Travel isn’t the joy it used to be. In many cases, it’s no joy at all. That line of people, shuffling through the metal detector in their socks or winter-white, calloused, bare feet do not inspire confidence. Neither does the person (inevitably in front of you) who feigns complete innocence of the fact that they cannot take water with them or the person who decides to have an emotional melt-down when they have to give up their heirloom gun replica. Anger is contagious. Keep it to a minimum.
1. If you know you get airsick, take your medication. And still bring a sturdy plastic bag with you. It shouldn’t be transparent. It shouldn’t be weak in the seams. And you should have tested it for capacity before you need it. Here’s an additional hint: paper bags make lousy barf bags.
2. If you have a cold, the flu, bronchitis, or any other communicable disease, please do not think it is your right to fly. Airlines don’t use fresh air, they recycle whatever is in the airplane, and the other 299 people on your flight to whom you give your cold will not think it was brave of you to fly, they will wish you to the darkest corner of hell. If you believe in The Secret, think about the consequences before you fly.
3. I know your children are precious to you. I once had small children of my own. Surely it is not beyond your control to keep them from kicking the back of my seat non-stop, Atlanta to Phoenix. And when I ask in a nice voice if you could please stop the kicking, telling me that I am fat is not a logical response. My fat doesn’t like being kicked anymore than my skinny. Standing your children on your lap and letting them wipe their fingers in my hair is not really as funny as you think.
4. The waiting area at the gate has fewer seats than the airplane does. Some people may have to stand, and some people may choose to stand, but your bag, baby seat, backpack, computer, and purse do not all need to have a chair of their own. Pile your stuff at your feet, or better yet, check it through to your final destination–Me-ville, where it truly is all about you. At the gate, everyone is tired and has traveled a long way. Pretending to be asleep is no excuse.
5. Bringing your own food on the plane is a great idea. Healthy food is wonderful. But that broccoli-fish-onion soup with garlic bread will circulate its fumes for as long as we are flying. Maybe something a little less pungent.
The idea is simple–lots of tired, cranky people are flying. You are one of them. Don’t do anything to make anyone crankier or more tired and the air will be a lot happier for all of us.
–Quinn McDonald is a writer and seminar leader on business communications. See her work at QuinnCreative.com (c) 2007 All rights reserved.