May 2016

Mazel & Mishagoss


By Stephanie Lewis


I’m embarking on my first trip to Israel and terrified to fly, but rather than focusing on that strange whirring sound ending with a loud thump I detect from the engine, I’ll scrutinize my seatmates. You don’t hear anything, right? Good; neither do I. Presenting the passenger parade:


The Air Preparer: He’s the MacGyver at 40,000 miles. Need a bandage, cough syrup, earplugs or screwdriver? He’s your man.

The Air Armchairer: She makes a beeline to her seat so she can beat you out. Giving you an evil glare as you stagger innocently down the aisle, you notice her elbows hogging both armrests. Do you dare claim what’s rightfully yours?

The Air Barer: Is this a 747 or a hot yoga class? She’s so scantily dressed, her mother would make her put on a trench coat. Oh wait, that might be even more provocative!

The Air Scarer: Makes your peanuts and pretzel packages stand on end with their tales of terror. On another flight they were recently on, the pilot released the luggage to lighten the load. Another time he dropped all their fuel and ultimately all the passengers as well. But the most horrific flight of all was when they ran out of diet coke. Gasp.

The Air Prayer: This individual should never sit next to an Air Scarer. Their lips move silently, but if you look closely you can see they’re mouthing the Shema — 85 times.

The Air Marryer: No sooner does the pilot point out the famous mountain range when he directs your attention to a passenger seated over the wing going down on bended knee. Will she say yes? Maybe he couldn’t do this on the ground because he’s counting on the diamond looking bigger under the little cabin book light?

The Air DayCarer: She has not just one, not just two, but three kids and she’s brought enough provisions to put a preschool to shame. Hey! Will she share a handful of cheerios and that etch-a-sketch with your own cranky child? No she will not, Silly — next time, fly more prepared.

The Air Pairer: Two lifelong friends going on a gal-pal vacation chatting about their college days with you seated in between them. Why didn’t they book seats right next to one another? Because one needs a window and one needs an aisle and talking over you is a stimulating challenge. Just read your book and mind your own business, okay?

The Air Error: This guy flies planes for a hobby and he’s gonna run down the list of all the mistakes they’re making. Think you can do it better? Get in that cockpit and take control!

The Air Swearer: Salty vocabulary is an understatement and if he’s seated next to The Air DayCarer, he better watch his language — she’s gonna have her kids paste his mouth shut with their glue-sticks during arts n’ crafts hour.

The Air Comparer: “Jet Blue has more leg room than this cracker jack plane. Did you know United baked cookies on a flight once? Virgin Airlines wouldn’t hire flight attendants as ugly as these?”

The Air Despairer: Petrified to fly and you’ve got the nail marks in your arm to prove it. What’s that noise? Do you see that little gremlin hacking away with an ax on the fiery wing?

The Air Sharer: You’ve seen their grandkids, know their favorite scene from Ten Commandments and split a corned beef on rye with them.

The Air Darer: Boldly scampers to the bathroom, even if the “Fasten Seatbelt” sign just came on.

The Air NonFoot Wearer: They have to let their toes breathe. But do we have to breathe their toes?

The Air Starer and Awarer: Very nosy woman, scrutinizing passengers, wheels turning. Hyper aware of subtle mannerisms, taking notes to write about it in L’CHAIM magazine. Nah, never happens!


Stephanie D. Lewis is a regular writer for The Huffington Post and pens a humor column at Follow her on Twitter @MissMenopause


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  1. Funny! My husband, sadly, is the Air Error. He flew helicopters for a living, and therefore believes himself the expert on all things airborne. As for me, I only whisper the Shema on take off and landing.

  2. About to take a trip– I’ll be on the lookout for these types! Hmmm… Wonder which one I’ll be.

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