Written by Sara DeForest
Illustrated by Eva Hill
Welcome to American Safari: Holiday Travel Edition! During this special tour, which takes place on a real United Airlines delayed flight, you’ll observe some of the 54.3 million humans traveling over the river and through the woods to their natural habitats. These annual migrations are never easy, but when faced with difficult environmental circumstances (such as being rerouted to Boise to repair the plane’s toilets), the travelers transform into wild animals.
Below is a selection of the dangerous creatures you may see on this safari tour:
1. The Chatterbox
The Chatterbox sees flight delays as an opportunity to make friends. In fact, he strikes up conversations at every stage of the migration, from PreCheck to baggage claim. A lover of small talk and inane cliches, this inexplicably cheerful creature is happy to bide his time on a delayed flight. Observe as he aggressively attempts to make eye contact with fellow travelers, which he takes as an opening to say, “Looks like we’re in quite a pickle!”
2. The Raging White Lady
At the first mention of a flight delay, the Raging White Lady takes out her rose gold iPhone 11, calls the airline and demands to switch to a different flight. She angrily points out that she has to attend an important family dinner tomorrow (every traveler does, it’s Thanksgiving), and that just because she is 5,000 points shy of Diamond Elite Nobility status does not mean she should be treated like the rest of these Basic Economy bozos. Once she accepts that there are no other flights available (even after speaking to the manager), the Raging White Lady settles for harassing the flight attendants for extra pretzels.
3. The Isolationist
A natural foe of the Chatterbox, The Isolationist has no interest in bonding over the unfortunate circumstances of a delayed flight. His enormous noise-cancelling headphones are glued to his ears—even during the pilot’s twice-hourly uninformative announcements. The Isolationist is fully prepared for the flight delay, having downloaded 100 hours of podcasts. Overall, he is a relatively harmless species, though he will pretend not to hear his seat mate when she asks him to get up so she can use the bathroom.
4. The Nervous Flyer
A fragile creature, the poor Nervous Flyer didn’t even want to migrate for the holidays in the first place, and now is terrified to be trapped on a plane for an extra three hours. He took a Xanax before boarding, but observe as he panics once he realizes it will fully wear off before the plane departs. He will attempt to calm himself by reciting a guided meditation while white knuckle-ing both armrests. To really see him squirm, we encourage safari participants to ask him: “Are delayed flights more likely to crash?”
5. The Drunk
The Drunk spent an hour at the airport bar before boarding, so this flight delay is a literal buzzkill. When flight attendants hand out a special currency called “food vouchers,” observe as the Drunk asks, “Do these apply to gin and tonics?” If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to hear this creature’s chainsaw-like snoring after he inevitably passes out.
6. The Crying Baby
The Crying Baby is not known for smooth migration patterns even in the best of circumstances, but on a delayed flight can become the world’s most feared animal. This baby will make sure every traveler on the plane knows that she is tired, hungry, needs a diaper change, has an itchy ear, and did NOT like that passenger’s cell phone ringtone. Observe as a fellow traveler attempts to feel compassion, forcing himself to smile at the parent after the baby threw up on his shoulder.
7. The Top Gun Wannabe
The Top Gun Wannabe exhibits the uniquely male habit of explaining how planes work to any unsuspecting passenger within earshot. This aviation buff may not be a trained pilot, but he can talk at length about transponders, altimeters and how to tell a Boeing 737 from an Airbus A320 (it’s the Boeing’s pointy nose). If the delay goes on long enough, he’ll even pop over to the cockpit to see if he can answer any of the captain’s questions.
8. The One-Percenter
With a nearly dead smartphone, the One-Percenter becomes deranged when she discovers the outlet under her seat doesn’t work. This power-hungry creature curses herself for frivolously draining her battery playing Pokemon Go. Watch as she celebrates when a fellow traveler generously offers her a wireless charger, then cries when she realizes she doesn’t have the right dongle.
Thank you for joining us on American Safari: Holiday Travel Edition! If you enjoyed your experience, please check out our other tours of the world’s deadliest creatures including American Safari: Black Friday Edition.