And that title doesn't have an exclamation point after it. I'm not saying, "Travel RULES!!!" I'm actually offering up some helpful observations and tips as we head into the traditional vacation season. If you fly for work or fun this season, here are some road warrior handy hints (said with a bright shiny snarky talk show hostess smile and tone after just having gotten off a plane)......
Be curious! When everyone is standing in a loooong line to check in at the airport and there are...oh...I don't know - eight open kiosks available with a big sign that says "Step up here to check your bags and get your boarding pass" - you might want to be curious and check it out! Seriously, I know that you may not have flown since 1970 and you're proclaiming loudly to your wife that you KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING and YOU HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE GIRL CALLS US OVER and THOSE MACHINES ARE FOR COMPUTER PEOPLE but trust me, a curious nature will help in this situation!
This curiosity can carry over to the security line as well! There are big signs posted telling you what to do and what to put into the bins and where you should line up. Read and ask questions if you're not sure. Also, when the TSA tells you to take your shoes and your belt off and put them in the bin, don't get mad and proclaim WHAT'S THE MATTER and WHAT - YOU THINK I'M A TERRORIST? and WHY DO I HAVE TO DO THAT - the TSAs do not care that you may not have done this before and that you are just a grandparent trying to get to your granddaughter's graduation and they WILL make you go through the strip search.
Ah yes. The TSAs. Their job is to make sure that we are all safe from those who would do us harm and for the most part, they are a professional lot. HOWEVER - you there, Mr. Big Guy Couldn't Run Down the Donut Vendor Much Less a Terrorist..... - Seriously? Why are you so deliberately brusque with that lady in the wheelchair who can't hear or walk very well?? Is this how you treat your parents or grandparents? Maybe I'm wrong, but I can't find any stats where Aunt Bee hid explosives in her updo and took out a 747. A little more kindness and a little less control freakiness would go a long way!
Next - a little fashion tip. Pajamas, men's tank tops, Bill Clinton's running shorts - all Glamour Don'ts. I beg you - don't. And as you never know how long you might be delayed on the plane, please don't forget to shower before you leave home - think of the person squashed into the seat next to you for four stinky hours.
Unless I make eye contact and ask you to sit next to me and tell me about your ex-husband's dog-grooming tax issues, please don't.
Don't drink yourself silly in the airport and then sit in the exit row. Remember when being the safety monitor in grade school was an honor and act accordingly.
Don't push your seat back as far as it can go and into my lap - I'm already married.
Don't put your sweater into the overhead bin, shut the bin door, and then get mad when a fellow passenger attempts to put a computer bag in the same bin. Your sweater will survive, I promise.
But -Mr. Business Man with the oh-so-important computer bag / carry-on luggage? We ALL need to use the space underneath the seat - so don't crush that violin case / wedding dress / military dress uniform that's been carefully placed on top of all the other luggage with your second bag. Suck it up and put it under the seat.
Also, don't attempt to jam your oversized bag into the bin, slam the door on it 10 times, swear, give up, throw yourself into your seat angrily and leave it to the flight attendant to find a way to make it fit.
Flight attendants - you chose this job. Please don't take your frustration out on us, the paying customers. Unless we're drunk/self-important/threatening stupid jerks. Then, have at it.
And you, young strong businessboy guy - when you see grandma or grandpa struggling to get their bag into the overhead bin, give them a hand. Pay it forward a bit.
Thank the attendants and the pilots. Every time. Like anesthesiologists, they have jobs that consist of long periods of routine punctuated by extreme MOMENTS OF PANIC - and we need to appreciate their cool under pressure.
Venting lecture over. Peace out.