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This post may seem like a contradiction since this website is called Happy Travelers. But, even the most happy of travelers can have a few pet peeves. Unfortunately, I encountered most of mine on our most recent trip to Key West...which I will have a post up on soon, I promise!
Some of these pet peeve offenders are just jerks and they can't be helped. Some of them happen from simple travel desperation or by people who just don't know proper protocol. So I'm hear today to give you a few tips so that you don't end up on the wrong side of my evil eye, and if I'm honest, I'm here to vent a little.
So, here it is! How not to be an asshole in the air!
1. Respect the queue
One thing I love about British culture is their knowledge and respect for a queue. Not all cultures have this same affinity for queuing, and what is the airport but a melting pot of cultures? Most recently, we were at the airport in Ft. Lauderdale, and there was a women behind us that was obviously in a hurry.
"Look lady, we're all in a hurry" is what I wanted to say to her. But I just kept my cool and let her continue to shove me and eventually cut in front of both me and Pat at the body scan screening.
Now, this did a couple of things. One, it annoyed but slightly amused me. But it also meant that she was going to exit the body scanner before her luggage was out, thus creating a traffic jam as the people she cut in front of have to push past her to get to their luggage that has now fallen off the automatic belt.
But, lucky for us, she was detained by security for a full pat down, hand swab, and bag search. This was probably due to the fact that she was acting crazy and security had to keep yelling at her to wait...don't be this person. Wait your turn, don't shove, and we'll all make it through just fine.
2. Respect the overhead bin space
Overhead bin space has become more of a premium lately as airlines continue to raise fees for checked baggage. This means that we need to be extra courteous about what we put in there. The overhead bin is not for sun hats, neck pillows, or your shopping bag from duty free. These are all considered "personal items" and should be stowed under the seat in front of you or put inside your luggage.
Because people didn't respect this, Pat and I ended up having to stow our luggage sometimes several rows behind where we were sitting. You cannot believe the traffic jam that creates as 1) we try to stow our luggage and then have to wade back to our seat through the sea of people trying to get past us to their seats and 2) when we land and have to shove our way back to our luggage and then back up to our seats. It is the worst. Not only this, but at one point after we landed and people were just standing around, I tried to get back to get our bags. Everyone but one guy was nice and let me slide by. He though, saw that I was trying to reach behind him to get my bag, which getting anything out of the bin is hard for my height challenged self, but doubly so when this jerk couldn't lean 2 inches out of the way. I said, "excuse me, can I just grab my bag real quick"
He glared at me and said " You're just going to have to figure it out"
Que rage black out!
But, because rage black outs are usually frowned upon by TSA, I just used my shortness to my advantage and wedged myself back there and got it and then was stuck there wedged next to this jerk. If he had just let me by, I would have slide in, got my bag, and went back to my seat and everyone would have been a lot more comfortable.
3. Respect the Carry-on size rule
Now this rant goes out to the gate check agent that I had the unfortunate opportunity to meet. Now, the bag I travel with was purchased specifically because it is carry-on size. I even did a whole post on it, and if you visit that post you can see that my bag is a very reasonable size.
When flights are full, sometimes gate agents will ask people to check their carry on luggage. I totally get that, especially after my last tirade. BUT! For the love of all things holy, gate agents, do not pretend that our bags are over-sized and use that as an excuse to make us check them. We have eyes! I don't check my bags for a number of reasons...let me count the ways
1. The cost
2. The fact that I don't want my stuff smashed, abused or lite on fire (yes that has happened)
3. I simply don't want to wait at the baggage carousel for ages wondering if my bag was accidentally sent to Bangkok.
Because I knew for a fact that my bag was carry-on size, I was not too pleased when the gate agent claimed that my bag was "just too big" and would have to be checked. I slide my bag into the example case they had there that showed the dimensions it needed to be and she said "sorry, it's touching this side rail, you'll have to check it"
After a few back and forth moments and me on the ground on my hands and knees trying to get my bag to not touch the side rail (which isn't the rule by the way) while all the other passengers went by I realized that she didn't actually care if my bag was carry on size, she was just determined that I wasn't bringing on the plane.
This video basically sums up my experience. Pat and I watched it about 3 times and were able to laugh about it later...laughter the cure for everything.
After getting on the plane, Pat noticed a guitar in the overhead bin...a GUITAR! Not a banjo or a ukulele a full guitar. This sent me into a rage. I could have powered our flight from Dallas to Portland simply on the rage that was brewing inside of me.
If she had said, "this plane's overhead bins are smaller than average" (Which they were) or that "the flight staff have indicated that there's very little space left..because we let a guitar and a tuba on there already" (which there was)...ok I made the tuba part up. I would have been much less likely to freak out. But since I do have eyes and could clearly see that my bag fit the designated specifications and she kept arguing with me, I could not let it go. If you're on Twitter, you may have seen an angry tweet or two...le sigh.
4. Respect each other
This one seems to go without saying, but sometimes it just needs to be said. How can we respect each other better? Here are a few things.
-Don't bring super smelly things on the plane (food, perfume, etc.)
-Don't be super loud. People are traveling from all over the world and some are trying to sleep.
-Try your best to not constantly kick the seat in front of you.
-Only have your seat in the recline position if you're trying to sleep. If you're up watching a movie, or eating, you don't need your seat in the fully reclined position.
-Don't take up more space than is yours
I'm going to spend a bit of extra time on this one. I know seats are small and that you don't have a lot of extra space for all your stuff, but none of us do. Just because the person sitting next to you is the size of a husky 4th grader (me), does not give you the right to take up her extra space.
I truly believe the more courteous we are to each other, the more we get in return. I've been on tons of flights where I have run into people who are so nice, so courteous and happy to help each other out.
But I have also been on plenty where people are just giant jerks who think that their time/space/trip is somehow more important than everyone else's.
Pat once helped an entire elderly ladies group load their luggage on a train in Italy. They wouldn't have been able to board that train without someone there to help. Plenty of people just walked by and saw them struggling.
Don't be the jerk that's making everyone's life difficult. Be the person that's going to make someone's trip a little easier and a little happier.
Woah, that feels better to get that all out there. I really hope you all are having an amazing Friday. Go out there this weekend and do something fun, even if it's just camping out in your living room with a good book.
Hi there! I'm Skeeter. I grew up moving a lot and that makes me a bit restless for travel and exploration. I started this blog with my husband Pat when we decided to backpack New Zealand for a year. We are always looking for the next adventure and are loving life. We're just your average couple with two sassy dogs and a love for travel. We're sharing our travels and the tips we pick up along the way.
Hello! I'm Liz. Blogging is very new to me, but I'm so excited to finally write as much as I talk!
"Don't forget to travel happy"-Skeeter & Liz