The Art of Infiltrating Cultures

Air Fairness – On airplane personal space

Air travel has opened frontiers and enables us to…


Yeah it’s all very cool and everything. But how irritating is to travel by plane? For those who travel often, EXTREMELY.

Take your pick at the many factors that will make your travelling experience a living hell.


It can be transport to and from the airport; paying 5 times more for public transport. Or the angry taxi driver making you fear for your life.

But if you thought the “Grand Theft Taxi” experience or catching diseases, sucker punches and other people’s sweats on the public transport means of your choice was bad enough, then you forgot that you actually GET to the airport.



And the people that still haven’t figured out you need to get your laptop and liquids out of your bag before going through the machine. 9/11 you guys!


Hello you labyrinthic monsters, with your ridiculous duty-free-compulsory paths. Why can’t I get straight to my gate, where I’ll sit reading or binge watching some series until my flight is due? Why can’t I avoid this lot:

This strategy might have worked for previous generations that saw flying as a very ‘special’ experience. And they had to bring gifts. And buy perfume and toblerone. And yeah all the actual reasons why duty free exists, being able to promote cigarettes and alcohol at no moral/tax cost.

No matter what it is – unfriendly airport staff, or shitty airline service, or the ridiculous distances to cover on foot to get to your gate… By far the most irritating of all, the most exasperating experience, most bothersome factor… it’s…


And after all these nightmares, the worst of all is actually… the OTHER passengers.

So here are some of the worst passengers you will encounter and the awful tortures they will put you through. These are all based on true events.

1. The (old) married couple that visits relatives

They have packed plenty of bags of food. They just have no clue how to pack. They are generally visiting relatives, and they have the need to bring everything: biscuits, chocolates, oil, spices, lettuce (yes once they had lettuce!) and other vegetables… All packed in individual more manageable bags that will take all the room in the compartments.

On top of this, the married couple will strongly believe that the compartment right above them belongs to them. All of it. And they will mean to occupy it all with their many bags, liberating themselves from putting even a light jacket between their feet or on their legs.

This is all annoying enough, until the plane is full and the only plausible space to put your own luggage is on their inefficient compartment. Then they might yell at you for using their spot, or pour their biscuit leaking bags on top of your own backpack. Good luck trying to make them understand how compartments are supposed to be used for…

2. The middle seat nightmare

It is an unspoken rule that on a plane, with 3 seats in a row, the middle seat gets both armrests. This is unspoken but fair. The window seat gives you a surface to lean on plus some extra room, and the view. The aisle seat gives you more legroom plus the option of standing up and going to the toilet whenever you please. So what does the middle seat give you? NOTHING. NOTHING. The poor guy in the middle gets nothing. So the unspoken rule says that, at least, they should get access to both armrests.

3. The drunken passenger

Even though in some flights it is illegal to drink, the drunken passenger will always make an attempt at it. The drunken passenger will sometimes wear a suit and look reasonably serious. Until the food and drinks cart will pass. Then the drunken passenger will get agitated and reiterately ask for booze as a pup would dog treats. Beer and wine will make him fine, but vodka and whiskey will make him STINK and there’s not much you can do about it at 35000 feet. In the rare cases of airlines forbidding alcohol on board, the drunken passenger will have provided his own in a flask or less fancy recipients from the duty free, and will sneakily drink from it. Until air stewards tell them off. Once. Twice. Sometimes even three times, like a naughty kid in kindergarten. Because for the drunken passenger, there’s nothing else that matters.

Note: differentiate “the drunken passenger” from “the group of friends drinking beers in collective joy”. Rowdy and loud, they can be a handful too. But the drunken passenger is a loner, and it’s all sad and confusing for those sitting next to him.

4. The barbie with way too much luggage

That hits your head on the way into the plane. Doesn’t apologise. Ever.

She permits herself, at the security control where she makes several people wait behind her, to ask you to help her remove her heel booties because they are stuck. And like an asshole you pull them and give her tips on how to free herself, before realising that this is not your problem and it’s a most inappropriate request for a stranger to demand of you.

The same kind of person will ask you to store her luggage, because that’s her given right.

Note: differentiate “the barbie with too much luggage” from the “tiny old (or is she?) lady”, who will be unable to stand in line behind you at boarding and will have to push and push with her bag digging into your shoulder until your self-esteem and honour is so damaged that you decide not to board the plane after all. This character will be more enervating even, but you will be unable to tell her off and it will leave you feeling like it’s your fault after all. She will mess with WHO you are.

Note2: for clarification, these two characters are not necessarily female.

5. Children, I don’t even


Happy travels everyone!



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