Travel can be fantastic, rewarding, mind opening and good for the soul. It can also be frustrating, exhausting and absolutely soul sucking. The best way to improve the travel experience for all of us is for all of us to resolve never to do the following things when we’re traveling, and hope that we pass the message along to our fellow travelers.
- Yelling at gate agents: We get it, you’re mad. Your flight has been delayed, they bumped your seat, you can’t sit next to your travel companion, maybe they promised an upgrade you simply can’t have now. It’s frustrating, but what is also is, is not the gate agent’s fault. They didn’t set policy for the airline, and they most likely can’t change policy for the airline. And whatever leeway they might have in making things better for you, they’re not going to exercise if you’re the one complaining the loudest. Calm down.
- Carry on luggage which isn’t carry on luggage: Basic rule of thumb, if you can’t lift your carry-on luggage up into the overhead storage (unless your height prohibits you), it’s not carry on – not for you anyway. Trying to stuff a heavy, oversized suitcase into a storage bin is the number one reason flights leave late. Take less, or suck it up and check your bag. On the positive side, it’s a much less stressful experience boarding the plane if you’re not worried about finding that elusive space.
- Stinky food: Yes, airplane food is stereotypically and realistically, not good. And it’s overpriced. So, great, now you can bring your own food onto the plane. So, bad, now, everyone is bringing their own food onto the plane. Try to think of your fellow passengers before loading up that garlicky Caesar salad or onion filled hoagie. It’s a small space. We can smell that from here.
- Personal hygiene: Please, make sure you are well showered and deodorized before you get in the plane. You don’t know when you’ll be delayed or able to shower again. Do not engage in shaving, plucking, cutting, anointing or moisturizing during the flight, while in your seat. It’s gross.
- Taking arm rests: Manners would dictate that the person sitting in the middle seat gets both of their arm rests. You heard me – both. You already have a window or an aisle seat; let them have this. Don’t spread your jacket or blanket over the arm rest, you’ll be blocking the screen remote or earplug outlet.
- Manspreading: Women can be just as guilty of this, but mostly it’s the guys. You cannot put any part of leg into the space of the person’s seat beside you. Not your bent knee, nor your outstretched foot. Unless you know your travel companion, and have specifically asked permission to do this.
- Loud electronics: For both children and adults. Do not listen to videos on your phone, tablet, or laptop without headphones. Get your kids used to headphones before you take that flight, so they won’t fuss with it as much. Better yet, substitute that tablet for a quiet e-reader. Kobo has millions of titles to keep you entertained.
- Seat switching anger: It’s not the person sitting in the seat next to you that they have the seat next to you, and not your buddy. Ask politely if you can switch seats and if they decline, move on. There could be a particular reason they want that particular seat. It’s theirs.
- Bathroom steadiness: For the guys, mostly. Please sit down when you use the toilet. You know why. That is all.
- Reclining seats: Don’t do it. Unless you have a medical condition, or it’s an overnight flight, there’s just not enough space for this to be an option. Do you really want your head in that person’s lap anyway?
About Kathy Buckworth
Author, I Am So The Boss Of You (Random House)
Chief Family Advisor, PCFinancial & PCPlus
Columnist, “Parent Hacks” Post City Magazines
Travel Feature Writer, Metro News
TV Columnist, “Get Set, Go!” CHCH Morning Live
Radio Columnist, “How She Travels” on What She Said Talk Radio