– an investigation of the human condition

Nobody likes a complainer…

So, I’m in Amsterdam. After about 24 hours worth of  flying and transits, I’m finally here.I left Sydney for Singapore at about 3:30pm Friday afternoon, and after a three hour transit in Singapore took the second (and much longer) leg to arrive in Amsterdam at approximately 7am Saturday morning.

For the first leg I was sitting next to 6 year old Bruno and his 2 year old sister, Amelia. For the second leg I sat next to an elderly couple (their names I did not ask for)….. which do you think was worse? Nobody ever wants to sit next to little kids – they can be unruly, messy, noisy and obnoxious- are more prone to travel sickness and are fairly inconsiderate when it comes to sleeping times and keeping their voices down….. right? And, well, the opposite would be the more  mature people who are probably veteran travelers or have things in perspective following years of experience….. right? Wrong.

The old folk – or more specifically, the elderly woman, was a nightmare to sit alongside. She did not cease to complain to her husband for the entire 14 hour flight. And she really didn’t make any effort to conceal her disdain, speaking at normal conversational volume in an otherwise incredibly silent cabin. “I want a window seat.” “These tv screens are far too small, the other plane had bigger ones!.” “There was a guy infront of me who was in the toilet for 20 minutes! I thought he was having a shower in there or something.” “The temperature in here is far too hot, if it was any hotter I’d cook. “They better have chicken available for dinner, otherwise I won’t be able to eat anything else.” “The estimated time of arrival is 20 minutes earlier than the time written on our itinerary. How can that be?!” Oh, and my favourite one at takeoff “Hmm… sounds like the plane is about to fall apart, doesn’t it? Doesn’t sound very safe”. I actually felt for her husband who just nodded, smiled, “okayed” and tried to calm her down for the majority of the journey. I had to find a good album on the inflight entertainment unit to drown her out and only took my headphones off when I needed to move from my seat to go to the toilet or stretch my legs.

In comparison, Bruno sat with his Nintendo DS and Pokemon game for about 7 hours with a big grin on his face, happily enjoying the trip and making the most of the experience. His little sister, watching the Wiggles. And yes, Bruno accidently spilled his food on his clothes once, and yes, he accidentlly knocked me while I tried to sleep and woke me up – but things like that are easy to shrug off.

I guess the point of this story is, the old guy should really buy his wife an NDS and introduce her to Pokemon.

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2 responses

  1. Sam

    Thats really interesting. Just curious, but how would u describe the perfect person to sit next to?

    July 1, 2011 at 11:44 am

  2. jono

    Sam, the perfect person to sit next to would be any polite and considerate traveller who is aware of those around them! There are so many hilarious “best” and “worst” lists when it comes to plane etiquette – and most of them are very spot on!

    September 15, 2011 at 4:51 pm

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