Let’s face it. Airline travel isn’t what it used to be. Gone are the days of dressing in your Sunday best to fly to Grandma’s. Saggy pants, sweat pants and short shorts are the common thread these days. A hot meal, even if it tastes like it was forgotten on the tarmac for a week, is a thing of the past. Surcharges for luggage, seats, movies and food are enough to bankrupt your vacation spending even before you take off. And what about the traveling public – did politeness get thrown out with the lavatory water? Maybe you can’t solve all the woes of airline travel, but you can resolve to make it more comfortable for yourself and others. Exercise a little patience. Enjoy a sense of humor. Guzzle a dose of common sense. Follow these tips next time you travel to help suppress your anxiety and ease the frustration of others.
1. High Alert: Daydreaming about Brad Pitt or Lady Gaga is not allowed while waiting in line at the TSA Security checkpoint. Wake up and smell the x-ray machines! Kick off those shoes, start disrobing and remove those electronic devices before you get to the head of the line so you don’t make others wait.
2. What’s Yours, is Mine: Carrying on a 32 ounce bottle of shampoo? Unless you want it confiscated by TSA, pack liquids in travel size bottles. Pack cattle prods, sabers and baseball bats in checked luggage. In other words, know what is and is not allowed to be carried on so you don’t encounter delays or embarrassment going through security.
3. Relax, sit awhile! It’s not necessary to crowd the airport gate in anticipation of your row being called. Cool your heels. You can hear the announcement just as clearly from a relaxed, sitting position. Board when your zone is called. And once on board, for goodness sake, remain seated until the fasten seat belt sign is no longer illuminated. Is retrieving your bag from the overhead bin so urgent that it’s worth being humiliated over by the flight attendant via the PA system?
4. Can You Hear Me Now? Has anybody read the book on cell-phone etiquette? Is there one? Speak in quiet voices. The endless chatter you’re broadcasting to everyone within earshot could be unflattering Facebook fodder from an unseen rival. Let’s keep it down, folks.
5. Oh, Behave! Onboard your flight, turn off electronic devices when instructed. Don’t test the flight attendants to see how many times they ask before you get kicked off the aircraft. C’mon, we’ve got places to go, people to see, things to do. Follow the rules.
6. You’re In My Space: Here’s a thought. If everyone backed away from the baggage carousel a foot, then we could all see our bags and we wouldn’t take out dear Aunt Mildred when swinging the bag off the platform. Everyone, if you can’t see an object without being right on top of it, get yourself a new set of peepers.
7. Friendly Skies: Start a trend for the New Year. Be pleasant. Be courteous. Be helpful. Be kind. Even on your worst day.