We All Have Our Crying Moments When Flying

I know women have a tendency to cry at the drop of a hat, well some women do.

This emotional trait is not always linked to female hormones going awry at certain times of the month.  Men do cry.  It is a proven fact after Virgin Airlines did a survey on their passengers' feelings when they are high in the air.  A whopping 41% of men claimed to have hidden their faces in the standard issue plane blanket of somewhat dubious softness, to bawl their eyes out for no real reason.  Maybe, only the really "disturbed" males bothered to answer the question.

I thought I was the only one that got emotional sitting between two big bodies that should never have been allowed to sit either side of me. A fight for an armrest is a moot point as their ballooning bodies suck this seat requisite up into their armpits never to be seen again during the flight.  That's enough to make me cry.

Not Only Babies Cry On Planes

Or when flying in the back of the plane on an overnight flight and there are several empty seats to be jumped upon once the plane has taken off so that you can luxuriate on three seats in pseudo bed mode.  There are three people across your aisle and the person on the aisle seat doesn't run to grab this Holy Grail. Even when you do have an empty seat beside you and there is a person in the aisle seat, they still don't have their wits about them. That will make me cry.

Hot coffee spilt into my lap will have me in tears, but that is to be expected.  Crying babies have me going out in sympathy with them.  Another one is snoring and dribbling monsters that reek of yesterday, that is definitely another cause for waterworks on my part.  Husbands and wives should not sit together unless they can display marital bliss and the drunk that is a bit too touchy, feely and chatty should be locked in the loo.

Apart from the above annoyances of which I am sure everyone has issues with, apparently there is a good reason for the crying on planes phenomenon.

Being on a plane is a time when everyone feels vulnerable.  You have no control over anything and only the void of time to fill, but what with?  No beep beep or horrible 80's song resonates or vibrates on your iPhone with incoming calls, Internet or text messages.  We are now so constantly connected 24 hours a day, there is a total sense of isolation and aloneness despite the bawling baby, the snoring drunk or the squabbling couple.  One is literally mired in a world "apart", often feeling bereft of whoever or whatever they may have left behind.  We are at the mercy of the pilot, the plane and the flight attendants.  We have been stripped of any control over our environment.

Letting go of control makes you feel vulnerable and being in this state heightens your emotions.  Hence when you put a movie on or read a book, or quietly sit contemplating friends, lovers both past and present or maybe just life in general, having a good old quiet cry seems to be the thing to do.  It is the sense of "aloneness" despite your co-passengers crowded in around you.  It is also the fact that you believe you won't see any of them again, so who cares.  It is also the time of feeling completely exposed to what fate has in store for you and there is no way to reach out to the people that matter to you.

So when getting on the next plane, my advice is to ensure you have plenty of tissues in your bag or enough sleeping pills to knock you out for the duration of the flight.  And if by some chance you are a sensitive new age male sitting beside me, I will share my tissues so there is no need to snot all over your blanket.

Gail Palethorpe, a self proclaimed Australian gypsy, is a freelance writer, photographer and eternal traveller. Check out her website Gail Palethorpe Photography and her Shutterstock profile.