The TSA First-Timer
Getting stuck behind anyone who forgets to remove metal jewelry or tries to bring full-size liquids through will slow down an airport security line. The metal detectors and x-ray machines will see an influx of newbies this month, so patience is a virtue here.
How to handle: get to the airport with plenty of time so stress levels don't sky rocket. Also, make use of any frequent flyer statuses to go down the expedited line, hopefully following other men and women more accustomed to the procedures.
This goes without saying. Excessive alcohol and travel is not a good combination and may lead to yelling, elevated tempers, and inappropriate behavior. An over-served or overly-friendly-and-slightly-creepy fellow traveler puts a damper on the holiday spirit and makes everyone else a little uptight, including cabin crew and other employees.
How to handle: It's best to ignore, but make sure you don't imbibe too much and become one yourself.
Silence is golden. Theres a time and place for socializing and a time and a place for napping. The airplane is frequently deemed both of them, so fingers crossed you don't end up with a seat mate who insists on sharing their life story, or drooling on your shoulder.
How to handle: try to avoid small talk from the beginning. If being cordial but curt doesn't do the trick, try making a quick comment about how you're trying to get some rest and would appreciate to be left to your own thoughts.
The Armrest Hogger
Elbow wrestling on a flight can raise blood pressure and make a journey significantly less enjoyable. Trust that there are still some passengers who don't understand armrest etiquette. For the person who pulled the short straw in the middle seat, they get both. Aisle seats have the freedom of aisle access and window seats have a wall. End of story. For those two-seater rows, the middle needs to be shared.
How to handle: Armrests are pretty long, so a little bit of your elbow towards the seatback can offer some relief. If the entire armrest is aggressively hogged, realize it's not worth starting a fight over and hope your seat mate reads this story soon.
Sitting next to a snorer can be quite annoying on a long ride. It's important to realize that this isn't the ideal situation for that person, either.
How to handle: Put on your headphones, turn up the volume a little bit, and hope for snack service to wake them up.
We've all seen them, the travelers who look as though they're trying to stowaway with half their worldly belongings smushed in the overhead bins. They slow down boarding and deplaning, and are adamant that carry-on luggage is the better way to go. Even more, they're so sure that the regulation 22" carry-on is going to fit in the overhead of a regional jet. Ha.
How to handle: A quick, knowing glance or comment to cabin crew may help in getting those bags gate-checked, but if it's not hurting you, we say let them struggle so they don't try the same stunt in the future.
The Screaming Children
Flying can be uncomfortable for little ones who are dealing with ear pressurization and fatigue. Screaming children, however, is a recipe for disaster for the eardrums of the fellow passengers. While we hope parents will take steps to prevent an auditory onslaught, you can't always count on little ones to behave according to plan.
How to handle: Just as with the snorers, pop on your headphones. A simple, yet respectful, comment to the parents may also highlight your annoyance if they aren't doing anything to stop the temper tantrum.
The Seat Changer
Frequent flyers and those who pay for premium get to choose their seats in advance and do so with careful consideration. This may pose an issue with separated couples or families, or budget travelers who don't want to pay extra to secure seats.
How to handle: A courteous "no, thank you" or "I'd prefer not to" will usually suffice, but if you don't mind the switch then, by all means, get up and move. If you paid extra for a specific seat, we say stick to it.
Hopefully, you won't encounter any of these awful travelers when you head to celebrate this year's holidays. If you have a tips on how to handle any of these, or one we've forgotten, please let us know in the comments below.