Airports and flights have lost nearly all of the romantic appeal they once held for passengers. So many airports are massive in size and making your way from the check-in counter to the luggage drop-off area and, finally, to your gate can feel as challenging as going through a corn maze! Patience, good manners and common courtesy all seem to be impersonating Elvis and have ‘left the building’. Here is a list of behaviors that definitely are not among those Dale Carnegie included in his self-help guide on how to ‘win friends and influence people’ – at the airport or anywhere, really. So …..if you recognize yourself in any of the following scenarios, try to take yourself a little less seriously.
1. Don’t wait until you’ve reached the boarding gate check-in personnel to start the search for your photo ID and boarding pass. “Well, I wonder where I put my passport (boarding pass, picture ID, whatever….). I just had it a minute ago.” Well….you didn’t NEED it a minute ago did you, Einstein – you need it NOW!! PLEASE don’t proceed to pull every item out of your handbag or carry-on luggage in your attempts to find it! Graciously step to the side and then get back in line once you’ve got all the required documentation in your hot little hands!
2. Don’t be a “buttinsky” – Wait until your seat section is called before getting in line to board the plane. “I’ve no idea which section they just called but if I just get in the line…what are they going to do? kick me to the back of the line?? I doubt it!” Well, you know what, sunshine? I really wish they WOULD kick you to the back of the line and they DO sometimes! Since we’re all going to end up in that big metal tube at some point today…would it pose such a hardship for you to wait your turn like everyone else??
3. Don’t have ‘one too many’ before boarding the plane – Airlines have the right to refuse to board to anyone and they will if they believe you’re inebriated. If you start declaring loudly to everyone ‘I luv you, man!’ or saying things like, “I’m really gonna ‘mish’ everyone at the ‘occife’ for the next coupla weeks…NOT!”…you just might not be flying today.
4. “Watch your language, young man!” In today’s travel world of shoe bombs, terror threats and flights being hijacked, we need to be aware of our word choice when standing in airport lines. Whether at the check-in counter, dropping off our checked travel gear, in the security screening area or while waiting at the gate, using words such as ‘bomb’,’ blow up’, or ‘gun’ among others, will most likely cost you, in the least, a visit to the security office if not something more serious such as jail time.
5. Don’t ‘lose your cool’ or be rude to the airport staff – it may produce the opposite effect of what you had in mind. There is a movie scene where Mr. Big Shot passenger goes to the check-in counter, asks for a favor and when denied it declares, “Do you know who I am?” and the check-in lady gets on the loudspeaker and says to everyone in the airport, “Does anyone know who this man is? Apparently, he doesn’t remember!” The proverbial ‘squeaky wheel’ doesn’t ALWAYS get the grease….sometimes it gets replaced! Unless you’re the one flying the bird….you’re no more or less important than every other passenger getting on the flight.
6. Hold up the security line – If they’ve been telling everyone who goes through the line ahead of you to ‘take everything out of your pockets, put your laptop in a separate bin, remove your shoes, your coat, your belt, your appendix’ … okay, maybe not that last item…yet – then take the hint already and just go ahead and do it! Don’t hold up the security line – it’s already enough of a pain in the patootie to be there without having good old “Mr. I’m Not Removing Anything Until They Specifically Ask Me To” slowing the line down even more!
7. “Pipe down over there!” – It might be ‘all about that bass’ but nobody else wants to hear it! Keep the volume on your headphones turned down so that you’re the only one who can listen to the music. It’s downright irritating to be seated near someone and being bombarded by the bass (because that’s all that’s coming through!) blaring out from their earbuds.
8. PDA – We’re all happy for you, we really are! … but please be aware that it’s not just the two of you at the airport and you’re not in the honeymoon suite at the Hilton Hotel or in the airplane lavatory for that matter!
9. Don’t be a Seat Hog! – Maybe you don’t care particularly to have someone sitting right next to you at the gate lounge, so you use that second seat to store your handbag, laptop case, jacket, etc. That’s all well and good if the lounge is relatively empty; but, if you see other passengers milling about looking for a seat, don’t wait to be asked….move your items to make another seat available.
10. “Can you hear me now?” The reception on most cellular phones available today is pretty darned clear. There really is no good reason why the entire airport lounge should be subjected to your end of the conversation. If you’re getting some scowls from your fellow passengers, consider continuing your phone conversation while walking in the airport corridors. It’ll do you good to stretch your legs anyway since you’ll be cooped up in a plane for some time!
If you use these tips and ‘make someone happy….make just one someone happy’ you may find your time at the airport a little bit less stressful, too. Safe travels!
Written by Emma Ghattas