Let me introduce you to my favorite game, “Airport Bingo.”
As someone who has lived on three continents and traveled to a handful of others, I spend copious amounts of time at the airport. And really, when you’re spending the second night in a row in the Chicago O’Hare airport because of snow, you have to find some way to keep your spirits up, or you will become just like everyone else.
In my case, I play Airport Bingo.
[All three “Airport Bingo” sheets are available at the end of this blog post. Just save and print them for your next trip!]
The rules are simple. In fact, I went ahead and made three scorecards, so you can play with friends. The winner gets to choose which over-priced beverage or snack they want from a nearby news stand; the losers have to split the bill. Or, if you play alone, it’s a great way to pass the time.
Rules of Airport Bingo:
Pick you card (or make your own). Whoever completes “Bingo” first wins. You can also play for “Double Bingo” (but playing Blackout Bingo is useless, since everyone has the same fifteen options.)
Feel free to add your own “types” of people – I wrote this post at the airport, waiting for my connecting flight (surprise, surprise). My fiance spent an hour chatting and pointing out “types” of people at the Nashville airport.
1. The in-flight drunkard
“What kind of hard liquors do you serve?”
Typically sitting toward the back of the plane (closer to the booze and flight attendants), this guy has the whole “drunk while 30,000 ft above central America) down to an art. Perhaps he spent too long at the airport bar, paying for over-priced drinks while chatting up other singles; perhaps she’s had a really rough day and needs a drink to get through the flight.
The in-flight drunkard also seems to have a never-ending supply of free drink coupons.
2. The late passenger, rushing to make their connection
When you hear their labored breathing and pattered footsteps behind you, you instinctual step out of the way.
I’ve been this person many a times. Sometimes I make the connection, sometimes I don’t. Such is life. Every once and a while, someone working in the airport will feel sorry for me and offer a ride in their cart to my gate.
3. Upon landing, the person who jumps up as soon as the “fasten seatbelt” sign goes off so they can cut ahead of the line – even if it means elbowing a little old lady out of the way – to get a whole two rows ahead of the other people in their row
“[On the phone] Yeah, I managed to get almost three rows ahead before everyone else stood up and started fiddling with their luggage. Ugh.”
I witnessed this the last time I flew from Austin to Philly – a man was in a hurry to make a connecting flight (oddly enough, the same one I was one). As soon as the fasten seatbelt sign went off, he rushed forward. He got two rows ahead before the aisle filled up, and even then, she tried to slip in front of an elderly women, hitting her with his stomach and knocking her back into her old seat isle. Then he proceeded to pull out his phone, call his friend, and complain about how he might not be able to make his connection because a bunch of people were “loitering in the aisle.” My only thought (aside from the did you really just push a woman with your stomach back into her seat? was … you realize we can all hear your conversation, right? Is that intentional? )
He got off the plane a whole minute and a half ahead of me (good for him) and with some brisk and purposeful walking, I passed him somewhere around gate C 25. We both made our connecting flight.
Don’t shove old ladies so you can get two rows ahead. That kind of makes you a jerk. Wait your turn.
4. The overly-prepared traveler
They have energy bars, anti-nausea medicine, an external battery for their laptop, a slew of games, movies to play on their laptop, and books to read. Yet, despite their reservoir of supplies, they always seem to pack light.
They are the pros of air travel and seem to make the best seat-mates.
5. The woman who spends copious amounts of time in the bathroom fixing her makeup before landing
You can find this woman in her natural habitat – holding up a long line of uncomfortable passengers at the back of the plane during the last hour of flight time. Every once and a while someone will knock, to get the answer “Just a minute!”
And, true to her word, ten minutes later, she will emerge from the bathroom unapologetically clutching her makeup bag with a pristine, manicured hand – a cut above the rest of us who drank too many free apple juice boxes mid-flight.
Lady, I get that you want to look “100% presentable, all the time,” but I guarantee the mirrors in the bathroom in the airport have MUCH better lighting than the cramped, sketchy airplane bathrooms. Plus, we all really have to pee. And I kind of hate you now.
6. The hard-core sleeper
You know this person when you see them: ear plugs, neck pillow, back pillow, blankets, and a functional eye mask. Sometimes you will even see them popping a couple sleeping pills before the plane takes off. They know what they like (sleeping) and what they don’t (noisy, bumpy airplanes) – you have to give them kudos.
7. The “talker,” trying to find sympathetic ear
“Oh, you’re from Texas? I once passed through El Paso on the way to California. My granddaughter lives in California, she is an artist and owns her own studio. Here is a picture of her latest art-show.”
A regular hit or miss, these kind (often lonely) souls are looking for a friend. My favorite are elderly men and women who show me pictures of their grandkids and/or tell me stories from their youth that somewhat relate to something I might have mentioned. They always have the best stories.
On that note, my least favorite “lonely” soul are the ones a similar age to myself. Typically a woman in her late twenties to late thirties, she wants to talk about her horrible job, lousy ex-boyfriend, and past accomplishments. And then gets upset if you try to read your book, because she has a really interesting story to tell you about the creepy guy that hit on her last week when she was downtown. When my friend tells me awkward dating stories, I’m all in – but if I don’t know you, I’m not obligated to laugh at all your jokes when all I really want to do is beat level 168 on Candy Crush Saga (I have a problem).
8. The poor soul who has been in transit for 28 hours
“What day is today? Thursday…? Oh man… I need to shower.”
Perhaps they are travelling internationally; perhaps they just missed a couple connections or were stranded in an airport overnight because of bad weather.
Bed hair, deep bags under their eyes, smugged makeup, and a vague smell of stale air. They spend the flight in a state of partial consciousness, ready to follow asleep at the drop of a hat (mid conversation).
9. The person who spends the flight complaining about how “babies should not be allowed to fly”
Don’t be a baby-hater. I get that babies are annoying when they cry… but you are equally annoying when you whine. If it bothers you so much, bring earplugs next time. No need to make the exhausted parents feel any worse about it.
[Note: It is totally and completely 100% ok to complain to friends and family later about the screaming baby, but don’t do it in front of the parents, especially if you are only complaining to try to guilt the parents into never taking their small human on a plane ever again. That’s just mean. Tiny humans (babies) have rights too.]
10. The young, first-time flyer who, after take-off, learns flying in a plane isn’t as fun as they thought it would be
“Woah, look at all the houses. They’re so tiny. We’re flying! … … This plane is loud. I want to run around the plane. What do you mean ‘sit down and shut up for the next three hours?”
I pity these young flyers. They start so hopeful and excited… until they realize that flying in a plane isn’t as excited as the Car’s spin-off “Turbo” leads you to believe.
11. In the event of a delay, the person who complains loudly (and often) about how *they* might miss their connecting flight
And demands the steward or stewardess to change them to a quicker flight/call ground control at the upcoming airport to hold the next plane/tell the pilot to fly faster.
Trust me, you’re not the only one worried about a missed connection.
The flight attendant is not going to call ground control at Chicago Airport to hold your plane for you, she is not able to switch you to a different flight 30,000 feet above the ground in a flying metal box, and she is also not going to tell the pilot to fly faster (all of these are things I’ve heard people ask flight attendants; I used the word “she” because all three happened to women).
Freaking out about your connection won’t solve anything; as soon as you land (if you miss your connection), head over to any of your airline’s desks and ask to be put on another flight. They want to help you. They really do. I’ve done this several times; a little bit of kindness and understanding goes a long way.
12. The person who brought an entire, aromatic meal onto the plane
You can smell them twelve rows back as soon as they open the crinkly burger wrapper.
Part of me wants to go back and ask for a bite (KFC fries are to die for) and part of me wants to just plug my nose so I will strop drooling. These smart travelers have figured out the easiest way to pass the time is with a nice bag of popcorn and a movie. They’ve also learned better than to trust in-flight meals.
13. The obviously terrified first-time flyer
You kind of just want to reach out, pat them on the back, and say “It’s ok. I do this all the time. You’re safe.”
But you don’t do that, because that would be creepy.
14. The couple on their first trip together (possibly a honeymoon)
You know these people, all lovey-dovey, excited, and super-excited to be on the plane. Everything is magical.
These couples give you a little bit more faith in true love – while at the same time kind of grating your nerves because they are so cute together.
15. The woman in high stilettos and a tight dress, having problems with her luggage.
I am a fan of dressing up rather than dressing down in nearly every occasion. Airports and marathons of Sherlock are my two exceptions. Airports are cold, dirty, cramped, and full of walking, sitting, and maneuvering your way though the bumpy plan – none of which are conducive to high heels. So women who are struggling to make it to the gate with their luggage stick out like a sore thumb.
And, you know, Sherlock marathons typically last 6 hours – so just wear PJs like everyone else.
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