Is there such a thing as airline travel model to which many people transform when they get near or in an airport? Having flown in four planes during this past week, I am beginning to believe that there is. With very little thought, I can cite numerous examples. Here is one of my favorites.

You enter an unusually small boarding area, seeking a seat to wait for boarding. At one glance, you can see five, six, seven seats that have jackets or backpacks or plastic airport bags. No-one ever offers to move said items to accommodate you.

Yes, I realize that some of the items belong to travelers who have temporarily left the area. But upon further scrutiny, I was able to verify that most of these people were traveling alone.

Travelers inevitably have opportunities to be congenial. Instead, in a full plane, the center seat becomes occupied by a young woman who gestures at the seat and mutters, “I’m sitting there.” Perfect – you’re welcome and I’m glad to oblige. For the balance of the flight, she inhabited my space and nearly ran over me to get through the jet-way on the way to baggage claim.

My son’s favorite is the baggage claim behavior. Numerous people will line the entire distance of the baggage claim conveyor. Unless you want to jostle, bump or otherwise inconvenience these parkers, it’s impossible to grab your bag when you see it.

And finally, it’s the space usurpers. On flights where bags fly free (thank you, Southwest!), I can never understand why people need to drag mammoth rolling devices aboard the flight. Are you afraid that you’ll never see your bag again? Or does it take too long to find your space along the conveyor?

On any and every flight, I get knocked and bumped by one of these large bags or backpacks. Do your rights empower you to violate mine? While I’m not the perfect traveler, I don’t object to wailing babies, late departures or people talking loudly and I don’t want to appear to be the curmudgeon. But because I don’t undergo a metamorphosis at 36,000 feet, I always wonder why others do. Shalom.

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