Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Flying Etiquette

I do a lot of traveling for my job. As such, I’ve noticed a lot of behavior of other travelers that I have come to despise or find annoying. I’ve been contemplating writing this blog post for quite a while, but I am a generally easy going person and I don’t want to ruffle any feathers. My annoyances have finally gotten to the point where I feel that I either need to vent or let other people know what I find annoying in the hopes that they think, “Oh, yeah, I bet that is annoying to other people” in the hopes that they cease this behavior.

Most of the complaints below are just things that I think should be common courtesy in everyday life, but that many other travelers ignore when in the airport for some reason. I don’t particularly understand that. People who are normally pleasant to everyone seem to think that just because they’re in an airport that they suddenly have permission to be a dick. Like my idol, Wil Wheaton, says, “Don’t be a dick”.

Let’s start this off with some annoyances that derive from people waiting at the gate before they even get on the plane. Prepare for /rant.
  • Know where your liquids are packed. It’s been a rule long enough that you shouldn’t be surprised anymore when the TSA asks you to pull out your liquids in a Ziploc bag and put them on the x-ray conveyor belt. You slow everybody up because you didn’t think to keep all your liquids in a single place and have to practically repack while in the security line.
  • Same goes with your laptop. Two weeks ago I was behind a guy that had packed his laptop at the bottom of his rollerbag and had to take out most of the contents to get at it. Plan ahead, people.
  • Don’t argue with the TSA guys. Not only are they then going to choose you for a “random” screening, but you’re not going to change their minds. They don’t care if you have to walk through the metal detector barefoot or have to throw away a half full bottle of water. You need to follow the rules just like everyone else. Once again, you should have planned ahead better.
  • Don’t take up more than one seat when the gate area is getting full. On Sunday, the gate area was very full because there were three gates all boarding within twenty minutes of each other, so there were a lot of people milling about. I noticed one particular person who was laying across three seats. Seriously? I gave up my seat to an elderly gentleman and sat on the floor, but you get three seats for yourself? Wow, dude.
  • Don’t crowd the boarding area before it’s your turn to board. Nowadays, most of the airlines have a zone boarding scheme or go row by row. If you’re in Zone 4 or in the back of the plane, don’t stand around the boarding area. You’re just in everyone’s way and you’re slowing down the already slow paced boarding process. Also, don’t try to board in earlier zones. Sure, you might slip through, but chances are the gate person isn’t going to let you pass and will send you back to wait some more.
  • Don’t be rude to anyone working in the airport or on the airplane. These people are responsible for maintaining a safe and comfortable way for the rest of us to travel. Most of them have tough jobs that I personally wouldn’t want to do. Plus, if you’re rude to them, you’re just being a jerk. Knock it off.
  • When boarding the plane, don’t try to fit huge ass bags into the overhead area. Also, don’t put it in there sideways. You’re taking up room that another person might have been able to use. If it’s too big, check it. Or, better yet, pack your stuff in a smaller bag to begin with so that you can fit it in the overhead bin.
  • Related to that is: Don’t put two bags in the overhead area. I don’t care how much foot room you want. When you put two bags up there, you’re taking up space that someone else could have used. If you’re bringing enough stuff to fit into two small rollerbags, you should probably have just put it all in one larger one and checked it.
  • Stand up whenever someone is entering or exiting your row. Even in the exit row. I don’t want to stick my ass in your face anymore than you want it there. Quit being lazy and have some consideration for others.
  • Don’t tattle on someone on the phone or listening to headphones after they close the door. This isn’t Soviet Russia, no matter how controlling the flight attendants are. The flight attendants will tell that person off, and if they don’t it’s not your job to do so anyways. Plus, I personally feel that it’s 100% bull that I have to turn my iPod off during takeoff and landing. Is the meager radiation that my iPod puts out going to crash the airplane? No, the person next to me wouldn’t even be able to detect it with the right instrumentation, much less get through all the stuff between me and the cockpit.
  • Don’t watch raunchy or scary movies on a laptop or any player that others might see. Chances are there are children on your flight and they might see.
  • Same applies to websites that you might visit. Go to the public library for that stuff.
  • This one isn’t so much an annoyance as it should be common sense: don’t talk about your confidential business practices/information on an airplane. 1. You never know who is listening; 2. You probably shouldn’t be sharing that information with random strangers anyways when it’s supposed to be confidential. I doubt your boss/shareholders/etc. would like to hear that you were sharing that information.
  • Never recline your chair. Everybody hates that. I really wish that none of the chairs ever reclined. I originally wrote this as the person in front of me reclined their chair back as far as it will go. I could literally rest my head on their head without being that uncomfortable. Amendment: when you recline your chair back so far you can see up my nose, don’t turn around and complain that my knees are sticking into your back. Quit being a jerk. I’m six feet tall, my knees touched your chair before you leaned the damn thing back. It isn’t exactly comfortable for me either.
  • If you’re in the aisle seat, stand up when the plane gets to the gate. That way at least one of the other people in your row can stand too. I’m mildly claustrophobic and always pretty eager to get off the plane and I hate when the aisle person waits to the last moment to stand up.
  • Don’t wait for the last moment to get your stuff together when everyone is getting off the plane. You’re holding everyone up. See the point above this for more information.

I try to follow all of these suggestions whenever I’m traveling (which is twice a week at this point). You’d be amazed at the behavior that I’ve seen that I haven’t even posted here since I’ve only seen it once or twice, or extreme examples of any of the above points. /Endrant

On a lighter note, most people do follow a lot of these suggestions. It’s just the jerks who stand out to me, I think. If you have seen some behavior that appalls you, or you have some additions to my suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment.

And, now it’s time for my favorite song of the moment: Beefy – I’m No Superman

No comments:

Post a Comment