Travel: No W00T for You

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.

cloud layersSo, since we all wind up with each other, let’s make up some rules to make travel more pleasant for everyone.

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.airplane.jpg

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 (c) 2007 All rights reserved.

3 thoughts on “Travel: No W00T for You

  1. You know, it is amazing how just ONE of those items you mentioned can ruin YOUR whole mood. I was flying home over the holidays, missed my flight and was on standby for a few hours. I sat down in an empty chair. 15 seconds pass and the man next to me says, “My wife isn’t going to like the fact that you are in her chair.” I looked at him, got up, moved over one chair and continued to stare at him. Just as the flight was boarding, his wife showed up…a full 30 minutes later. Sure am glad we were holding that seat just for HER!!

    –I’m always amazed how people in airports have territorial rights. Sure, if you trot off to the ladies room and leave a book in your chair, it should still be there, but if you went off to dinner. . .

  2. Ha, Quinn, the whole thing is all about manners. Oh, golly, manners? Aren’t they those quaint little habits my great-grandma got her knuckles rapped for violating? Who needs manners? asks the ding-a-ling in line with the cell-phone strapped to her ear, the whinging child in the stroller she is bumping against my ankles, Manners stifle my free-expression!

    I read a nicely worded essay the other week where the person wrote that if ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ the people in the village should have the right to discipline the ill-mannered. I remember a time when, if the teacher stood you in the corner for mis-behaving, when you got home, your parents would treat you to an early bed without any dessert and ground you for the rest of the week as well. If you were heard by a neighbor using foul language, it only took her word for your parents to discipline you. Nowadays, an adult who dares to ask a child to behave itself is treated as an abuser, and heaven forbid you suggest that the parent do their job! Enough of this ‘bolstering the self-esteem’ of anyone! Let’s have some return to consequences to bad behavior, respect for elders and their opinions, and some sensible expectation of good manners!

    I have given up most group travel, movie theaters, and pretty much a lot of social situations because biting my tongue is not a pleasant way to spend my time.

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