Airports- home of the “Hurry Up & Wait” phenomenon…

Of late the MyCityByNight crew has been doing their fair share of missioning aroundSouth Africato spread the urban culture gospel, with me bearing the brunt of the travels. All of this time in airports has given me plenty of time to think about all the things that I both love and loathe about home of the airplane.

The first thing you notice when you arrive at your airport of choice is the fact that everyone seems to either rushing to get somewhere, or not one bit bothered with time. Its one of those places where the two polar opposites can exist side by side without the world imploding. There are the people that bring their entire family along to say goodbye to them even though they’re on a domestic flight away for the weekend and then there are those that travel solo, like me.

Once you’ve managed to navigate the totally nonsensical signs (this is especially true in South African airports) and check in, you finally get to the safety scanning section where the irritation begins. Even though there is technology available that allows the authorities to see through your laptop bag and check whether your laptop is actually a bomb, they still insist on you removing your ipad, laptop or netbook from its bag every freaking time you go through the scanners to the departures area. Then to make things worse, they hurry you along as you’re struggling to open your bag, while maintaining control of the 15 other bits of luggage that you have with you.

You’ve made it through to the other side and if you aren’t able to go and drink for free in one of the airport lounges or are at an airport that hasn’t been kind enough to supply these, you’re probably looking for something to keep you entertained. As strange as this sounds I like to watch people in airports- it’s unbelievably entertaining. I find particular enjoyment watching the guys… who are watching the girls. I like to play a little game where I try to figure out, which of the guys in the airport are gay. Admittedly it’s not the most scientific of games, but it does keep me intrigued for the entire time that I’m there.

You see, in my opinion straight guys are pretty much hardwired to do a quick assessment of a female counterpart that passes them by, while they’re chilling and waiting for their flight. As the woman approaches, the guy gives a quick gaze to the face to assess whether a bag might be needed to make procreation bearable. It’s important to note that this particular gaze is normally quite quick look, as to not catch the eye of the woman for too long or draw attention to themselves as a stalker. If there is time or if the woman’s cleavage is banging this gaze may be extended to the breast area.

Once the female in question passes the guy, he will engage in a glance at the posterior of said woman, varying the length of gaze based on how tight or rounded (depending on preference) her bum is. It works almost every time and generally the guys who don’t do this are the ones that are gay (obviously proved, when their gay boyfriend joins them to chat about the latest episode of the Kardashians). As I already mentioned, it’s hardly scientific, but damn is it fun to play.

So you’re waiting for the bing bong bing that announces that the gate for your flight has been opened. As soon as the announcement for boarding is made, people always rush to the desk, forming a massive queue. Now I understand the point behind this if the plane is parked right next to the gate or next to one of those skygate thingies that puts you straight on it, that you might want to get onto the plane first and make sure that there is a spot for your luggage before you sit down. If you have to board a bus to ferry you to the plane, which is almost always the case- the bus waits till all or most of the passengers are there before missioning down to the plane, meaning that you all get there at the exact same time (because you are on the same bus) and will only be able to get on the plane first if you dash down the runway to the plane door, looking a little bit like a tosser.

The next bit that bothers me has to be the plane luggage compartments. Or maybe it is the fact that everyone brings the most ridiculous hand-luggage onboard (me included). One of the biggest stresses that anyone can face is finding a spot for your hand luggage that is near to your seat. I freak out every single time, worried that there won’t be space for my hand luggage under my seat, in the overhead compartment or anywhere on the plane. I’ve had nightmares about that shit.

Then there are the flight attendants themselves. There must be some sort of unspoken law that dictates all female flight attendants have to have the make of a blow-up doll and hairstyles straight out of the 80’s. I mean some of them would be so worth it if they didn’t look like Thai transvestites when they came to work. Granted, asking people whether they want the beef or chicken meal 200 times on the same flight isn’t the most glamorous thing in the world to do, I would think that they could at least try. I mean you’re touching my food. Come on.

Then the bit that has to be ranked as the most irritating thing about the whole task of flying happens once the plane lands at whatever destination I’m supposed to be at. Yes you all know what I’m talking about. It’s that mysterious phenomenon of “Hurry Up & Wait”. The plane lands and all of a sudden everyone unbuckles their seatbelts and jumps up to get their luggage, only to stand there like cattle in the aisle while they wait for the plane door to be opened. Why??? Why oh why would you do that? You are only able to leave the plane once the door is open, so why not just wait until they do that instead standing around like a complete weirdo with some fat guy rubbing his crotch against you, while you’re waiting to leave. I suppose there have to some crazies around in the world to make me look normal (for once).

Airports… Hurry up and wait.

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Im a guy with a very particular view of life... im not quite sure what that view is just yet, but when I find out I'll be sure to let you know...


  1. Yeah, i never really understand the people that unbuckle their seat before the plane has even parked yet. Only to get their bags out of the locker, maybe move 3 rows forward and stand like a douche, getting in other peoples way that are trying to get their own bags for their locker.

    Then once they RUN out of the plane, scream over the sky walk, only to stand there like a douche once more, waiting for their bags to come around on the conveyor belt. And god forbid if they miss their bag on the belt. END OF THE WORLD.

    The only time that jumping out of your seat is a good idea, is when you know that you are going to stand in a queue for passport control. If you have one of those sweet ass Burgundy passports, just chill babes. You’re on holiday, hopefully. 🙂

    1. “If you have one of those sweet ass Burgundy passports, just chill babes. You’re on holiday, hopefully”

      – Classic line there Karel, I’m lagging hard 🙂

      1. That is the best… One of the most classic lines I have read in a while! Nice one Karel.

  2. I must admit that I chuckled and agree with your article, I used to do a lot of Business traveling. Especially into the african countries which I still do the odd trip here and there like last week to Lesotho. And I have always wondered why people suffer from the hurry and and wait syndrome??? your Are goint to have to que at the door, the carousel, Imagration ect. Haha…

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