She Says: Quit Kicking My Seat: The Oblivious Traveler
I love to travel. I hate the part of traveling that requires one to get from point A to point B. Not because I don’t enjoy a quick plane ride every once in a while, but because I hate 90% of the other people that I’m required to travel with. I blame it on the unconsciousness amongst us that can be characterized in the following categories:
1. The parent who can’t discipline.
I am not a parent. I cannot speak to the stress parenting may cause. And I cannot speak to that stress which may lead to nonchalant reckless parenting. I did, however, grow up the second of six children. And I do know that all six of us were very well behaved, particularly in public places, and especially on trips.
There was no time for dilly dallying. There was no time for tantrums in the hope for a McDonalds stop. And God forbid we ever crazily run up and down the aisles of any place, smashing into those around us.
So it begs the question … why the hell would a parent allow a child to continually kick the seat of the person in front of them and then get offended when that person turns with a forceful “get your child under control” glare? C’mon people. The airport and the plane are not park, a circus, or even your home for that matter. Quit adding to the stress of traveling by letting your kids rage out of control and annoy the crap out of everyone simply because you’re too tired, lazy or stressed to manage it.
P.S. Bribing your child with candy should never be an option to get your child to behave while traveling. In case it doesn’t click, candy + small confined spaces + little entertainment = disaster.
2. The personal space defy-er.
We all know him. And most of the time, he’s pretty friendly and may even recognize that he’s cramping your space. However, when push comes to shove, he will never try and be accommodating to your needs even though he knows he needs two seats or that he shouldn’t have snuck on three carry-ons.
Regular three-hour red eye trips from Portland to Minnesota left me most bitter toward the personal space defy-er. He crowds or outright takes the armrest the entire trip (note to travelers – if someone has the middle seat, they get both arm rests as a courtesy for being smashed between two people … it’s just flying etiquette). His bag, which should be under the seat, is actually in your foot space. He hovers above you when it’s time to take his stuff out of the overhead bin. He clumsily pulls himself out of his own seat by grabbing yours to steady himself, shaking you from your cat nap.
The list goes on and on and on. It’s simple, keep to yourself and remember that you’re not the only one on the plane.
A hint for those who do not wish to get stuck in a compromising situation while on a plane: bring your iPod.
I don’t know anyone who has traveled and not experienced the talker. They come in two different forms: 1. the person on either side of you who incessantly blabs on about nothing, all the while missing your subtle cues that you don’t care, and 2. the person in your general vicinity that was never taught about “indoor voices” as a pre-schooler, hence spewing forth every thought with their fog horn mouth.
The only remedy for this situation is brutal honesty (which may come in the appropriate requests of “can you please lower your voice?” to the fog horn mouths or “I’m awfully fill in the blank here … think “tired,” “stressed,” annoyed”) and not in the mood to chat so I’m going to listen to some music” to the incessant blabber.
4. The “I can’t take a three gallon jug of arsenic on the plane?” security line spaz.
If I had gun for every security line spaz I encountered at the airport, there would be no more security line spazes.
A show of hands for those who know about 9/11. A show of hands for those who watched any news regarding new security measures taken to ensure safe flights post 9/11.
All of you? Great. Then why in the hell are there still people who act like a deer in headlights when they walk through security lines in airports? It’s not brain surgery and you don’t have to fly regularly to know the drill.
Just last week I watched a woman with a gallon sized, jam packed zip lock bag complain when a security guard explained she’d have to discard several items that were contained in 8 oz. bottles. For those who do not know the rules:
“Liquids and gels must be in individual containers of three ounces or less and placed inside one clear, quart-size, plastic, zip-top bag. The TSA emphasizes that containers should fit comfortably into your bag, and that only one bag is permitted per passenger. If you need to bring more than three ounces of any liquid or gel substance, it should go into your checked luggage.” Read here for more.
Of course she cried and said how much she loved her new 6 oz. tube of Vasonline and how she hated to let it go, all the while the rest of us stood there barefoot and dumbfounded while she held up the line.
Get to know airport protocol, please (this includes how to use a kiosk to check in and print a boarding pass). It makes lines quicker, security guards nicer, and the whole world a better place.
There … my rant is done.
My wife and I fly often. Since last New Year’s we have flown 47 flights combined (not counting layovers and transfers) and we have another 2 in the next month. Naturally, there are people that fly far more frequently. I realize that. However, I think saying we fly often is a fair assessment. 47 flights in 7 months can take its toll. Not to mention how much more expensive tickets are than just 10 years ago. (How come people say “Not to mention,” and then immediately mention it)? I remember my sister and I were able to fly PDX-MSP roundtrip on Sun Country for just $69 back in 2003. Roundtrip! Now you’d find yourself ecstatic if you found a ticket for that same flight for $200. That’s a steal. Additionally, the hassle of getting to the airport, checking in, security and boarding make flying an event. But I’m not telling you anything you haven’t already known for all of the Ought’s….Zero’s? (We never did figure out what to call this decade did we)? So what’s my point?
About one year ago I flew Southwest Airlines for the very first time. To be honest, I was not too happy with having to fly Southwest, but the company I had just joined flew them frequently, so I was stuck with this airline. I wasn’t excited about the free-for-all seating arrangement, of which I could only choose coach, or the separate terminals they have in some cities, such as their placement in the Humphrey Terminal at MSP. In just one short year, however, I am now a big advocate for Southwest Airlines. So much so that when I recently had to take Delta for a flight on which I would usually fly Southwest, I was annoyed. At a time when airlines are hiking prices, charging for bags, cutting snacks and drinks (not to mention meals—remember that?), and seemingly lacking in any sort of service, it seems Southwest understands that I am the customer. They haven’t once treated me like they are doing me a favor, but rather they treat me like my business is something they value. They treat me like they are pleased to have me onboard.
Let me offer a recent example.
About a month ago my wife and I flew home from a wedding. We had a plane change in Denver. Unfortunately for us, there was a maintenance issue with Shamu, so we didn’t leave on time. On top of that, there were severe storms in Denver, so we had to circle the airport for about an hour. When we finally landed at 9:55pm, my wife and I, along with another couple that had the same transfer, were resigned to the fact that we had missed our connection by about 15 minutes. To our delight, however, they had held the plane for us. They even made sure our checked bag made it over too. What was a minor inconvenience of a short delay for all the other Southwest passengers saved my wife and I from the much larger inconvenience of missing our flight and spending the night in Denver. Southwest is one of the only airlines that would have waited.
I know this is not a typical entry for me, but I had to share my experiences in the past year. I have been impressed and pleasantly surprised with Southwest Airlines. Changing tickets is a cinch. Cashing in frequent flier points has never been easier. Most importantly, for me at least, their service has been un-faultable. As long as Southwest has a flight to the city I am flying, offers the ticket at a reasonable price, and continues to appreciate that I chose them over the countless airline options I have before me, my business is theirs to lose.