Friday, July 13, 2007

Air Travel Do's and Don'ts

"Today, most people consider just getting there to be the only remaining value in air travel." Zagat Survey

It's summer, time for crowded airports and unfriendly skies. And past time for everybody to get a grip about air travel. Accept reality as it IS, not as you wish it were. Then figure out a way to cope with it.

Or don't fly.

Because unless you can afford your own private jet, commercial air travel will include most, if not all, of the following conditions:
1. Long lines.
2. Surly and/or incompetent security and airline personnel.
3. Delays -- departing and landing.
4. Unclean seating areas and bathrooms.
5. Lousy--if any--food.
6. Lots of strangers.
7. Children and babies.
8. Lost, damaged or long waits for luggage.
9. Missed connections.
10. Free floating hostility and viruses.

Those are the cold, hard facts. If you fly frequently, as I do, you already know this. If you're a flight attendant, you know it better than any of us.

There are some ways to make air travel a little easier. Most of them are Don'ts. They should be obvious to most thinking adults. But well, go figure.

As a public service to those who need some educating, here's a list of Passenger Don'ts:
1. Don't hold up the line searching for the ticket and ID which should already be in your hand.
2. Don't hold up the line arguing about forbidden liquids you will have to give up no matter what you say.
3. Don't hold up the line by waiting until you're directly in front of the security gate to unpack your laptop and take off your shoes.
4. Don't hold up the line by pulling 17 items from your carry-on before stowing it above your seat.

Sensing a pattern here? More on-the-plane don'ts:
5. Don't take up more overhead space than you need.
6. Don't smell bad. This refers not only to body odor but to the overkill application of perfume or cologne.
7. Don't talk in a really loud voice.
8. Don't drop your seat all the way back (unless in business or first class where seats are well separated).
9. Don't get drunk. If you're that afraid of flying, take a legitimate tranquillizer. If you're a drunk, get off my plane.
10. Don't make jokes about hijackers or plane crashes.
On the up side, there are some things you can do to make your own and other people's trip smoother, cleaner and healthier.

Passenger Do's:

1. Put only real essentials for the flight into your handbag.

a) Essentials are wallet, ticket, cell phone, iPod, book, glasses, in-flight meds, tissues, ear plugs and okay, a small hairbrush too.
b) Add a plastic Ziploc with eye drops, nose spray, hand/face lotion and lip balm. You'll thank me.
c) Overflow goes in your laptop case. Men who don't carry a laptop should buy a case and use it as a Man Purse.

2. Pack the rest of your essentials, an extra set of underwear, socks and all medications in your carry-on. Include a plastic bag for dirty stuff.
3. Pack all essentials and meds in clear plastic cases. Then Security can see what you've got without having to open a case and touch your stuff.
4. Put all your clothes in separate clear plastic bags for the same reason. It makes packing easier, especially if you use the bags that remove air and flatten for more space.
5. No bare feet. Think of all the other bare feet and dirty socks that have tramped through security before you. Blech.
6. Wear slip-on shoes if at all possible. Easy for Security, easy while on the plane.
7. Bring food from home to eat on the plane.
8. The only thing you should buy in the airport is a bottle of water.
9. Carry disposable wipes to clean your hands. Do not use airplane water for anything.
10. For long flights bring your own small travel pillow and blanket.

By the way, you can and should write to airlines who've handled you, your flight or your luggage badly. This is a Very competitive business. Believe me, they listen and you'll get results.

Have a nice flight.

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Blogger Nick Jacobs said...

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2:29 AM  
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11:41 PM  

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