Common travel annoyances and how to deal with them

Lauren Corona

Even if you prefer physical books, e-readers are just better for traveling.

The ability to travel vast distances at speed is magical. In just a matter of hours, you could be admiring Big Ben or staring in awe at the Pyramids of Giza. But it's the getting there that's the hard part! From inedible airline meals to the bored three-year-old kicking the back of your seat, traveling can cause you to feel like you truly earned your vacation!

Being prepared can help it all go more smoothly. Here are some common travel annoyances and how to deal with them.


You've arrived at the airport in plenty of time and dutifully made your way through security and into the departure area. You gaze up at the board to find your gate only to discover that your flight's been delayed by three hours. Delays are frustrating, and there's nothing much you can do about them, so just settle in and find some way to entertain yourself. If you've brought a book or downloaded some fun apps for the flight ahead, you might want to avail yourself of them now. Most departure areas also include restaurants, bars, and shops, so you can grab a bite to eat or stock up on sunscreen. If your flight is delayed by a significant length of time, you could be entitled to compensation from your airline. You might also be offered vouchers by the airline to purchase some refreshments while you wait.

Rude airline employees

You expect a certain level of courtesy from staff at the check-in desk, flight attendants, and other other customer service staff on your travels, and when you don't get it, you may feel annoyed or offended. Unless somebody has been extremely out of line, we'd recommend taking a zen approach to this. While it's not an excuse to be unkind, the employee might be having a terrible day, and it's really not worth the effort to complain or work yourself up about it, especially when you're just trying to get to your vacation destination or go home.

Inconsiderate passengers

While you might occasionally cross paths with a brusque employee, it's far likelier that your fellow passengers will be the rude or inconsiderate ones. Common offenses include reclining seats too far back, hogging the armrests, talking loudly on red-eye flights, and pulling on the chair in front when standing up, but the list is nearly endless! Unfortunately, a slight bit of thoughtlessness is part and parcel of traveling, but if someone's being particularly disruptive, either politely ask them to stop doing what they're doing or ask a flight attendant to intervene.

Unappetizing airline food

Unless you have the money to travel first class, unappetizing airline food is one of the inevitabilities of flying. Overcooked, under-seasoned, and often unidentifiable, we'd rather eat almost anything else. We'd recommend packing a decent amount of filling and nutritious snacks in your carry on, just in case the meal is so gross you'd rather pass on it. And even if you usually eat meat, you might have more luck asking for a vegetarian or vegan option. While they're still not gourmet fare, the veggie options are often more appetizing, and they don't contain any "mystery meats."


Let's face it, long-haul flights are boring! Sure, you have that trusty in-flight entertainment, but there are only so many Vin Diesel movies one person can watch. Our first tip is to bring a book, but it should be a page-turner. You might have always wanted to read Proust's collected works, but if your usual reading material is more like Bridget Jones or A Song of Ice and Fire, it might not be the best choice for light reading at 40,000 feet. If you're a fan of mobile gaming, download some highly addictive apps that can be played offline. And since you should walk around regularly on long-haul flights, you might make a few friends with other people trying to stretch their legs.

Long lines

Long lines at security before you board or at passport control when you've arrived can be annoying. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do other than find some way to entertain yourself in the queue. Excessive lines at security are more daunting because you might worry you'll miss your flight. The best way to avoid this panic is to show up early. It's better to pass through security an hour or two ahead of your flight and kill some time in the departure area than stress yourself out worrying you'll be too late to board, or worse, get to the gate after the doors have closed.


Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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