There is something you should know about tourists;

They come in all sizes and shapes,  and chances are if you get on an

airplane–and a 300+ lb person gets on that airplane also, dollars to

doughnuts that person will squeeze in next to  you.

What can be worse is when two three hundred pound tourists get on that

airplane and you are in the window seat

and they jam their obese bodies into the middle and aisle seats.

Been there and done that.

I like to people-watch at the airport–because the days are long gone

when travelers dressed up in nice slacks and shoes

with a new sweater or jacket to put on if the temperature inside the airplane gets too chilly.

Nowadays, passengers board the plane wearing torn and dirty jeans, flipflops or grubby sneakers — and I have had the misfortune to sit next to passengers who smelled like they hadn’t bathed in weeks.

Then there are the tourists who board the plane and make themselves AT HOME, taking up all of their own space and as much of yours as they can capture.

(These are the people who  will lug an oversized suitcase on board–although why the airlines permit this is beyond my understanding–and they will most determinedly push and shove  the suitcase into the bin above your head while you crouch with your hands over your head hoping it isn’t going to fall on you).

These people often travel with young children who scream through take-offs and landings (air pressure hurts their ears)

Or, if they are sitting in front of you, the child peers over the top of the seat to stare at you through weeping eyes and running noses

Or if he or she is sitting behind you, the child repeatedly kicks the seat in front of him–the one that you are sitting in. (one or both parents are busy going over their itinerary for the next two weeks, completely oblivious to whatever junior is doing kicking the back of your seat).

Then there are the tourists who are busy sight-seeing at whatever destination you have all chosen –I’m thinking of the ones who move into your line of vision as you are about to take a photograph. and stand there. and stand there.  And stand there. So you finally move a few feet to the left or to the right and the person moves back into your line of vision.  (“Oh, were you trying to take a picture?” of course not. I just wanted to photograph your fat ass).  No, I don’t say this to someone (another tourist) I just think it.

And then there are the unforeseen events such as your flight being cancelled at the very last minute, after everyone has been on board for half an hour. (this was due to a flat tire that couldn’t be replaced anywhere in Cincinnati) – so everyone had to get OFF the plane, get BACK in line and re-book.  I heard language one usually doesn’t associate with a line at the airport.

Or, more recently, the discovery that my return flight didn’t exist. (I will say that the customer service manager who took care of reissuing my flight…was friendly and cheerful (of course he was! HE wasn’t trying to get on a flight back home) he remarked that I was the third one that day that this happened to.

Tourists.  They come in all sizes and shapes


Sandra Lee Smith/written March, 2010

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