Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to be a good air traveler

Even before I was traveling every week for work, as a family, the JMacs travel a good deal. So much so that when MiniMac was three, he told the man in front of us at security, "YOU NEED TO TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF."

If you do not travel much by aircraft, you might not enjoy my helpful tips. If you do travel by aircraft, you surely already know these tips but will certainly want to pass them along to one or two dumbarses you see.
                                    
How to be a good Air Traveler:

1. When you are packing your bag to go to the airport, and after lifting it you throw your back out, you need to reassess the weight limit enforced by almost every airline. Most bags have a 50 pound limit in coach and a 75 pound limit in First Class. So when you shove 14 pairs of shoes and 8 different outfits for your weekend trip, survey says: OVER the limit.  What is more hilarious is that you will take that heavy bag to the airport, crossing your fingers for a whim. You will not put it on the scale until you are explicitly told to do so. You will then place it on the scale with one corner hanging off. You will then act surprised when you are caught doing this by the agent. You will then act further surprised when your bag weighs 62 pounds as if you had NO idea. So do this smarty pants, tuck a shopping bag with handles in your suitcase so you can quickly pull out 12 pounds of your gear. The people behind you in line will love you for it.

2. When you go through security, can you PLEASE just follow the rules? Even my toddler knows you have to take your shoes off. When the TSA person tells you this again because you can't read or listen, do NOT ask them, "Are you sure?" The people working at TSA may not know how to add fractions or how to properly identify certain barnyard animals but they certainly do know you need to take your shoes off. Oh, and can you please take your laptop OUT of your bag? Why is this recommended? Because the TSA agents have repeated it 10x in the 15 minutes you were standing there. Do you think they are up there singing some kind of song with no beat? "Please take your laptops out of your bags. Please take everything out of your pockets." This is not a song with no beat or cadence. Its is called instructions.


3. Also, do not bring your blow torch in your carry on. I thought the list of non-approved carry on items was a joke. Oh no. If you use a blowtorch you are either a welder or some kind of awesome artist. If so, you likely have a reason to tote a blow torch around. Anyone else, wise up. You can't take it on the plane unless you are Chuck Norris.

4. When you arrive at your terminal and tuck yourself into a seat at the gate, do NOT spread all your sh*t around to take up three extra seats. Your bag doesn't need a seat. Your newspaper doesn't need a seat. Your giant latte and bagel from Starbucks do not need a seat. Streamline. You know who needs a seat, the woman traveling with three kids, people on their third leg of a trip, or someone older than you.

5. When they initiate the boarding process, they begin with Zone 1. When you are in Zone 9, do NOT clog the boarding area. Same for you Zones 3,4,5,6,7 and 8. Zone 2, pony up. You are on deck. Everyone else, park it. I understand you are super excited to sit in a dirty seat with your feet jammed up on your bag underneath the seat in front of you because there is no more overhead space but you can't stand up and block the boarding passageway like gate lice.

6. And can we talk about the overhead space? I am the first one to never, ever want to put my bag on the floor. Here is why: They don't typcially clean the bathrooms on the airplanes. We know this from a flight attendant in our neighborhood. So you walk in the filthy bathroom. Then you tuck your feet under the seat. Then you rub your bag all over the residue. Then you put that bag on the bed of your hotel room. The bed you sleep on. Oh, there are worse things on the bed? We are all well aware. Then you take that bag and shove it bag under the seat on your return trip. Then you put it on your kitchen table.The one you eat on. E Coli? YUMMY.  So I am a big advocate for using overhead space. Now, if you are getting overhead space, can you please not take up the space allocated for a large body with your COAT? Oh, it's winter? I know, Mother Nature. Put your coat on top of your bag. You know who is going to say the same thing to you only less nicely? The flight attendants who have to repeat this 20x per flight.

7. When you are boarded and still yapping away on your cell phone, know this: Your time on th e cell phone is limited. When the flight attendants say, "Please power down your electronic equipment", they do mean everything electronic. Don't act like you don't your cell phone is considered electronic equipment. You have a job don't you? You clearly aren't that daft. When they make this request and you keep on yapping, know this: You are a dbag. Unless you are Barack Obama, Peyton Manning, dealing with death or injury, or new parents leaving your child for the first time, you don't have a single agenda item that simply can. not. wait. You had plenty of time to wrap it up. The hints to get off the phone now came in this order: When you got in line to board, when you walked down the jetway, when you walked in the plane, when you sat in your seat, and the many times you were asked to turn your cell phone off.

On the subject of flight attendants, can you please not aggravate them? Oh, I get it, not all of them are nice. But most of them are and they likely hate repeating the same thing 10,000 times a flight.

8. The bathroom. I think a prison bathroom at Leavenworth is cleaner and more inviting than this tiny closet O' urine spray. Can we put an instruction on the door? Can we request you please aim for INSIDE the bowl? Why does it look like a giant wet dog shook itself in there? This is unsavory. It is work when the floor is as sticky as a NYC nightclub at 3 am. As I hover in there in my heels, I keep telling myself, "It is only kool-aid, it is only kool-aid" but we all know it is not kool-aid.  I have seen less urine in the bathroom of my son's school and those kids barely know how to aim.

9. If you really need a snack, pack your own. If you don't like the slim options on the plane, guess who wondered your opinion? No one. I think it is so interesting that people take the peanuts or pretzels and then complain about the peanuts and pretzels. Its not prison where you simply must eat in order to garner the strength to dig an exit passageway with your spoon. Nor are you Hansel & Gretel who have no other sustenance but bread crumbs which you must eat to find your way home. Eat the free snacks or don't but please do not complain.  Same rule shall apply to the free drinks. And this is my favorite:

Flight Attendant: What would you like to drink?
Idiot: What do you have?
FA: Well, we have Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Ginger Ale, Milk, Water and a variety of juices.
Idiot: Do you have Snapple?
FA: No sir, we do not.
Idiot: Do you have Gatorade?
FA: No sir, we do not.

Really? Let's be clear that when you are given the list of products, they don't secretly leave some out to surprise you later like its your 6th birthday. They also don't hide a stash in the back to break out later in case we play an onboard game and prizes are needed. Listen to the list, pick it, sip it, and then zip it.

10. I would like to put an entry here for people who cough, sneeze, snort and hack to the point that others around you need a SARS mask but I can't. These people will always travel so wash your hands people. Wash them really well.

11. Can we talk about proper plane voice volume and etiquette?  Or how loud your volume is on your iPod as you are listening to the new Ludacris song. Turn it down, Junior. Those words are pretty filthy and while Mamacita loves to get her groove on, I certainly don't want to hear club beats and back that arse up at 8:15 on a flight to a work meeting. Neither does the sweet elderly lady on the other side of you. Lucky for you she likely thinks "back that ass up" is a reference to a manger scene.

12. When the plane lands and you taxi to the jetway, the magic sound you are listening for is the bell that indicates you can jump up like Criss Cross and get your bags and giant coat stuffed in the overhead compartment. When you do not hear the bell, do not jump up and grab your bags and your giant coat. You will be admonished. Via loudspeaker. In front of all. I know there is stress at times because of connecting flights, but unless you really are a grasshopper, Daniel-san, you aren't going to be able to run over all the backs of the people ahead of you. If you are really, really pressed for time you can certainly ask the flight attendant to request that others who are not connecting remain seated. This never works but you can at least ask so you are not the betch on one of my last flights who caused a scene on the plane because she was going to miss a flight only to be made to sit down and wait. Like a 8 year old.

I am boarding a plane in minutes. I will keep all of these rules in mind. Have a great week.

19 comments:

Mom in High Heels said...

****Standing Ovation****

Yes, yes, yes and yes to everything. WHY do people try to make it even more difficult than it already is? We're all miserable and cranky. Get on the plane (in order), sit down, take your drink and shut the hell up until we get to the next airport. I love to travel, but flying is the least fun thing about it. Okay, if I sat in 1st all the time, it might not be so bad, but I'd still have to deal with all the plebeians and unwashed masses at security and boarding. :)

Brian Miller said...

ugh agree...esp on security...how long have we been going through this come on people...and if they dont list ur drink they dont have it...seriously...

Pricilla said...

Some people just think they are more important than others. Or just like to look like they are.....

MommaKiss said...

From one who likes to travel and tends to carry on, Aye-Men.

Mr. Kiss now travels every week for work. Let me tell ya, the stories he could tell.

In-SANE!

webb said...

Flying used to be fun! like, the highlight of a trip. Not so much anymore. If you could get 10% of today's travelers to do half of this right, you would be doing the world a huge favor, but let's don;t hold our breath!

Courtney said...

This is hilarious & sadly needed!

courtney
http://savourthemoment.tumblr.com/

Caty said...

Hilarious!! Hope you had a good, uneventful flight :)

Andi said...

Amen sister! I keep trying to suggest a special lane for licensed people to go through security so you don't have to deal with all the dumbasses. Seriously there can't be that many people who are so new to travel that they don't know what the hell to so? And the whole not covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough - who were these people's mothers???? Thanks for the laugh from a frequent travel who FOLLOWS the rules!

Sammy K said...

I traveled twice this summer by plane while about five and six months pregnant and I have to admit that I was the person in number 4 who stuffed all her sh*t all over the seat next to her to avoid sitting next to anyone. I sat on the outside because I would have to pee every 30 minutes AND I got motion sickness all throughout my pregnancy. I didn't need anyone waking me up to crawl over me to get to the bathroom. Thank goodness THAT'S over. Now on to traveling with baby.

the walking man said...

Durfee's best Walking Man Way of being a good air traveler is only go as far as the drop off and pick up lanes.

ipenka said...

Great list. I always have trouble figuring out whether to talk to the person in the seat next to me or not.

I typically tend to be on the chatty side and enjoy conversations but am not sure bout the other person. The individual t.v. screens has started to change some of the need for that lately though....

VE said...

Ha! Words of wisdom. A long time ago I used to always do carry-on because it saved time and I travelled very light. Once my wife wanted me to pick up a meat cleaver in Chinatown in SF. I ran it through the carry on xray machine without even thinking. The security guy said, "Is that a meat cleaver?" Needless to say, I didn't get it through.... Ooops...

Hookin It With Mr. Lick Lick said...

Excuse me but...aren't these things common sense when flying?? Oh I know...that would be too easy now wouldn't it? It always amazes me how disrespectful people can be of others around them, especially in close quarters like this.

Cathi said...

Excellent! How this made me laugh, it's all so true. Enjoy your trip! xxoo

Amy said...

I second the standing ovation.

I used to travel a lot for work and hated the people in line for security who wouldn't take off their jackets or shoes, laptops out of their bags, watches, coins out of their pockets...the list goes on and on. I mean seriously people. I was like George Clooney in Up in the Air. I still am actually!

Safe travels! xoxo

Simone said...

This made me laugh out loud JennyMac, brilliantly written!!

Those people shoving their carry-on luggage into the overhead lockers on the plane even when there's clearly no space left are my no.1 pet hate!!!

northsidefour said...

So thorough, I kept thinking, as I read, what about this, or that? And then there it was; you have covered almost every one of my Why Must Everyone Be So Dull While Flying peeves. Which leads me to, are these people more adept at life on the ground?

Nitmos said...

If I can get off a plane feeling only 25% - or less - worse about mankind in general, I consider that a win. I try not to say "People suck" out loud...a little game I like to play...because thye may be the person helping me down the inflatable emergency exit.

Allyson & Jere said...

This just makes me happy that I never fly anymore. Really, I haven't been on a plane in 4 years, and I'm ok with it. Reading all those rules brought back all the stress that flying has become, most especially the fact that you really can't bring anything in a carryon anymore because it MIGHT be for a bomb or something. Anyway, kudos to you for all your flying and staying sane. Oh, and your rules were very well written.