Saturday, July 11, 2009

Airport Etiquette, Part 2 - Be Patient While Standing in Lines

One of the most frustrating parts of any airport experience is the lines…lines at ticketing, lines at TSA, line at Starbucks on Monday morning at 7:10 a.m. Here are a few helpful (and polite reminders) on how to best handle the lines that you may be facing. 

 Ticketing – People who work ticketing have a fairly thankless job (similar to IT professionals, no one wants to talk to them they only want to bark at them because something is wrong). Make friends with the ticketing people because if there are ever opportunities to upgrade or if the flight is oversold and you have flexibility to be able to take a later flight they will be more willing to help you out. If you know that you are going to take a lot of time with the agent and there is only one person behind you offer to let them go first; also if you can tell someone is frantic and in a hurry and you have some extra time let them go in front of you building up Karmic credits doesn’t hurt anyway. 

TSA – First rule, DON’T MESS WITH TSA, true story I once saw TSA bring in the cops, bomb sniffing dogs and sequester a guy’s (8) bags because he was in the ticketing line and left his luggage in a pile away from him…when asked whose luggage it was he smarted off to them and they hauled it away. DON’T MESS WITH TSA. A few things to keep in mind, what they say goes and not every airport (regardless of what they say on TV or the TSA people tell you) has the same rules so be prepared to be flexible. Again, this is a great place to build up your Karmic credits…be patient with those who don’t travel often if you are a frequent traveler and praise God when there are the separate lines for Expert Travelers, Casual Travelers and Families/Medical Disabilities lines. When there are these lines…select your appropriate line, don’t step out of your class. 

Boarding and getting off the plane Here is the deal…we will all get to our destination at the same time so your impatient nature to get on or off the plane is one of the most annoying parts of traveling. I commend Southwest for their new boarding process which prevents people from camping out up to 45 minutes before a flight leaves so they can get the first seat, now you can pay to get on first if you are that uptight about where you sit on the plane. There is a method to how most airlines board their planes, for example those that assign seats typically board 1st class first and then they start from the back of the plane and move their way forward…really a very smart move and makes a lot of sense and prevents people from getting bruised foreheads from bags or elbows catching them on their way by. When you are traveling and I understand that some people refuse to pay the additional money to check their bags but please be courteous of the size of the bag that you are putting in the overhead bins. If your bag is pretty big for the space then turn your bag upside down and place it in with the wheels up, that will allow for the maximum space to be utilized. Also if you have purses (like giant ugly white hobo style purses that you place in the overhead and prevent someone from their bag going up and then they have to check their luggage, not that I’ve been in that situation before or anything) or jackets hold them until everyone is on board and they will easily slide around the other luggage that is up there. If there is someone trying to put an item in the overhead bin that looks like they may struggle offer to help them instead of looking disgusted at them as they struggle to hurry and get their bag in place. When the flight has landed…wait your damn turn. I don’t know who is so special that they need to jump out of their seat and rush to the front of the plane taking out any unsuspecting blue hair that might be trying to stretch their legs. If you are that important then you should have a private plane. If you have a close connection flight then say something to the stewardess before the plane lands so she can alert the gate when you arrive or she can ask for everyone to stay seated so you can get off and get to your connection. Traveling Cowgirl Code: When handling lines at the airport remember rules you were taught in Kindergarten; be patient and wait your turn; be nice to your neighbor.

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