As my 2013 draws to a close, and I think about my record-breaking (for me) travels this year, I wanted to remind folks of some travel basics, and my thoughts on travelers.
This year was certainly a record for me. Now, I am not a “Platinum” anything, nor have I ever been. But I did go to five international destinations this year (Singapore, Sydney, Mumbai, Amsterdam and Brussels) and I certainly saw my fair share of folks traveling. My first “Tip” is always a laugh for me, because it’s so basic yet folks are often not concerned with other travelers that might be late for a plane or in more of a hurry than they are.
Walk on Left, Stand on Right!
Come on folks. This one is basic. Blocking an entire walkway, with you cart/bags/children/body is not only rude, but you might be preventing someone from catching their flight. If you are not walking, move you and your 17 items to the right side, far enough for someone else to pass. Easy.
Along with Walk Left/Stand Right is its close friend, The “Wall O’ Family”. Now I don’t expect families with all their children to walk single file, but can you corral them into a smaller herd so they aren’t blocking an entire walkway? I love the parents with the child on a leash that extends so far that no one can get by, or the folks that basically walk hand in hand, so no one can pass. If you want to hold your children’s hands in a crowded airport (Something I completely understand), make an effort to keep them close to you, and understand other folks might want to move faster than you.
Now, I would much rather have a crying child near me than a drunk, a loud mouth (More on that under “Speaker Phone Idiots” below) or other obnoxious adults, however I can not stand “KICKING THE CHAIR” kids. My seat is my space and when your child is pounding the back of my chair when I am in it and you do nothing, I will. Once or twice? Not problem, but if you ignore your child, I will parent your spawn and you won’t like it.
You might think my childless attitude is just uncaring and I don’t understand being a parent. Well you’re kinda right. I don’t have kids, and I haven’t had the joys of traveling with my own children. But I have traveled with many well-behaved kids, been stuck on the runway for hours right next to well-behaved ones, that the parents kept under control and I have even assisted! One of my best flying experiences was with a kid right next to me and the mom ran out of food and I shared my snacks and made it a good time. The lovely well-behaved (yet hungry) child even drew me a picture. (It’s a squirrel on a motorcycle, jumping through a flaming hoop, while a plane drops axes on him and bombs, and there are sharks in there, and all us passengers are at the bottom)…hmmmm
It’s not about having perfect children, it’s about just making sure they are somewhat controlled.
Now, if you are still reading and don’t think I am a total crank, here are some of my other tips for both newbie flyers and you “Status” folks.
- Armrests / Reading A Newspaper: You don’t own the entire space across all the seats. Reading a newspaper usually requires a width wider than a seat. Two of my flights this year, I had half a newspaper across my face because the seat hog next to me, thought he could take over the row. Fold it up if you must read todays news. With that, the middle seat should get priority on the “center” armrests. Both the window and the aisle get their own, exclusive armrest, the least we could do is give the poor middle seat the armrests. And armrests are ALWAYS down.
- Putting Your Seat Back: Now if it was up to me, seats wouldn’t recline, but I know some people like to recline. Just two requests. If you get up from your seat, put your seat back up, and on those rare occasions you get food on a plane, put them up then too. Nothing like trying to eat with a seatback in your face.
- Turn Your Speaker Phone/Tablet Sounds Off: No one wants to hear both sides of your conversation, your video game, your movie or anything else. Also file under controlling your children. Turn their sounds off too.
- Carry-ons / Too Much Baggage: When did a rolling garment bag qualify as a carry-on? I have often seen 3-5 bags for a single person. What is up with that? And women, your purse is your personal item. My wife puts her purse in a bigger duffle bag, and that goes under her seat. I did all my traveling this past year with just carry-ons. And I limited it to TWO. A carry-on sized roller and a backpack. My backpack fits under a seat. If my wife can do 8 days in Europe with a carry-on, anyone can. Or CHECK IT.
- Personal Hygiene: This goes without saying, yet I need to say it. Take a shower before you travel. Limit your perfume/cologne. I have been next to stinky people, dusty people, dirty people and it’s nasty. Clean yourself.
Thanks for listening.