage carousel, people who don’t know how an escalator works, and folks who annoy others with their Bluetooth headset.

This entry in our lineup is about passengers who think the attendant call button is a butler call bell. For some reason, almost every flight has one of these jackasses on board.

10 minutes into the flight, you’ll hear the first ding. Now, I’m not against using the call button for an emergency, or if you are in dire need of a drink to help take some medication, but the call button is not there to assist you in making a drink order before the attendant starts the drink service. It is also not there if you want to know how long it is till the plane lands.

Also, on many flights, there are always people who can’t see the difference between white and orange buttons, and keep pressing the call button thinking it’ll turn their little light on – unless you are severely color blind there is no valid reason to hit the wrong button.

So, unless you are unable to walk, just get out of your seat and walk up to the galley for whatever it is you need. It’ll help stretch your legs (and prevent DVT at the same time). Bottom line – the flight attendant is not your butler, and they have another 100 passengers to deal with.

10 passengers we love to hate: Day 7 — mobile phones and Bluetooth headsets

It is already day 7 of our 10 days of passengers we love to hate lineup.

Today’s annoying passenger is a relatively new phenomenon, and has been slowly going from bad to worse in recent years.

I’m of course talking about people who never learned basic phone etiquette.

As a geek, I should be more immune to these annoyances, but there is something about the loud Bluetooth headset wearing passenger that makes me want to punch them in the face.

For some unknown reason, as soon as some people clip their headset to their head, they turn into really annoying people. Even people who are normally quite quiet think the airport is the perfect place to make random loud calls to people they’d normally not talk to.

I have a theory about it – these people think that talking on the phone at the airport makes them look important. They see “real” business travelers around them, and have the urge to try and blend in and look impressive.

Well, I have news for you – if you walk through the airport wearing your headset and talking loud enough for the entire terminal to hear you – you are a dork.

The worst offenders are people who don’t hang up and remove the damn headset when they are talking to someone else. Ever been behind one of these jerks? They are in line waiting for a ticket agent, and kill some time on the phone with their stock broker/money manager/bookie/therapist. Then when it is finally their turn, they think it is cool to continue their phone call and try to have the ticket agent help them.

I love technology, and I think the Bluetooth headset is a great tool, but unless you are expecting phone calls 24/7, just put the headset away. Really, you are not that important.