Based in Houston, Texas, GEV is a blog by The GreenEyed Venuist. Her posts explore travel and photography through her green eyes.

Travel Woes...I Love Traveling but I Hate the Process

I do not like to waste time waiting in airports. 

In fact, the day before I'm scheduled to fly, I am forever calculating...plotting...trying to decide the perfect time to leave the house, factoring in the time of day, likelihood of traffic on the freeway, time to park at my favorite off site parking lot, ride the shuttle, check-in (which I've likely already done) skip the security line (b/c I'm a proud subscriber to Clear and Global Entry, which means I frequently get PreCheck) and distance to the gate.


Ideally, I would like to enter the airport's automatic sliding doors, blaze past security and walk straight to the gate as they are announcing my boarding group over the loud speaker then skip down the jet way/air bridge and into my seat. Actually...it would be even better if I was arriving at the tail end of the boarding group call. I hate standing in line....being corralled to the gate like a heard of cattle. I hate the impatient people that crowd the gate. In my mind, I envision myself sticking my foot out to trip the people that push past me through impossibly smalls spaces. 


In general, I don't like people in the airport, especially the ones that have little regard for common courtesies like saying, "excuse me" when they bump the luggage hanging off my shoulder. 

I'll tell you what else I hate, (this post is taking a turn that I hadn't anticipated) something that is especially fresh on my mind since I had to endure it on my flight from Brownsville, Texas back home to Houston today. 

I flew into Brownsville this morning for a court hearing on an Embraer super tiny plane. My saving grace on these tiny planes is the rows with only one seat. In my one seated, secluded sanctuary, I am free from any other passengers imposing on my personal space. On my inbound flight, I was fortunate...my office manager selected my seat on the one passenger side of the aircraft near the front. Thank goodness.

I rushed back to the airport to make sure I caught the early afternoon flight home. If my hearing had lasted just a few moments longer, I would have been stuck in Brownsville until 4pm...the next available and the more crowded flight. To my dismay, when I checked my seat assignment, I was confronted with the unfortunate realization that my I would no longer be a party of one in my own personal refuge...instead I would be stuck on the other side, the two seated side of the aisle. But at least I was near the window.....or so I thought.

As misfortune would have it, the 5 huge, loud, possibly drunk Irishmen from the waiting area that I had hoped would be boarding another flight, were all sitting around and right beside me. I watched in horror as they boarded the plane, said a silent prayer that they would keep moving past my row and to the rear and then heard tiny pieces of my heart break as they plopped down in the row right behind me. Then the last and biggest one of them all....sat. right. beside. me. I watched from the corner of my eye as he struggled to slide his girth into the already limited space between his seat and the one in front of him. Then I scooted as far right as I could as he shimmied between the two armrests...causing the middle armrest to raise, breaking my force field of solitude. The gigantic stranger's bottom half spread into my seat, I felt the unwelcome warmth of his hips on my hips and I knew I was in for a long 1 hour flight. 

The Irishman could sense my discomfort. Honestly, there wasn't much either of us could do. He was big...big is an understatement... and there was a little room on my side of the arm rest for him to merge into. Basically, he was practically sitting in my seat with me. We were sharing my seat...and he hadn't even bought me dinner first. 

Sidenote: An airplane seat will keep you honest. I know that I've packed on a few lbs when my hips don't fit in the seat properly so I make for darn sure that I do not physically impose on others...there's hardly any space in those seats anyway. I lost some weight...hit the squats...rode the bike, etc....and I did this for two reasons: 1) I don't like people touching me especially on a long flight. I'm already tall so my knees are touching the backs of the economy seats and 2) I don't want anyone mean mugging and shaming me like I was doing the Irishman lol

Basically, this was me (the black guy):


As the Irishman made his grand entrance (pun intended), I quickly scanned the plane for open seats. My friend brought this to my attention afterward but it's against United Airlines policy for another passenger to encroach on your seat space. Either you get to move, or the encroaching party is moved...but this was a full flight and there was no escaping. 


So I was stuck...sitting next to a guy who looks like the dude in the flowered shirt above and super pissed off....

I could tell that he was intermittently trying to small up...the muscles in his left leg would relax a little and fall on me then he jerked it back like it was an unruly dog on a leash. It didn't help....

By the end of the flight I was about ready to scream. He got up at the "the plane is in park" bong...having to duck to keep from from hitting his head on the ceiling of the plane... and rushed off as if he knew he needed to get the hell out of my way....all the way out of my way. And I was free. It was like he was slightly embarrassed but also didn't really care b/c there was no way out...for either of us. 

To top it all off, there was a child screaming a few rows behind me...amplified b/c it was such a small space. 

I'm just glad it's over...what about you? What foolishness have you dealt with while traveling?  

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