We obviously travel a lot both domestically and internationally. We’ve seen it all. Sometimes, maybe we’ve seen too much. Here’s some things you can do to be a good travel neighbor while making your life easier while making it easier for others you encounter along the way.
- Get your airplane seat assignments early
Weeks before you get to the airport, get the seats on the plane you want. All it takes is a visit to a website or a quick call to your airline. There’s no need to procrastinate. If you want to make sure you and your traveling companions or family can all sit together, then plan ahead. If you choose not to, then don’t force others on the plane to make changes because you didn’t think ahead. A few years ago we saw a newly married couple burst into tears with the flight attendants on a flight because they had to sit one seat apart on a plan e from Boston to Pittsburg. Flight time was barely an hour. Finally, they cried and cried until another person would change seats. We would have told them to suck it up. If you can’t be apart for 1-3 hours, then maybe flying isn’t for you.
- Be ready for security screening
We’re constantly amazed by the number of people who appear at a security line at an airport and can’t believe they actually screen passengers for weapons or other objects. Have they been living underground or in a cave in remote areas of the wilderness the past 20 years? And before you think we’re just picking on “newbie” travelers, we see just as many people with airline status or airline club tags on their luggage that are just as bad as others.
- All liquids go in a single quart bag
It’s been that way for at least 3 years. You’ve seen it on the airlines web site. You saw it at check in. You saw the signs before you even got near the security line. Yet, people still show up with cans of hairspray, large bottles of shampoo, half litre soft drink bottles, etc.
- Believe it or not, jewelry is made of metal
You shouldn’t be wearing all that jewelry when you travel in the first place. Why become a target for theft? If you must take it, put it in your carry on bag BEFORE you get to security. Then you won’t have to spend 10-15 minutes removing it all while others wait behind you.
- Pack away the belts, coats, hats and scarves
You’re in the airport now, so there’s no need for those items. Put them in your carry on and you’ll fly through security as well as be ready for the plane. Plus, if they’re in your carry-on, you won’t have to worry about leaving them behind somewhere. When you reach your destination, you can remove them right before you exit the plane.
- Read signs in the plane boarding area
Most airlines now board planes by seating section or frequent flyer status. Know where you fit in and act accordingly. If you’re in the last boarding group, trust me, there’s no reason to be the first person standing in line. You can take a seat and relax. The plane will still be there when it’s time for you to board.
- Have your ticket ready for the gate agent
That means, in your hand. Or the barcode showing on your cell phone screen. If you’re traveling to a different country have your passport out and ready.
- When you enter the plane, find your seat
Plane configurations on all airlines worldwide are pretty much the same with very few exceptions. As you enter the plane, almost 100% of the time “A” is the window on your right and the letters go mostly in sequence to the left side of the plane. I don’t think that’s changed in at least 25 years. While row numbers may not begin with the number “1”, they do continue higher as you move to the back of the plane. So, if your ticket says Row 36 and you see Row 5 as you enter the plane, you’ve got a pretty good walk ahead of you before you need to even think of slowing down and looking for your seat.
- When you find your seat, be prepared
You’ve had plenty of time in the gate area to get out the things you need right away and pack away the other things in your carry-on. It shouldn’t take you more than a minute to store your bag and take a seat.
Last modified: December 30, 2013