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10 really annoying habits of fellow travellers

Last updated on: November 26, 2012 00:53 IST

10 really annoying habits of fellow travellers

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Aditi Bose

Aditi Bose loves to travel. What she doesn't love are annoying co-passengers. Here are ten reasons why!

I love travelling and have been to most parts of India and also been fortunate enough to visit a few foreign locations as well.

However, during each of my journeys, there has been at least one fellow traveller who has really tested my patience and how much of nonsense I could tolerate.

Thankfully, over the years, the threshold level for the same has been growing.

In hindsight, as I write this article and think back about them, it's surprising how I can actually club them into ten specific groups -- no matter what the mode of transport or the region and country.

Here is a list of my 10 really annoying habits of fellow travellers.

Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh and Dominic Xavier




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1. Excess Baggage

I like travelling light with just a bag pack and on a long journey; at most, I have a small suitcase with me. But I have seen this group is found everywhere -- trying to load the suitcases on the train even after it begins to move, arguing and refusing to pay for excess baggage at airport counters and even sitting with oversized handbags filled with snacks that will last for a year on buses!

Somehow, I fail to understand why they must travel with almost everything that is in their cupboard. And they add to the irritation when they refuse to accommodate fellow passengers and think that they own the entire space available.



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2. Chatty and Talkative

During my travels, is it wrong of me to want to watch the green paddy fields as the train chugs through villages or shut my eyes during an early morning flight? Some fellow travellers seem to feel so, I am sure. Otherwise why is it that almost always the ones who sit next to me invariably happen to be someone who loves his own voice?

The favourite sentence for this chatty lot is "Oh you are from Kolkata? I will be visiting next year" or "Oh you are going to Delhi? My aunt's friend lives there too". But the best one is "Where are you going?" (For heaven's sake, if I am on a Mumbai-Bangalore flight, I must be going to Bangalore!).

It will be unfair if I say that I have found it irritating always because I have met some interesting people and formed quite a few friendships through such conversations too. But, having said that, the fact that over two hours of non-stop jabbering have been a little too taxing on the ears many a times continue to remain very true.




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3. 'I Own this Space'

There should be a seat etiquette rule for all travellers because the number of times that my arms have been nudged out of the shared armrest between two seats is innumerable. And how can I forget all those times when I realized that all empty spaces in the train compartment had been occupied leaving me with no option but to make my suitcase my pillow for the night.



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4. Kids

I have my own so I thought twice before including this. But I have seen both sides of the coin -- when I was single and had to plug my ears when a baby wailed in the seat behind me and when I had my own and had to spend the entire time protecting the both of us from roving eyes.

Travelling with babies is tough. Period. So parents, please manage them well so that their wails are limited and to the fellow passengers -- don't give dirty stares if a child does whine a bit. They are five and not fifty like you.

And yes, please keep your eyes from roving when you see a mother breast feeding her child. It is a normal act so don't act as if you have just spotted a Martian.



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5. Asking for favours

I am generally a polite person with my manners in the right place. For example, while in a bus I like getting up and offering my seat to elderly people. However that does not mean that you take advantage of my nicety. These comments will give you the picture.

  • Please switch seats with me, my little one wants to see when the flight takes off" (I say to myself - your young toddler can really understand so much)
  • "You really don't need that space under your seat, right? Can I keep this packet?" (I say to myself - yes I do mind, the packet smells of horrible pickles).
  • "Could you please take out my bag from the overhead bin, I can't seem to open it" (for the umpteenth number of time)
  • "Are you reading that magazine? Could I read it please?" (I say to myself -- yes I'm reading it. I had just kept it on my lap because I wanted to rub my eyes)


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6. Can't Sit Still

I have never figured out why someone wants to use to lavatory the moment the announcement is made to not use it anymore.

Or for that matter why someone blocks the aisle by getting up to go talk to his suddenly-found-you-are-my-best-friend the moment the air hostesses begin to serve food.

Not to forget how some jump out of their seats as if their pants are on fire soon after the aircraft touches the ground, even if that means pulling out their huge bags from the over head bins and then precariously trying to balance it without dropping it on someone's head.

These 'jumpy' people are found on trains too -- getting down at a godforsaken lonely station in the middle of the night to look for the elusive 'chaiwala' all knowing that the train will begin to move in a few minutes time.



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7. Sickness

Two parts here -- one group who fall sick during travel and the other who travel while they are sick.

For the first group -- medicine companies have come up with many anti vomit drugs. So if you are one who likes to take out all the 'paranthas' and juices once the bus hits the mountain roads, or the aircraft is cruising at a high altitude or the ship is sailing on the high seas, then please pop one of those pills from beforehand. Not only will it keep you from becoming nauseous but will also protect your fellow passengers from having to sit beside you as you turn your mode of transport a petri-dish.

For the second group -- if you have been sick from before and you just have to travel then please have your medicines before your journey so that your fellow tourists are not subjected to your incessant coughs, sneezes or anything contagious.



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8. The 'I Love Working' Class

I really don't want to know how many employees in your company are not performing, which of your stocks have just crashed or the profits your company has been making. So please shut off that phone of yours once the announcement for it has been made on the aircraft.

Most of your fellow passengers have jobs too, so there is absolutely no need to show off. And yes, we own laptops too. So if you indeed must use it for even a short journey then please at least keep your elbows to yourself even when you get into a typing frenzy.



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9. The 'First Class' Stares

I have never understood why those who are travelling first class need to stare through peering glasses as those who are not. Yes, it is great if you are travelling first class and those who are not also wish that they could.

So why give scowling looks to those who pass your seat to move towards their economy class seats and brush past you on the station with their bags to get themselves to the three-tier AC compartment.



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10. Photographing Geniuses

I have seen this group in almost all modes of transport – sitting on the window seat in the aircraft clicking away, desperately trying through incessant clicks and yet failing to capture a tree in the middle of the paddy field as the train passes it by, whining at not being able to capture the crow sitting on the wire because the bus whizzed past it too soon. While it is good to have a hobby, sometimes it does get too much for the one sitting beside such geniuses. Go ahead and capture the moment. But don't begin to whine and crib if you have not and spoil the moment or the peace of your fellow travellers.

I know that this will not end here and that I will again face someone from one of these groups (or maybe even a new group) during my next journey too. However, I really have my fingers crossed and hope that someday people will begin to travel better.



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