The Chronicles of JosHan: Airport etiquette

Published On: 03/27/2018Categories: Travel1269 words6.3 min readViews: 94

Foreword: The Chronicles of JosHan (pronounced josh-in, as in “I’m just joshin”, combination of Josh and Han, clever play on words by all accounts. Zero fucks given on your opinion on this word fusion, unless it’s a positive one in which case “thank you, and yes, I am a legend for stealing this from Josh”) will entail an honest and over-sharing account of my and my partner’s recent time spent in Vietnam and Cambodia. Thanks for reading, enjoy x

You realise just how stupid people are when you’re in an airport.

We had just left our wonderful hotel in Ho Chi Minh City and had arrived at the airport, ready for the next leg of our adventure: Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. The plan was straightforward – get through security and to the other side where we could use our extra time at the airport sitting at a bar drinking giant beers (which we did, eventually).

Now, it turns out that human beings are in fact, stupid, especially when it comes to:

  • driving in the rain (seriously – what happens to half the population’s brains when water falls out of the sky and they have to get behind the wheel of a car?)
  • not letting kids at school say “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Easter” or “Mother’s/Father’s Day” (don’t get me started) and;
  • in airports, particularly when going through airport security

I’ll paint you a picture:

Let’s say you’re queuing up in a monstrous line that’s weaving up to the security checkpoint. It feels like the air-con has broken down and the people around you seem to have no regard for their personal hygiene. All the way up the line there are countless signs telling you what you need to get out of your carry-on luggage and what items you need to take off your person before getting to the front. There are television screens playing the same video over and over and over about how to go through the security checkpoint correctly and efficiently, all complete with cute animations to assist anyone who doesn’t speak the native language. You are prepared, you understand that there are rules and you assume that everyone wants things to run smoothly.

You get to the front of the line and you find yourself impatiently watching the family in front of you shouting at each other, trying to organise their lives at the checkpoint itself (because, heaven forbid you do it before you reach the front). As you reach for a tray to place your items, members of this disorganised family are reaching over you and motioning for other family members further down the line to cut in. One of them even stands on your foot, because they have no regard for personal space or for the people around them.

One man then walks through the security sensor and the alarm goes off – he’s forgotten to take his belt off. He backtracks, takes his belt off and tries again. BEEP BEEP BEEP. The alarm bells are going off again – he’s left change in his pocket. He throws his hands up at the security guard like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  before trying to backtrack again …


I am deadly serious. That should be airport policy – if you fuck up at the front, you go straight to the back.

Imagine if that was actually airport law. People would make a hell of a lot more effort to stop fucking around in the twenty minutes they spend waiting if they knew there was a risk of having to line up again.

Perhaps you think I’m being a bit dramatic? Well, I’m not. We actually watched as a lady held her handbag and attempted to walk through the security sensor. WHAT ARE YOU DOING WOMAN?! Is this your first time in an airport? I’m gonna take a stab in the dark and say NO due to the fact that the small suitcase you’ve just put on the carousel is covered in airport stickers and tags from a variety of different airlines AND you were busy screaming at the rest of your family to put their belongings on the belt just moments ago.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Josh so close to blowing up at strangers before. I’m pretty sure he said something like “they’re all in a hurry to get on board, but not in a hurry to get fucking organised!” To be fair, we were pretty hangry/beer-deprived at this point.

Boarding and departing aircrafts

During our travels throughout Vietnam and Cambodia, the system was generally the same at each airport. Gather in a room filled with passengers, hop on a stuffy, non-airconditioned bus with said passengers and travel out to your plane with all the passengers. It was the same process for when we landed, but in reverse.

So on that note … unless you’re catching a connecting flight and are panicked AF – STOP STANDING UP AS SOON AS THE PLANE LANDS AND SIT YO ASS BACK DOWN!

I lost count as to how many times I watched people race off the plane to stand on a non-airconditioned bus, and then have to wait for those of us who were departing the plane like normal human beings. That bus ain’t leaving until we’re all on board, you peanuts.

You know what’s even more infuriating? When you recognise people who were pissing around at security being one of those people pushing people out of the way to get off the plane. Muthas.

Summary of tips for when travelling through airports:

  • Get your shit organised before you reach the security checkpoint.
  • Remember that there are thousands of other people in the airport at any one time, respect their personal space.
  • Use deodorant
  • Make sure you have a proper meal before heading to the airport. Hangry + airports = do not mix.
  • Remember there is no need to push people out of the way when getting on or off the shitty, sardine bus.
  • Check your seat number – maybe don’t get on the stairs at the front of the plane when your seat is clearly at the back of the plane.
  • Don’t have a picnic gathering in the aisle of a plane while people are trying to board. Just a thought.

In the end, you’ve gotta look at the bigger picture

At the end of the day, you’ve got to realise that there are bigger problems in the world than waiting for stupid people to sort their shit out in airports. There were times when I’d take a step back and suddenly remember I was in an international airport. A place that is filled with the biggest mixtures of genders, races, cultures, nationalities and that unfortunately, not everybody is going to think and act like me. I learnt to bite my tongue and shrug off the little annoyances.

But I’ll tell you right now, if you’re going to stand on my toes and not apologise, you better believe I’m going to look you dead in the eye and say something.

When you eventually get on your way, order a cheap can of beer onboard and get into a good book. It makes everything better. I drink enough at home, but I certainly don’t read enough at home. When you don’t have wifi and spend a lot of time waiting around, a good book (and beer) is just what you need. I read Dana Vulin’s book – Worth Fighting For. I tell you what – it’ll put things into perspective and you’ll forget about idiots in airports real quick.

Han x