I believe that these words create an oxymoron.
I consider myself a patient traveler. Which is a good thing, because most everyone else traveling by air these days seems to have a real issue.
I'm not quite certain what the problem is. Are that many air travelers 'first-time' visitors to the airport, or has our culture created a simply rude public.
Regardless of which group they fall into, here are some rules of the road (or should that be air?) that can make life easier for ALL of us who must travel by air.
- Get to the airport on time and schedule connecting flights with adequeate time between flights. Here's the deal folks; traveling by plane takes time. Assume that your day will be shot making the trip by air. Once you accept that, it's a lot easier to schedule your time correctly. You have to expect the worse: A lack of parking spaces at the airport; Broken ticket terminals at the check-in area; Long lines at security; Delayed incoming planes; Gate changes. Having to wait an hour for a flight is much easier on your nerves than running late to catch the plane.
- Pack bags to meet airline rules. Know the weight and size limits; then follow the rules for checked and carry-on bags. There are no exceptions.
- Listen to the TSA staff at security. These poor folks repeat the same message over and over (and over) again. "Take your computers out of your bag... No liquids, gels or lotions... Hold on to your boarding passes... ", yet again and again (and again), people don't listen. It's not that tough. Geesz!
- Flight delays due to weather are for your protection. How entertaining to hear travelers complain about the airline delaying or canceling flights because of weather conditions. Do you mean that you would rather be up in the air flying THROUGH that thunderstorm? Yeah. Okay.
- Board the plane when your row or group is called. Again. Not too tough folks. If you are there at the gate, the plane is not going to leave without you. Sit your anxious self down and wait your turn. Stop running up to the agent or crowding the line for those of us who may be boarding before you. We will all get on the plane. I promise. Just relax.
- Be patient getting through the jetway / plane aisle. The other passengers can only get in the plane and sit down so fast. Again... We will all get on the plane. Relax.
- Don't try to cram a too-big bag in the too-small overhead space. Look. If you are going to pack THAT much stuff, please check your bag. If it looks too big to fit in the overhead, it is probably too big to fit in the overhead.
- Respect the privacy of fellow passengers. It's always nice to greet your seat mates. However, if they are not obviously interested in having a conversation for the duration of the trip, then please let then travel in peace. They may be tired, stressed, or just not in the mood to hear about your problems.
- Keep your carry-on food to yourself. With the lack of airline food, many travelers like to bring their own meal on-board. That's great. Unless you are sitting next to someone with a smelly or sloppy meal. Understand that the whole plane does not want to smell your double garlic, onions and peppers sandwich. And that pork barbecue sandwich is fine, but not when it get's splattered on my suit.
- Depart the plane in an orderly manner. I've saved my biggest pet peave for last. What makes people think that they are going anywhere as soon as the plane stops at the jetway. So many passengers jump up, grab their carry-on bags and wait to sprint off the plane. One catch. The door's still closed and there are a bunch of people in front of them. Here is where true etiquette is lacking. Why not demonstrate some humanity and depart the plane row by row, taking turns instead of rushing ahead of everyone else and pushing granny out of the way to get off the plane before her.