Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Flying Fundamentals

Airports really don't bring out the best in people--let's be honest. The thought of going to the airport always stresses me out, even though I have the system down pat, because people are so rude and hateful in airports and on planes. I guess everyone gets stressed when it comes to air travel, but there is no rude to make the experience miserable for everyone around you. In my travel experience, I've tried to take a few rules of thumb to heart so that the people around me aren't stressed out in any way due to my behavior. (This is simply called being courteous and thoughtful, truth be told). Here are some suggestions to help you survive air travel with grace and poise!

 photo 5BBF8506-4254-4326-9C34-0BEB8A00B80A_zpshlxss3ek.jpg All smiles on the way to Peru!

1. Be on time
This probably goes without saying, but you will be less of a burden on others and yourself if you budget enough time to get to the airport and through security. Why people insist on being late is beyond me. Yes, the security line is going to be long, and NO I will not let you break in line because you are running late. You are going to make ME late because you couldn't wake up early enough to get to the airport.

2. Be ready
I can't reiterate this enough. Decide where you are going to park before you get in the car. It's quite easy to search available parking locations and costs on line, so do this ahead of time. Heck, a passenger can even google it from their phone in the car. Have your boarding passes printed and your ID handy. Don't be digging through your giant purse looking for your license while standing in front of the TSA worker--do this BEFORE so you aren't holding people up. When you get in the security line LOOK ALIVE. Take off any jewelry, belts, coats, bulky shoes while you are in line, not when you get up to the table, or else you are holding up the line. Actually, it's much better to dress so that you don't have to deal with all of the taking off when you are in security. I like to wear leggings and a dress with sandals or ballet flats so I don't have to take anything off. Six necklaces, tie up boots, and a belt are not appropriate plane attire.

3. When you get through security, get out of the way! Don't lolly gag in front of the metal detector--take your crap and move. If you are dressed appropriately all you have to do is slide on your shoes and pick up your bags. Most airports have an area just for people to get themselves together in--I don't know why people refuse to use them. If you do have adjusting to do, make sure you are not hindering anyone else.

4. Airports are not the place to stand still and wonder--you need to move. When you print that boarding pass, memorize the gate number so you know where you are going. You always have to double check that the gate hasn't changed but do this in the designated area. If you need to stop and check something, move over to the wall--do not just stop wherever you are walking because people behind you are going to run into you. People are hurrying in airports so stopping just makes people mad.

5. When you get to the gate, do not take up 5 seats with all of your paraphernalia--you are one person and you get one seat. Also, please keep phone conversations quite and keep your music in your ear buds soft.

6. Boarding the plane
If you are boarding zone 5, why are you standing up, blocking way for everyone else, if they have just called for first class passengers? Just sit down and wait your turn--seats are assigned. And, when you board, go straight to your seat and stay there. Do not decide to use the bathroom, do not try to talk to your friends in different rows, just get out of the way and let people board the plane.

7. Ahhh, plane time. Your goal is to be courteous to those around you. That means keeping your voice down, all sounds on your phone/devices off, and your "plane footprint" to a minimum. Remember that there is a person in the seat in front of you, so every time you let down your tray table or fidget with the seat pocket in front of you, they feel it. Don't kick their seat or push your knees into it. And don't, under any circumstances, walk down the plane grabbing onto the seat headrests like a handrail--people are in those seats and you are pulling at their heads!

8. When getting off the plane, again be ready. When it's your turn, don't hold everyone else up--just get off the plane. This means you should start packing up your stuff when the plane starts descending or once the wheels touch down. Don't wait for people who are behind you in the tunnel--get out of there and wait for them at the gate.

9. Baggage claim is not the Hunger Games. Everyone will get there turn so there is no need to be violent. It's really a good idea to designate one person as baggage grabber and one as baggage keeper--the grabber stands by the carousel and waits for the bag to arrive while the keeper stands out of the way. Then when a bag comes, the keeper goes and takes it from the grabber and then brings it back to the baggage stash, or the grabber can take it to the stash. This way all of your family isn't in the way and neither are your bags.

10. Chill. My husband's favorite thing to say to me because I need to hear it so often. Yes air travel typically is a nightmare but if you remain calm and have a plan and don't let others stress you out, you will have a much more enjoyable experience. Just act the way you would hope others would act and all will go smoothly! You can only control yourself and your behavior!
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