Trust me: no one likes that person.
Who is that person in an airport/plane? Best way to describe them is literally translating an Italian idiom: it’s a person who is in the middle of the balls. Easily identifiable, impatiently observed and silently judged by other passengers.
Flying is an unpleasant means to an end. Check-in, security, lines and more lines are the prices you pay to travel. But there are ways to make it all easier, not just for you, but for everyone. So in the spirit of contributing my 2 cents to a better world as we start a new year, here are the pitfalls to avoid if you don’t wanna be that person:
Before the Airport
Buying your Tickets
Read the fine print. Otherwise, you have no right to complain of any extra fees at the airport. And you cannot be surprised or upset when you discover you cannot bring a personal item (ladies purse, laptop bag) in addition to your suitcase, for example.
If you still don’t know what you can and cannot bring, learn here the TSA and EU rules. Don’t forget to pack your liquids/creams in a transparent 1liter bag. And make sure to pack your laptop and liquids bag in a way that you can easily access and take out at Security.
Always do it, when available. There’s just no good reason to not check-in online, it’s an extremely simple procedure that saves time to everyone, even if you need to drop your bags. Low-cost carriers even charge extra for check-in at the airport, so if you always do it, you’ll never be surprised with extra fees at the airport.
Arriving at the Airport by Train/Bus
You are not obliged to know your way around every airport in the world but do not step out of the train (or bus) and immediately stop to look around you. Take 4-5 steps and get out of the way before stopping to gather your bearings.
At the Airport
Check-in/Bag Drop Off Counter
Have your passport and boarding pass in hand, whether electronic or printed. More importantly, don’t reach the counter to drop off your bags without knowing how much your bag weighs. We all know a heavy bag when we lift it. If you are completely unaware, portable luggage scales are cheap. Or weigh it somewhere else at the airport. Whatever you do, don’t be that person monopolizing a check-in counter because you need to rearrange your luggage right then and there.
Going through Security
Use your magic powers of observation. Some airports are more strict than others. Some will ask you to take off your shoes, some won’t. Pay attention as you reach your turn and prepare accordingly: take off your coat, scarf, and jewelry, unbuckle your belt, untie your shoes. Just don’t be that person digging their laptops and/or liquids bag from the depths of their suitcase, while underwear and socks fly about.
Don’t stand in the middle of the moving walkway blocking it. Nothing forbids you from standing there but the escalator rule applies: stay on the right and keep the left clear for fellow passengers in a hurry. Don’t forget to place your carry-on behind you and keep kids on the right too.
At the Gate
If they call the passengers by seating areas, that’s not for nothing. It’s to speed up boarding by filling up the plane from the back to the front. Do your part and don’t try to skip the line, go only when your section is called.
Look ahead and see if you have space for your bag on the overhead locker near your seat. If not, pay attention to the closest available space before you reach your seat, stow it and keep walking. Don’t just stop in the middle of the corridor looking around like a fool while dozens of passengers are stuck behind you. Do your thing quickly and get out of the way.
If you want anything that’s in your stowed carry-on during the flight, take it out before you board or wait until boarding is complete. Don’t be the person holding up the boarding of dozens of fellow passengers because you need to open your suitcase to get a book.
Don’t get up before the lights go off. This is for security reasons and you are a douche if you do that. If you were unlucky to have your bag stowed ahead of you, just sit and wait, sorry. It is rude to battle your fellow passengers coming on the opposite flow. If you need to deboard quickly and you don’t have space above and before you, place it under the seat ahead of you. Uncomfortable, yes, but either that or wait.
Don’t stand glued to the belt while you are waiting. Stand 3 steps back and only when you see your luggage, step closer. Believe me, you have plenty of time to reach your bag before they go away and turn to fairy dust. Do you really think I can collect my big heavy suitcase within the 50cm of space I have? I can’t and if you are in the middle of my b*lls, don’t be mad if I hit you with my bag.
All this can be summed up as practicing common sense and paying attention to the signs/instructions all over. So practice next time you fly. Happy travels!
Did I miss anything? What else can we all do to make flying better for everyone? Comment below.