This Memorial Day weekend, it was estimated some 2.1 million Americans took to the skies for their holiday travel. Though that number is down, (and who can blame people, this economy does not make traveling easy,) it still means that those 2.1 million got to engage in nerve agitating yet sometimes beautiful dance that is air travel. Once a luxury complete with sexy stewardess in short skirts and go-go boots, anyone and everyone now flies from time to time. With the homeland security announcements and general fear around flying combined with the tight time schedules and unreliable weather, air travel can be a damn pain in the rear. That said, we at Scallywag have decided you and your fellow passengers’ trips can be a little easier and run a little smoother with these tips that leave you feeling fresh as a daisy and happy as a clam when you arrive in your final destination. So pack your overnight bag, grab a good book and your boarding pass; here is the Etiquette of Air Travel.
I have traveled more than my fair share, yet admit to being the pleasure only traveler and not the business traveler who spends tireless hours taking off and touching down all over this fine planet we call earth. Even if not a daily routine, we can all learn something from those who travel as part of their job as when it becomes routine, it is no longer a headache as much as it is following protocol and going with the flow. Though business travelers get just as testy as the rest, let us all cool our jets (no pun intended) and make it an easy airport venture for everyone. That brings me to my first point of general consideration and manners in the airport. We are all waiting ladies and gentlemen. We are all tired, hungry, etc. etc.(insert any illness or uncomfortable condition you might concur while flying) yet there will always be a handful of folks who think bickering, arguing, yelling, cursing or making damn fools of themselves will move them to the front of the line or make the plane come and go more quickly. Nothing you can say to insult flight employees or other passengers will make things go better. In fact, it only brings attention to your lack of tolerance and patience while making those around you just as annoyed and bothered as you. So stop spreading your negativity and keep your complaints to a reserved minimum. If you go in with the mentality it will take all day and your luggage will be lost, guess what? It will take you all day, your luggage will be lost and no one will want to sit by you, the “rude guy with too many carry ons and a foul mouth.”
Which moves me to carry on and getting on the plane. Stop one is checking in and security, two spots that can be quick and painless if you take care of your business with boarding pass and license close at hand. Have them out and ready to keep the line moving. Note to fliers: do not bring a carry on that is the size of a small village and do not wear shoes that require a specialist degree to take off and put on(even if they have nice little diamonds that you couldn’t resist).
Comfortable and chic sneakers are great as socks protect your tootsies from the security line floor and protect your fellow fliers from your feet. Sandals are just in poor taste when flying, as no one wants your bare feet in the airport, and neither should you. It too, adds a complication to running for a connecting flight. Have lap tops easy to take out and be prepared take off your shoes, coat, most belts and take out the baggie of liquids you (hint hint) already have in a small ziplock bag. This liquids-in-a-baggie rule has been affective for years now, so there is no reason at all you should be crying to keep your expensive mascara or that irreplaceable bottle of lotion. Put them in checked bags if they mean so darn much, or leave them at home bringing a travel size with you. It is traveling anyway, isn’t it? P.S on that: pack medicines you must take regularly in your carry on in their original containers or well labeled so there is no fight over your much needed anti-anxiety medication or those time sensitive birth control tablets( funny now, but trust us not so funny then…)
Getting through security then allows you to go to your terminal and gate, and settle in for a happy flight, right? Not so quick fliers, as some mishaps can happen in the limbo of airport entrance and flight take off. If time allows, wander the shops or read a book. Grab a bite to eat, yet do not think that a bean burrito with extra cheese and a side of frozen yogurt with extra sprinkles will sit well on that five hour flight to Cali. Be considerate of your body and its functions as planes are tight quarters. I will never forget the vomit laden two hour flight I was on when the children behind me had eaten their Mc D’s happy meals a bit too fast. Cringing as the chunks started to blow in the row behind me during take off, I quickly knew the round two smell of hamburgers and fries was not going anywhere fast. This also comes from my many dreaded rides in the very back row where the communal lavatory became home to things people should not dare share in public spaces.
In terms of common courtesy and hygiene, it helps to smell nice in such close quarters with others so shower up and avoid offensive perfumes and colognes. I would also like to add here that there is no place for sponge-bob pajama pants on airplanes. No matter how early your flight, you do have time to find real pants and shoes that are not slippers. Please, in the name of all things shared in open spaces, do not bring your king sized grody pillow with visible drool stains or a pillow case that has not seen the laundry in weeks. Travel pillows are smaller and can provide head comfort that fits in your own seat, as well as being cleaner and neater.
So onto the flight you go as all the flight attendants wish you a great trip and you mindlessly say “You too!” Watch for this as no one working in the airport that tells you to enjoy your trip is traveling. A simple thank you avoids this awkward yet very over looked conversation moment. Board according to row for gods sake, as standing there around the line to board while waiting makes you look much to eager to get on first. You are all getting on the plane. Do not rush, push or cramp your way on first as you are probably the folks who also have too many bags and will block the aisles trying to fit all your belongings above you. Do not do that- because if I ever catch you, you will never hear the end of it.