The whole United Airlines fiasco tugged at the heartstrings of every human being with the Internet and TV access. Why? Because everyone already hates flying and what happened to Dr. David Dao is absolutely everyone’s worse nightmare come to life. Okay, perhaps even your worse nightmare might not be as bad as what happened to Dr. Dao.
Flying is just an uncomfortable experience that we often can’t avoid. Why? Because we have loved ones who live across the country or half-way across the globe that we need to see. Family reunions, births, and deaths of close relatives, graduations and weddings are all reasons we need to travel regardless of the sacrifice. So even though we’re threatened with the fear of becoming the next Dr. Dao or even being a victim of a horrific accident, we’re still going to take the risk and fly.
It’s hard to say that all of the horror stories are going to make people want to fly less because the reality is that flying is often the best (and sometimes the only) option for getting to your destination. But this doesn’t change the fact that flying is an uncomfortable experience in general. Here are the top fifteen reasons why we all hate flying.
15. Over-Booked Flights
Um, no thanks, United Airlines! And just to be clear, United has recently received a lot of bad press for overbooking flights but almost every airline is guilty of this misdeed. Sure, you’ve pre-checked your tickets online, made it past the TSA security checkpoints, and have a ticket in hand that even confirms your exact seat location. But don’t get too comfortable. Deep down inside, everyone waiting at the gate around you all share the same fear that they might end up like Dr. Dao. You never know when the airline might need to run some mysterious algorithm to see who to force off the flight. May the odds be ever in your favor at this point.
14. Expensive Food
Going to an airport is similar to going to a movie theater or theme park when it comes to purchasing consumables. I don’t think it’s remotely possible to spend less than three bucks on a bottle of water in an airport when we all know you could get a 24-pack for the same amount of money at your local Target. Airports are shady business when it comes to food, but don’t be too picky about airport food and just make sure you’ve had enough to eat prior to boarding. Airplane food is even more ridiculously priced. Remember the days when nuts were complimentary? Now, they cost nearly four bucks a pack.
13. Expensive Wi-Fi
Here’s where airlines really play dirty. They know you can’t live without the Internet. So what do they do? They charge you by the half-hour just to get some shitty Wi-Fi connection with little to no security. But you’d rather starve and spend your thirty bucks on the Internet than food, so that’s where you make the compromise. Because let’s face it, we live in a culture that would rather be hungry than bored and unproductive. You can actually get a whole lot done while stuck in the air like clear out your email inbox and check out unnecessary Craigslist goods.
12. Can’t Do Your Business
Airlines pretty much expect you to hold your pee for more than half of the duration of your flight. Unless you’re bleeding from the neck, you better not disobey that fasten seatbelt sign or else you might get scolded. And once the light is off, you can expect to wait in a long line of over five people only to be asked to sit back down until the restrooms are vacant. No loitering in the cabin, please. And if you’re lucky enough to actually make it into the restroom, you might find that it’s nearly impossible to actually do your business. Not only is it uncomfortable, but you feel rushed and a bit embarrassed to Elsa it out and let it go.
11. Lost Luggage
Nothing is more frustrating than being in a totally foreign city without your luggage. Especially when practically everyone else on your flight seems to have received their luggage without any issue and you just happened to be the lucky one whose bags didn’t make it. Thankfully, technology has drastically advanced in recent years and you’re better able to track your bags than you were five years ago. Regardless, it’s still a pain in the ass to wait a couple of days before having to come back to the airport to retrieve your personal belongings. Most of the time, all you’ll get is a simple apology because hey, it happens.
10. Stuffy Ears
You can’t blame the obnoxious toddler for screaming his head off the entire time you’re in the air. Stuffy ears are painful enough for adults let alone children. And no one is absolutely immune to getting them. You can guarantee everyone loses a bit of their hearing while on a plane. Not only are you dealing with the pressure from the change in atmosphere, but also the noise from the engine while being confined to a small space as well. All of these make for a bad situation for the ears and you better be sure to chew on some gum.
9. Long Check-In Lines
Airlines don’t share the same sentiments as Target or Wal-Mart when it comes to long lines. They really don’t give two shits that you’re running late for your flight. They will not open up another lane just for you. This is why you should always plan to arrive at the airport a couple of hours early or just fly first class. There’s always a chance that you might end up waiting in the check-in lanes for well over an hour. So pack light and be prepared. You also never know what you’ll end up having to throw out at this point. Don’t take any expensive creams on board with you unless you want to risk having them confiscated. TSA has no mercy when it comes to their no-liquid policies.
8. No Leg Room
Can you believe that some airlines would actually charge you well over a hundred dollars just for four extra inches of leg room? And this wouldn’t even put you in the business class section, just at the front of the economy cabin. What a perk, right? But if you’ve ever sat in this in-between section, you’d quickly realize what a difference those extra four inches actually makes. In some cases, you might be able to go to the restroom without asking your seat mates to get up. So, if you’re a bulky guy or gal, it might be worth the extra couple of hundred bucks.
7. Limited Cabin Storage
Once you’ve made it on the plane, it can become a rat race just to find room for your carry-on luggage. There’s always those jerks who made it before you and took up an entire overhead compartment just so that they could store their luggage horizontally along with every article of clothing they wore. But you can’t complain because the concept of first-come-first-serve works against your favor in this scenario. The below-your-seat storage areas are also a joke since they’re just about enough to store maybe your lunch. If you stuff too much down there, you can drastically compromise your leg room.
6. Rude Flight Attendants
Seriously, I’m not sure how some of these people made the cut. You wouldn’t want to be stuck in the air with them let alone have them serve you food. Don’t get me wrong – every now and then you might be surprised with a rare flight attendant who seems to really enjoy customer service. But the majority of them would give you a condescending air if you press the help button and you’re not actually in any major distress. Nothing would tick them off more than being up and in the way, while the fasten-seatbelt light is flashing or while they’re serving refreshments.
5. Traffic on the Taxiway
You’re all buckled in and ready for take-off. There’s just one problem – the plane is not quite ready to take off anytime soon. In fact, you look out your window only to realize that your plane is sixth in line for take-off. Now, your flight is delayed by another twenty plus minutes and you can’t turn to your smart phone for company either. This is why you should always plan on bringing a magazine or book with you if sleeping on the plane isn’t your thing. You never know when you’ll be stuck in a non-moving plane for who knows how long.
4. Fear of Crashing
I’m just stating the obvious. Everyone has some fear of the worse case scenario lingering in the back of their heads when they fly. Regardless of how many times you’ve flown and how low the statistics for plane crashes actually are. You still know that nothing is fool proof and anything can happen at anytime. We all know that everyone has to die some day whether it’s in the air or crossing a street, but we sure hope it’s not in a plane. Not only are you trapped with none of your loved ones around you, but you feel pretty helpless.
3. The Temperature is Never Right
The temperature inside a plane is predictable in a sense that you can predict it to be pretty uncomfortable. One minute, you’re feeling humid, hot, and stuffy, and the next minute, you feel like you’re in an ice box. What’s even worse is forgetting your sweater or jacket simply because it’s summer and you packed light. Don’t expect much out of airline blankets and pillows either. Even if they’re available, they lack in quality and might leave you more uncomfortable than before you requested one. And then there’s the feeling of being stuck in a small space with tons sweating humans. Not fun.
2. Inconsiderate Row Mates
Let’s face it – airline etiquette isn’t common knowledge. Some people live on Mars and think the concept of first come, first serve also applies to sitting in whichever seat you prefer. They think that having a seat assigned to you means that you’re pretty much able to sit in any seat within that row. Nothing is more annoying than finding your row mate in your seat simply because he thought you either wouldn’t show or wouldn’t care. Uh, no. You picked that exact seat for a reason. What else might you find annoying? Row mates who leave the windows opened while you’re trying to rest. Have some decency, people.
1. Inability to Sleep
I’ve always envied people who could sleep anywhere they wanted to, even on a plane. These are the kinds of people who sleep like monks. It’s truly a talent given the combination of turbulence, ear pressure, and uncomfortable seats – not to mention the lack of leg room. For the majority of us, however, it’s nearly impossible to sleep on a plane. Even if you could, you wouldn’t want to risk missing the drink cart by a couple of minutes. Or even worse, you don’t want to accidentally fall asleep on the shoulder of a complete stranger, especially if you haven’t quite mastered the vertical sleep position yet.
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