In my first 90 days in my new job, I have traveled to San Francisco, Omaha, Washington D.C. /Maryland/Virginia, Houston, and Chicago so while there’s still plenty of the country left to see, I do have a few flights under my belt. Soon , I’ll be on a first name basis with the Will Rogers World Airport TSA agents. While I still have a lot to learn, I have figured out a few valuable lessons, like you really do need to arrive early or you take the risk of not making your flight (See First Day Worst Day) and you’d better know which airport you’re going to (See The Five Stages of Flight Cancellation Grief).
In my first three months, I’ve also seen some pretty unsavory behavior in my fellow travelers-stuff that would make your mother blush, unless your mother is the one that sat behind me last week, passing gas. So, I’ve made a short list of a few things that you shouldn’t do when traveling. These things should be common sense but aren’t because we already know that good sense isn’t common.
1) Don’t cut in line on the plane: I don’t know what it is about lining up for boarding and deplaning that makes people lose their ever loving minds. But it never fails that I see some eager beaver march up the aisle to the front of the plane as soon as the seat belt sign goes off. Instead, it is much more polite to let passengers deplane according to their row instead of cutting them off by hopping out into the aisle and walking up beside their row so they can’t get out. I have never understood this. The people rushing by me to get off the plane are the same ones ten minutes later standing beside me in baggage claim, waiting on our bags. If you’re in a huge rush, don’t check a bag. If you’re in the back of the plane, wait your turn.
2) Don’t pass gas on the plane: I realize there are pressure changes and all of that. But, take some Gas-X. Go to the bathroom if you need to equalize some pressure. But, for the sake of all that is good and holy, please hold it in. We are all trapped with you in close quarters. We don’t need to be gassed with your stench. Control yourself. If you can’t control it, perhaps you need to travel with a GasBGon seat cushion. Buy one here! GasBGon Seat Cushion
3) Don’t drink too much: Last week, I was sitting beside a man who was working on his laptop and we’d made it through 3/4 of the flight without really talking. In the dark of the plane, we heard a sound, softly at first. As it grew louder, we both started to look around to identify the source of the noise. Finally, we figured out that the dude one row up and across from us had his headphones on and was singing. The man next to me said, “Um, is that….Rocket Man? That’s awesome!” We both started cracking up. Drunkie grew louder and louder. Next, he moved on to his terrible rendition of Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville”. Then, shortly before landing we were all subjected to the sounds of the dude throwing up in his barf bag. Not awesome anymore.
4) Don’t stop in the flow of foot traffic: This goes for all areas of the airport, jet ways, moving sidewalks, etc-if you need to stop, move over to the right. There’s nothing more frustrating than walking along at a fast pace and having someone come to a dead stop in front of you. I nearly mowed down a senior the other day because he unexpectedly stopped to pick up his bag. On moving sidewalks and escalators people will frequently walk on the left and they don’t appreciate some yahoo standing there blocking the way. Pull over to the right if you want to stop or stand.
5) Don’t be a sheep: I see so many people standing in lines and I’ve started to ask questions before I do the same. Do I have to stand in this line? Is there another way? Last week in Chicago, there was a line with 50 people in it and a line with 1 person in it. Instead of just blindly following everyone else, I asked the attendant, “What’s the short line for?” She said, “That’s if you already checked in online and just need to drop your bag.” I had so guess what? Short line for me! If I hadn’t asked, I would have been in line for at least 20 minutes for no reason. In the Oklahoma City airport, there’s a “secret” security line that most people don’t know about. Everyone sees the obvious one right in the middle of the airport so they go stand in the long line there. But, if you walk down a little farther by Southwest, there’s almost never a line and you can get to all the gates. So, if there’s a long line, my advice is to ask if there’s any way you don’t have to stand in it. Also, always check in online and print your boarding passes at home. You have a much better shot at bypassing the long lines. Carry on bags instead of checking them when possible and you don’t even have to go to the counter at all.
Sometimes flying really is a hassle but often, it is made worse by those inconsiderate people around you. Don’t be a burden to your fellow travelers. Be kind. Be thoughtful. I’ve already discovered that my i-pod and headphones are my most cherished traveling accessory whether it is to drown out the sounds of the chatty redhead ahead of me in line at 5 am or the over- served Jimmy Buffet fan.
Ha ha. Item #1 I had a guy in I think Atlanta Georgia take cuts in line in front of the guy in front of me at the check in counter. He did it once and we all looked at each other and let him get away with it. Then here he comes again and tries to do it again 10 min later. That is when mr. Oklahoma (me) says hey BIG GUY get to the back of the line. No taking cuts. He says “cuts? cuts?” I say Yea. That’s what we call it in oklahoma. He was then very nice and said “No worries, no worries”. I then cracked a joke to him. Well I guess I know who I will be setting next to on the plane. Keith
Ha! Isn’t that the luck? I just never understand the point of cutting in line, especially when boarding. We are all going to the same place at the same time. Relax!
Don’t forget about the cowboy I stood in line behind at the security line. He had on a hat, with metal band, metal snap shirt, silver rings on most every finger, watch, bracelet, wallet with metal edges, huge belt buckle with metal studs all the way around the belt and spurs….yes spurs. It took the man literally 10 minutes to get all his metal off to go through the detector. Friends…I beg of you…please remove your metal before getting to the security line.
Sounds like he needed a “private” screening!
good and true as always, when is the book coming? I’ll buy it ❤
Thanks, Gerda! I appreciate the positive comments. 🙂
Great post and good lessons. I used to have this cartoon I used as sort of a motivational poster. Three panes, with a guy making a short putt on a golf course green. The first pane says, “Hope for the best.” and the guy hits the ball straight towards the hole. The second pane says, “Be prepared for the worst,” and the ball hits something on the way and bounces straight up over the hole. The last pane says, “And take what comes with a smile,” and the ball bounces off the side of the cartoon pane and into the hole.
I don’t travel as much now as I used to (company budgetary constraints), but I’d come to take that cartoon to heart in a variety of things and traveling was one of them. Basically, we can all do some smart things to prepare ourselves for whatever we might encounter, but there’s just no way you can prepare for all the stuff you’re going to run into. By keeping an open mind and a forgiving heart, you can sort of make the best of it. It seems to me that you’re already there in many ways – at least being able to laugh it all off.
Life’s too short to worry about some of this small stuff. I think of your impatient traveller trying to skip to the front of the line in the same way that I think of a certain Andy Griffith episode (yeah, showing my age) where this businessman’s car breaks down in town and he’s all rush, rush, rush to get it fixed and learns over the course of the time it takes to fix the car to take life a little less seriously and slow down. There’s a LOT of that rush, rush, rush going on and for the life of me, I just don’t see where the fire is – except, of course when I actually see smoke.
Love the blog – keep it up.
Thanks for reading, Greg. As always, great insight!
Love your blogging, teach me how!! I journal all the time and would love to blog about my job, life, bucketlst type stuff, life is way toooo short live in the moment and make memories everywhere you go with loved ones and great friends!