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A bitter man

Grouse of the week: Airports

George Clooney in a still from ’Up In The Air’.
George Clooney in a still from ’Up In The Air’.

There is no greater observatory of odious behaviour than an airport. It begins at the check-in counter. Actually, a few steps before that when you are about to enter the queue. “Sir, are you flying business?" I feel like saying: “No, I am flying cattle class but I am a gold card holder so I am about to enter the preferential queue. Do grant me some intelligence."

Then you stand in line behind this slick dude and you wait for him to go up to the lady at the counter—only to discover that he was standing at the wrong airline check-in counter.

“Oh, this is not the GoAir queue?" No, it’s not. You feel like injecting him with sodium thiopental. Instead, you pop an Alprax yourself, to steady those nerves.

And then the security snafus. Those philistines who try and get ahead in the queue with their simpering “my gate is going to close". Or, even worse, those who, while getting frisked, discover their cellphone and then run back into the queue. It is all so distressing.

It is, however, while people are boarding that I seriously lose it.

There are the strolley wielders who have failed to realize that their suitcases have four wheels and thus need not be dragged. At least not over my feet. But the guys who get my goat are the backpack blokes who hit you in the face as they try and squeeze their way through. There is a reason why backpacks have handles. These are meant to help you carry them inside an aircraft. Equally annoying are the people who perilously carry a cup of coffee while texting as they go past you. Then, there are those latecomers who have arrived 3 minutes before doors are closing with four bags. They then proceed to open the overhead compartment and violate the meticulousness with which you have placed your satchel.

Finally, I get quite infuriated at the guy in the middle seat who proceeds to treat 1E as the throne of the king, with his arms across both hand-rests. And the guy in the window seat who has serious issues and insists on pole-vaulting his way to the aisle five times during the flight.

Then there are those troublesome ladies who insist on hearing bhajans in the flight without their earpieces. Or the guy who decides, mid-flight, to come up and have a 30-minute conversation with his friend in the seat ahead of yours.

Finally, after the miserable flight lands, there is further misbehaviour. There is the usual race to edge past you while disembarking. The incessant ring of the cellphones. And finally that smug character that has been sitting all along and decides to pull down his bag just when you are about to get ahead.

They tell me pilots have the most stressful jobs. I think we passengers do.

Douglas Adams was right when he said, “It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression, ‘as pretty as an airport’".

A fortnightly columnette on minor grouses that cause major aches.

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