Over the past few months, I’ve been travelling quite a bit. I’m sure that comes as no surprise to anyone. It also probably comes as no surprise when I say that I love travelling, especially when said travel brings me to places I’ve never been before. Of course, don’t assume that means that I love everything about travelling.

Most of my issues with travelling have very little to do with getting to the airport, or the various things one has to do once at the airport. Yes, security can be sometimes slow, but at this point it’s very much like clockwork for me. I know that I can avoid lines by getting electronic boarding passes, heading downstairs at Pearson if the line upstairs is long, or by getting flights that leave Saturday around noon (when Pearson is atypically quiet). There’s also stuff I do to make the process of security simpler, such as emptying my pockets and removing my belt while in line, before I actually arrive at security. All of these are simple actions that seem to make the security process far less stressful for me.

So what does frustrate me about travel? Mostly it’s the lack of etiquette that other travellers often display. As much as I have taken issue with the actions (or inaction) of some of the airlines I’ve flown, my localized frustrations with them pale in comparison to the poor etiquette displayed by some travellers.

I speak of those people who assume that swarming the gate agents prior to boarding – despite the corrals that identify explicitly who should be in which lane, and despite the continued calls for passengers in Zones 1, 2, and 3 only – is a good idea. I also speak of those people who man-spread once seated1, or to those folks who don’t get that if you have a window or aisle seat, you give up the arm rests to the poor soul seated between you. And to those travellers who think that taking their shoes and socks off and resting your feet on my armrest is a perfectly cromulent thing to do2, it isn’t. Don’t do that. Ever. I also refer to those of you out there who feel that you need to push past the passengers seated in front of you so that you can get off the plane first. For the love of all things holy – have some patience3.

Oh, and there’s also a special place in hell for those parental units who allow their children to go wild on a plane. I’m not referring to those parents who are clearly exhausted, or who have crying babies, or who are trying to soothe frightened youngsters. I’m also not referring to those parents attempting to console their wee ones who are puking in the seat next to me, or who have kids who are excited to share all of their toys and stories with me. Your kids might be a bit too friendly or talkative, but they aren’t a problem. Kids are generally never the problem. I am, however, referring to those who have allowed their children to pull my hair or kick my seat, and give me a look of what do you want me to do about it? when I show displeasure with this sort of behaviour.

Recently, with all of the later-than-expected departures and subsequent arrivals, you might think that I’d have flight delays on my list of those things that frustrate me about travel. But in all of the recent cases, the reason for the delay has been obvious or has been sufficiently explained to me in advance. Some of the delays have been related to weather, one had to do with an unsecured engine flap my seatmate noticed before we took off4, and the remaining have been due to overbooking. And as much as the latter might seem ridiculous and super frustrating, statistically speaking, overbooking a flight makes sense to me. And in both of the previous situations in which my flight has been overbooked, the sting of the subsequent delays have been lessened through compensation in the form of two shiny cheques.

This, of course, brings me to my present situation. You see, yesterday my flight from Rigolet to Goose Bay was cancelled because of weather. Today, I find myself sitting and waiting to learn if or when my rescheduled flight might take off. I was supposed to leave at 7:35 am, but I’m getting the sense that I might be spending another night in Rigolet. In terms of all of my delays and cancellations, this one clearly ranks as not the worst.

Another night in Rigolet? Yes, please. Because even flight delays can be an adventure.

1 Dear gents who do this – if your boys are that big you probably should see a doctor.

2 Yes, this sadly has happened to me.

3 There are exceptions here. For example, if you have a connection that you might miss if you have to wait for the herd of people in front of you to get off the plane – do what you can to make your flight. Also, if there’s a medical or compassionate reason to get off the plane immediately – do so.

4 The captain assured us that it wasn’t a safety issue, but I don’t mind the fact that we waited for about an hour until maintenance could secure it for us.


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