Joco Opinion

August 5, 2014

Snarky in the Suburbs: Air travel these days is pretty much like Walmart with wings

If it’s not pajama-wearing adults carrying their full-sized pillows, it’s the sushi-eating passenger yakking on their phone.

Raise your hand if you remember wearing your Sunday best to travel on an airplane. I can even recall going shopping with my mother for my plane outfit. It was a big deal to go up, up and away.

Now air travel is like Walmart with wings.

Is it just me or does the number of people wearing their pajamas in the middle of the afternoon to catch a flight to Dallas give you pause?

Like, you couldn’t at least have pulled on a pair of track or yoga pants? Same concept: There are no buttons or zippers to stump you. It’s just stepping into two leg holes and using a modicum of upper body strength to hoist those bad boys up.

I was at LAX last week and I entertained myself during my flight delay (of course) by counting the number of adults wearing PJ bottoms and flip-flops. I stopped at 14.

And don’t get me started on the fools who drag pillows and blankets through the airport. There’s your terrorist threat because anything that’s getting a massage by the bacteria collector known as the TSA security conveyer belt is ground zero for some sort of toxin that will take out half of the West Coast. What is it about grown ups needing a full-size pillow and a blankie on a plane?

I get the travel pillow. It’s discreet, fits in your carry on and is hermetically sealed. Adults clutching a king-sized pillow as they wander through an airport makes me a little nauseous. Like, literally, my gag reflex kicks in. I watch in horror as they take the pillow into the restroom and in one case I saw a woman place her pillow on the floor of the stall. (Give me a second as I fight through the urge to hurl.)

This same woman then took her foul pathogen-laden public restroom pillow into the Southwest terminal Starbucks and laid it on the table! THE TABLE. For this act alone she should have been arrested and charged with endangering the health of safety of her fellow travelers. Thank the lord she and her pillow were not on my flight.

I’m thankful that talking on your cell phone is not yet allowed on planes. Because I doubt the science to back up the FAA’s claim that it’s dangerous. Well, it’s dangerous, but not in the FAA way. The danger stems from fellow passengers losing their mind and getting violent over the idiot that won’t shut up and get off their phone.

I’ve had to do some cleansing breaths and talk myself down a couple times just from being next to a goober who’s in super chatty cell phone mode before the plane takes off. People of Earth: Just because you have a cell phone doesn’t mean you have to use it. You’re not that fascinating or important. Turn it off.

In fact, I think if and when the nonstop cell phone use gets the green light I might have to seriously rethink air travel.

I’m already half way there due to all the food carried on.

There should be some kind of smell limit (let’s call it a smellometer) that your food can’t exceed if you wish to bring it on the plane. I don’t even have that sensitive of an olfactory system. (Hello, mother of teenagers here. I’ve got a nose that can handle boy feet.) But there’s been some food people have brought on planes that almost did me in.

For example, who carries onto the plane a sushi sandwich that smells like B.O. and decomposing dolphin? The answer to that question would be my seat mate on a flight to New York. I had to go into emergency triage mode and use my scarf and a one-inch stack of antibacterial moist towelettes (I always travel with a pack) to fashion a breathing mask over my nose and mouth.

Now you would think this would be a clue to my seat mate that he was causing his fellow passengers (or at the very least, and most importantly, me) great distress, but no. He continued eating and then proceeded to experience extreme flatulence issues. To survive I kept squirting my Bath and Body Works travel size lemon hand gel into my moist towelettes and had to take cleansing hits just to get through the flight. When that stopped working I went to Plan B, which was inserting the hand gel directly into my nose.

Oh, and of course the guy had a pillow.

Freelancer Sherry Kuehl of Leawood writes Snarky in the Suburbs in 913 each week. You can follow her on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and read her blog at She’s also written a book, “Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School.”

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