There is only one thing that can dampen the excitement of an overseas holiday, and that’s the long haul flight to get there.
(Oh, and a shampoo explosion through your bag. That will also knock the corner off your enthusiasm.)
In order to escape our antipodean shores, you are staring down the barrel of up to 24 hours in transit. With stints stretching up to 15 hours in the sky at one time, long distance flights become less of a practicality and more of an exercise in survival. From comfortable underwear to a never ending supply of eyedrops; it is only with practice that you learn to master the art of long haul travel.
The more you fly, the more you notice that there are a few categories of people that appear, without fail, on every flight. The best you can hope for is that you don’t get seated next to them. Whether you’re a newbie backpacker or a seasoned traveller, we’re sure you will recognise at least a few of these eight people you’ll always meet on a long-haul flight.
The Frequent Flyer
The FF is easy to spot because, unlike the rest of you peasants, they carry nothing. Forget neck pillows, 3L water bottles, or exploding carry on luggage; the FF has the art of travelling light down to an art. They will glide on into business class with little more than a teeny tiny suitcase, smug smile, and European tan. Watch and learn, losers.
A long haul flight is actual hell for the Germophobe. They will try and keep their burgeoning panic at bay with a facemask, gloves, and scores of antibacterial hand gel, but deep down? They are seconds away from pulling open the emergency exit and sacrificing their life (and yours) for some fresh air.
The Chatty Susan
It’s remarkable that people like The Chatty Susan have made it this far in life without someone giving them a whack over the ears. WHY, pray tell, do you think it is appropriate to strike up a long winded conversation with someone who literally – literally – cannot move away from you?
If she’s not talking, she’s fiddling. Then she puts her iPhone away and now she’s writing. Now she’s texting! And now she’s back in her bag, rummaging through her purse, looking for headphones and then suddenly it’s time for a walk!
The Angry Flight Attendant
You woke her up. You do know that, right? You woke her up from her much-needed nap to get you a glass of orange juice, you monster. With hair that doesn’t seem to move but a face that gets slowly more twisted the longer flight goes on, The Angry Flight Attendant doesn’t give a flying f*ck that you’re cold and forgot a jumper. If it was up to her, you’d all freeze to death.
The Sleeper is the most selfish of all passengers on a long haul flight. After dumping a gratuitous Xanax, they will proceed to create a filthy nest at the cost of everyone around them. Screw safety tips — he doesn’t need them. Expect feet in the aisle, scarf pillows resting on shoulders, and excessive snoring just centimetres from your face. Glad you’re having such a nice rest.
The Flustered Parents
It’s hard not to hate The Flustered Parents, despite the fact you know the screaming, red-faced demon child that’s ruining your trip is not their fault. Their harried looks and black circles under their eyes should be enough to excuse them from your sleep deprived wrath but…it’s not. *Death stare*
The First Timer
When everyone else is shuffling towards the exit zombie-style after landing, The First Timer is bouncing along like a goddamn Berocca commercial. Their enthusiasm is not endearing. Check your boogie board case carefully, kid.
GROSS. Gross, gross, gross. The Couple have lost sight of appropriate behaviour and instead opted to turn your Airbus A330 in their own personal loveshack. Expecting bouncing blankets and muffled groans after lights out. Also expect sheepish looks once lights are back on. My advice? Hiss ‘Shame!’ at them at every given opportunity.
The best – and only – way to get through an international flight is to bunker down and block out the motley crue of society’s worst that will be seated around you. Get cosy with some serious beanie/scarf action, thrown down a sleeper, and let those noise-cancelling headphones do their thing. With any luck, everyone else will slowly fade away into a blur of ‘please get your feet off my chair’. Bliss.