The more I travel, the more I reinforce my belief that people are inherently stupid. I spend the vast majority of my time in airports, and the vast majority of that airport appreciation time is spent responding to brilliant observations and questions like “if my flight is leaving 3 hours late is it still getting to Phoenix on time?” and “what do you mean ATC delays, my cousin says it’s not even raining in Newark!” and “why are you boarding? The flight doesn’t leave for 10 more minutes.” People in airports are awesome. They stand in the center of the moving walkways and escalators, effectively blocking those attempting to use the aforementioned for their intended purpose: to quicken your walk from point A to point B. They let their “emotional assistance animals” (aka untrained pets flying for free without the requirement that they be kept in a pet carrier) shit in the middle of the terminal and all over the plane and do not make any attempt to clean it up or even notify anyone that it has occurred so the flight attendants and ground personnel have to scrub the floor while simultaneously vomiting in the jetbridge trash can from the smell (yes, that happened last week). They bring 70-lb double-wide strollers to the gate that do not fit through the jetbridge doors. They can walk ¼ mile down the concourse to buy a pizza and back but insist that I push them in a wheelchair from the gate area the terribly inconvenient 30 feet to the plane. They stand two feet from my face, playing on their phone, while I make painfully detailed announcements about boarding and carry-on luggage on the PA only to ask me what I just said as soon as I have finished. They are incapable of figuring out their correct destination, flight, gate, or even airline. If a flight is boarding anywhere in the airport on any airline at any time to any city, they will attempt to board it and then get angry and defensive when told they are not in the right place. Clearly, all airline employees are out to trick them. Now, in their defense, there are a lot of airline employees who suck at their jobs and should not ever ever ever work with people. However, the reason that many of them are the way they are is because years of dealing with the flying public has slowly destroyed their hope for the human race. If people behave in their real lives as they do in airports, we are all most certainly doomed. I have worked in the industry only 5 years and have been cussed out in several languages, called every name in the book and some that I’m pretty sure were invented just for such an occasion, physically assaulted, and berated so many times that I have lost all sensitivity and now find things that would make a normal person cry hilariously funny. I find especially humorous the petty details that people allow to upset them. Thankfully, my sarcasm filter operates on a high level when I am at work. Years of acting on stage has taught me to fake empathy to perfection. I don’t care how evil you are, you will not wipe the smile off my face, and this alone is enough to enrage a few inadequate blow hards. The vast majority, however, are not mean. They are foolish. I understand that many people hate to fly. They also do nothing to improve their flying experience. It is within your control (barring an unforeseen meteor falling onto the exact road you are using to get to the airport) to arrive at the airport 2 hours before your flight’s scheduled departure. It is within your control to know what is and is not allowed through security. It is within your control to be at your gate no less than 30 minutes before your scheduled departure time (an hour for international flights). And it is within your control to ask questions if you do not understand something. Every day, I have people board the flight 2 minutes before the door is about to close or miss their flight entirely who claim they were sitting in the gate area and “didn’t hear any announcements.” Everyone else is on the plane. Everyone else heard the announcements. Everyone else followed the very simple instructions and got on the plane when they were supposed to. Everyone else was aware of what time their flight was departing and knew to be paying attention. And everyone else was not shocked that the plane was completely boarded 10 minutes before departure time because there is paperwork to be completed after the last person boards. Everyone else made their flight. I have no sympathy for you if you show up at the airport 20 minutes before your flight leaves. Under no circumstances will you be allowed to board with 7 carry-ons just because “they let you do it the last time”. I will give you any information that you would like to know regarding your flight, but if you are on your cell phone completely unaware of your surroundings, then I cannot help you. Just because there is a gate number on your boarding pass does not mean that the gate cannot change. And just because there is a flight boarding out of the gate you are leaving from 4 hours from now does not mean that it is your flight that is boarding. If your boarding pass does not have a seat assignment (or, in the case of Southwest Air, a boarding zone and number) or says in bold letters “THIS IS NOT A BOARDING PASS”, then you would perhaps want to talk to a gate agent to get a boarding pass before looking shocked that you can’t board the plane with a worthless piece of paper. If there is not a plane at the gate, chances are your flight is not boarding. If there are people still deplaning through the jetbridge, I’m pretty sure your flight is not boarding. I am here to help you take back your intelligence from the mind-altering air that is apparently pumped through every airport in the world. Let’s work together to make travel fun, or at least not extremely painful for everyone around you. Oh, and if you plan on watching a movie on the plane or in the terminal, bring ear buds…unless you want me to trip in your general vicinity, spilling hot coffee all over your noisy electronic device that is broadcasting a movie that nobody else wanted to experience because the world does not revolve around you. This public service announcement it brought to you by airline employees and experienced travelers everywhere.
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