I’m on the road a lot lately. Its a busy time so I’m traveling far and wide these days. The trouble is, the more I travel, the less patience I have for the newbie. I try to be sympathetic and always manage to muster some courtesy, but lately its all wearing a little thin when I seem to find myself trapped on an airplane more often than not. So I thought I might try and help you newbie travelers with some sage advice. Remember, I am also quite bossy so this is probably not unexpected.
1. Don’t be Late
I have never missed a flight. Its probably due to my genetic pre-disposition to arrive at an airport 2 hours early (thanks Dad!). Airline check in times are a hard and fast rule. They’re not making any exceptions for you. We all know that you slept in/ cab didn’t arrive/ forgot to pack – sure that happens – but honestly don’t count on all the other people that set their alarm/ called the cab earlier/ packed the night before to let you budge the line. The same goes for getting to the gate on time. The time of your flight is the time they take off. You need to be there 30 minutes before for boarding. NO ONE appreciates the wait to have your luggage taken off the plane when you’re not there before the doors close.
2. Don’t Forget to Empty Your Pockets
Its security and yes we all know that its a massive drag. But unless you are TSA Pre and if you want it to go smoothly and quickly for YOU (and everyone behind you in line) there’s a few things to ALWAYS remember.
(a) Take off your shoes, belt, watch, bracelet. Its easier to take them off and put them back on again than to have a full pat down.
(b) Always take your laptop out of your bag and put it in a bin on its own. Trust. This is a necessity.
(c) Take off your coat, sweater, scarf – wear the least amount of clothes when passing through the metal detector.
(d) Always empty your pockets. NO ONE likes the dude who left $4 in change in his pocket and has to return for another pass once he’s fished out every last useless penny.
3. Don’t Try to Carry-On Full Size Liquids and Gels
This is not new. Full sized liquids and gels are not allowed in your carry on. And no, the security guard doesn’t care that the full bottle of shampoo you’re trying to smuggle cost $35. Get the travel size, put it in a ziploc and stop holding up the security line. Oh and PS – they won’t let you take your water either, so stop acting surprised! Check out this link so you know the deal for next time.
4. Don’t Carry-On More than is Allowed
I’m very emphatic on this point. People that climb on board expecting to stuff their full sized rollerboard along with a suit bag, a duffle bag, a back pack and various shopping bags in the overhead compartment are just plain old selfish. I get it, we don’t like to pay checked bag fees, but the people that follow the rules and only bring 2 pieces max are the ones that end up having to gate check their laptop.
5. Don’t Try to Stash Your Stuff Just Anywhere
Under the seat in front of you, in the overhead or in the seat pocket are the only places where you can put your stuff. Your things do not, I repeat DO NOT go under your seat. That space is for the person behind you. And so on and so on. Think about it.
6. Don’t Spread Your Germs Around the Plane
Don’t fly if you’re sick. But if you absolutely have to, then do your best to keep it to yourself. Tissues, hand sanitizer, a mask. Whatever, just think about it before you start hacking and sneezing all over the healthy guy sitting millimetres beside you.
7. Don’t Steal the Armrests
I had the distinct pleasure (read: HORROR) of being stuck in a middle seat on a 9 hour Transatlantic flight the other day. I was between 2 men, both complete strangers and BOTH were armrest hogs. The amount that that sucked was a lot.
8. Don’t Be Mean to the Flight Attendants
Imagine if your workplace was a confined space, 34,000 feet in the air and full of cranky, tired, stressed out people that you had to cater too (and potentially save their lives if necessary). Cut them some slack. Its a tough job and a sense of humour can only get you so far!
9. Don’t Recline Your Seat Right After Take Off/ During the Meal or At All on a Flight Under Two Hours
Seriously, this is just common sense. If you’re reclining your seat you are being selfish. As airlines continue to reduce personal space on airplanes, the guy behind you does not enjoy the back of your seat in his face. Believe me. Your douchey need for a marginal increase in comfort (seriously, is it really any more comfortable to recline the seat the 5 extra degrees?) effects everyone behind you.
10. Don’t Be Rude When DePlaning
This is very simple. Unless you are about to miss a connecting flight, you wait politely until the row ahead of you has entered the aisle to deplane. Pushing ahead, forcing your way only slows everything down. We know you’re excited to be at your destination and we totally get that you want the hell off that bucket of bolts that just safely delivered you to the place you want to be, but come on. A little common courtesy here will make the whole thing easier to take.
Yes, this was a bitchy post. But a little common sense and awareness goes a long way in making your trip easier for you and your fellow travelers.