In a little over a month I’ll be heading on a little trip that will take me back to my hometown (Detroit) and then back across the country to San Diego for Comic-Con (WOO!). While the prospect of this trip is quite exciting, there is one thing I’m definitely NOT excited about.
What used to be a place of wonder when I was younger (YAY PLANES!) has turned into a cesspool of anger and sadness. Basically when I walk to an airport I should just start playing Gary Jules, “Mad World” because that pretty much encapsulates how much of a pain in the ass air travel is these days. Come with me won’t you as we look through the cast of characters you’ll meet when you head to the airport! Just always remember…you’re going somewhere fun, you’re going somewhere fun…
The Ticket Counter
So you’ve arrived at the airport ready for a wonderful trip full of adventure and fun. Congratulations. Your first stop? The ticket counter (unless you’re going on a short trip and don’t have baggage to check…in that case…fuck you for getting off easy). Here’s some of the people you’ll meet…
Angry Line Agent
This person is never having a good day and helping you definitely won’t make it better. Odds are you’ve already checked in for your flight at home, need to check a bag and can CLEARLY see which line to get into based on the LARGE sign pointing to it, but this person will still make it a point to stop you anyway. While they’re asking you if you know what airline you are on, whether you checked in online and if you need to check a bag (despite the fact that you’re walking with a bag big enough to pack your entire wardrobe in), about 8 other people are blowing right past you and getting in line ahead of you. They then give you a disdainful look when you act like you don’t need help, which you didn’t, and then point angrily to the exact line you were going to get in anyway.
Family of 20 who take up all the service kiosks and don’t know how to operate a touchscreen
These people are always the group directly in front of you and are generally all talking at an insanely loud volume about where they are headed. How did you all make it to the airport? Did you take a clown car? Was there a convoy? I WANT ANSWERS!
As soon as a few kiosks open up they take them all up as each member looks at the touchscreen like it’s written in some crazy foreign language. Members of the group then look at each other and yell different instructions on how to use this strange magic machine, and yet no one is able to get past the initial screen that says “To Start TOUCH HERE.” Eventually one of the ticket agents decides the hilarity has gone on long enough and helps them through the intricate process of checking in some bags. BTW that hour you had before your flight? It’s down to 10 minutes now.
Now that there are self-service kiosks this person has basically become a glorified baggage handler as their only real job is to get the tag for your luggage, attach it to the bag, and throw it on a conveyor belt. It would seem as though this is a rather easy job. Apparently we’re all wrong in that assessment.
No matter how many people are at the kiosks you are always left standing there, fully checked in and waiting for at least 10 minutes before the agent makes it to your kiosk and takes your bag. Why does it take this long? Usually because they are talking to the other agents and taking their sweet ass time going from kiosk to kiosk. What should literally be a one to two-minute job at each kiosk takes at 10 minutes. I JUST WANT TO GIVE YOU MY BAG! WHY IS THIS SO HARD?!?
Airport Security Station
Your bags are checked and you have a boarding pass, so now it’s time for the REAL fun to begin. There are few times in life when you feel like you’re being herded like cattle. Going through airport security is one of those times. If the cattle around you were insanely stupid that is.
TSA ID Agent
I’ve never been arrested. I’ve never even been around police that much, but when I’m at the airport that TSA Agent pours over my ID like I’m the scariest mother fucker ever. While they are looking at your ID they look up at you, then back at the ID and all the while you’re trying NOT to look suspicious, which generally means you look suspicious as hell. Questions run through your head. Do I look like my picture on my ID? Does the government know about all the pirated music on my computer? Did someone erase my identity like that movie “The Net?” There was a movie called “The Net?”
Finally the agent decides that you look like you and despite the fact that you’re now whistling and holding your hands in your pockets and looking like the most suspicious person ever, they let you through.
Idiot who apparently has never flown before
You know this person. Hopefully it is not you. These people apparently have never flown on a plane before, cannot read clear signs about what can and can’t be on you as you go through security, and are complete idiots who haven’t watched the news and therefore don’t know how airports function.
They stand in the security line and just toss their bag on the table to slide through the x-ray machine. As they walk up they are alerted to the fact that you need to take out your laptop (which was clearly on many signs). They make a production out of that, and as you stand behind them you start to think you’re in the clear. Then you look down. Yep, they’re still wearing their shoes. The agent tells them to take their shoes off, and they do so and throw them on the table as well. After going through this song and dance to remove their
They finally go through the metal detector…and immediately set it off. OH my belt buckle is made of metal? Really? They step out and take off their belt and finally make it through the security station. Meanwhile you are standing there basically naked waiting for 20 minutes as this idiot fails at life. You now have to run to your plane.
You’re through security, have bought yourself some overpriced food and after somehow finding a seat at your crazy crowded gate you’re finally ready to board your plane and get out of Dodge. Only problem is there are still a few assholes left on your journey.
Generally these are the nicest people you encounter at the airport. You’ve already gone through all the other bullshit, so they are generally just there to answer last-minute questions. However, they do have one amazing talent for driving you nuts. Not being able to speak clearly over an intercom. What should be the biggest prerequisite for this job is something they are severely lacking. When they get on the speaker they are either yelling and putting it close enough to their mouth that it feels like you can hear their food digesting in their stomach, or they can’t speak clear English and sound like the adults in Charlie Brown cartoons. Either way you can’t hear what flight or group is boarding and you basically just have to guess that you’re in the right group and hope for the best.
People who crowd around gate line
Unless you’re flying Southwest you have an assigned seat on the plane prior to you boarding. It’s printed rather clearly on your ticket. You have a seat on the plane, and it’s not going away. Despite all these facts there is a segment of the population that will crowd around the gate line like their seat will be gone if they aren’t the first ones on the plane. What is going through their head? I have no clue. They would be harmless if they weren’t standing RIGHT IN YOUR WAY as you’re trying to actually board the plane, and then look at you like you’re crazy as you have to navigate their intricate web of bodies and baggage.
People who don’t understand boarding groups
A lot of people in the first group are also members of this illustrious group. Despite the fact that your boarding group is clearly printed on your boarding pass, these people can’t quite grasp the concept. “Wait you said group 1 can board, but mine says group 4…does that mean I can board now?” These people clog up the line and then get belligerent when they are told they can’t board yet. Are you really THAT stupid that you can’t follow clear instructions? PLEASE DON’T REPRODUCE!
Congratulations! You’ve successfully made it on your flight! Though your flight is probably going to leave about 20 minutes late and you’ll miss your connection since everyone is taking forever putting their bags in the overhead. Sit back and have a cold drink like our friend Samuel L. Jackson up here and let your cares melt away, at least until the baby behind you starts crying right after takeoff.