Monkeys in the Air


Early in Kongo’s blogging career he published a few posts about getting through airports and being “plane stupid” (see related articles at the end of this post).  After spending several days on the road last week flying to and from Philadelphia from the West Coast, Kongo has a few additional observations about objectionable monkey behavior when traveling.  Kongo realizes of course that cultured monkeys are supposed to pretend not to see bad behavior on the part of simian strangers and assume that they’re just having a bad day in the jungle.  But there’s something about Spring Break in the air that amplifies bad behavior and Kongo can no longer remain silent.  Please bear with him.

Don’t send Grandma off alone!  Having cared for aged parents himself, Kongo appreciates that caregivers need a break every so often.  But if you’re going to send Grandma off to visit another family member in Tuscaloosa, for Monkey’s Sake don’t send her off alone unless she is really and truly up to it.  Kongo watched with dismay last week as several seniors, abandoned in airport wheelchairs, ask strangers for help in going to the toilet, finding their tickets, or retrieving their luggage that fell to the floor.  Why wasn’t their loving progeny along to ease their travel requirements?  Why have these poor people been left to fend their way with strange monkey troops?  When elderly travelers have accidents, and everyone around them knows when this happens, why isn’t their family there to help them?  To be sure, most strangers in USA airports are basically good monkeys and Kongo has observed many acts of kindness and compassion but the basic question is why were these elderly parents abandoned by their families to fly alone?  Kongo strongly suggests that if you’re sending Grandma across the country in the air that you accompany them!

The Sky Club is not Kindercare.  Kongo appreciates that lots of families are flying this time of year.  Most little monkeys beyond the age of 5 or 6 are usually well behaved when parents are actively involved in supervising them.  But something seems to break down when these little family units converge on airport lounges like baboons flocking to a fallen banana tree.  Kongo suggests a few rules that airlines could better enforce and parents better observe when they take their brood into the Sky Club.

  • Sprawling is frowned upon in crowded club lounges.  
  • Running (with or without scissors) is not a good idea.
  • Little toddlers exploring on their own are not always “isn’t she just too cute.”
  • Whining, sibling fighting, unnecessary crying, loud talking, and boisterous antics have no place in a lounge where people are trying to work, carry on a quiet conversation, or simply relaxing before their next flight.
  • Children should be supervised when visiting the amenities.  Grimy little hands going through the olive trays, Cracker Jack jars, and cookie plates is just wrong not to mention a potential source of spreading influenza and other bad ailments
  • Diapers should never ever ever be changed in the main lounge. Never.  I mean, seriously, this should go without saying.
  • Children should be supervised when they go to the toilet and should be made to wash their hands…particularly before they head back to the amenity bar for more Cracker Jacks!
  • When elderly flyers are standing because three or four little ones are stretched out on the couches and chairs, taking up all available room, parents should tell their children to sit up and make room.
  • Children should be banned from the airport lounge quiet areas and they should be required to use head sets when playing their video games.

It’s not that Kongo doesn’t like children or is an old curmudgeon monkey.  He realizes we were all children once and Kongo’s two generally faultless granddaughters are the epitome of little darlings, but if they were ever traveling with Kongo and didn’t behave in the Sky Club, they would be out in the main terminal running laps around the concourse quicker than a young male gets out the way of a gray back gorilla!

Monkey Troops on the Move.  Ah, Spring Break.  That wonderful time of year when college students head for sunny climes well stocked with tequila and troops of middle-school monkeys head east to be exposed to the wonders of Washington, DC.  The DC-bound monkeys are easily identified.  They’re the roving gangs wearing matching T-shirts, carrying pillows, giggling and rolling their eyes, and standing in line at the frozen yogurt concessions.  Kongo has observed that there is something about the group dynamics of these traveling culture seekers that causes them to behave, well, horribly.  They push to the front of lines, they walk seven or eight across creating slow moving roadblocks in crowded terminals, they lay down in the middle of the terminal, they run, they shout, they bump into people while texting.  Actually, thinking about this, they behave much like members of Congress.  Perhaps they learned this behavior while touring the galleries on the House side of the Capitol.  In any event, Kongo has tons of sympathy for the chaperones.  There is really nothing anyone can do about these migrating monkey troops except wait for them to get older or fly somewhere they don’t go.

Kongo doesn’t want to come across as an old sour puss.  He’s actually quite a pleasant monkey and a considerate traveler.  A couple of good things to note!

Kudos to TSA.  Hooray for the Pre √  program.  If you don’t know about it, this program, which began about a year ago, allows registered flyers or those who have reached certain tiers in frequent flyer programs, can avoid security lines, keep their shoes on, keep their computers in their briefcase, and not pull out their liquids and gels.  There is no back-scanner.  Just take off your coat, push your bags through the x-ray machine, and walk through the metal detector and you’re on the way to your gate.  Check it out at  Hopefully it will be in San Diego soon.

Delta Wifi. It’s now much, much easier to get online in Delta Sky Clubs across the country.  No more T-Mobile hotspot login pages, just click the AT&T service agreement and you’re online.

Travel safe.  Have fun.

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4 thoughts on “Monkeys in the Air

  1. Well, Kongo. I agree with much that you say and appreciate the comments on air travel previously and much of what you say in this one. I agree that parents should often do a better job of supervising and controlling their children – most of the points that you make – anywhere in the airport and certainly on the airplane. However for this monkey who generally is consigned to airplane seating that only an emaciated double amputee could possibly find comfortable the part about Sky Club seems a bit like complaining about the quality of the champagne in first class ;^).

    1. Good point, Joe. And now that you mention it, the champagne in first class could do with a bit of a step-up! As you note, all travel experiences are relative. While some see things as an inconvenience or simply part of the adventure, others may see it as an absolute disaster. Kongo just had a particularly annoying group of toddler travelers last Thursday and was venting.

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