Ever feel like you are a walk on for the movie Outbreak when you are at the airport. Everyone around you is coughing, sneezing, sniffing, blowing and wiping their noses. Today I want to talk about airport etiquette. It has more to do with how you take care of your hygiene at the airport, but while I am sitting here waiting to board a flight to St. Louis, I thought wow… People are fucking disgusting.
First of all, everyone at the airport is on edge. They are either running late, scared to fly, waiting for their next opportunity to smoke a cigarette, or afraid of terrorists.
Whatever it is, they are crabby. You also have different levels of airport patrons. You have those that are headed to or from their fantastic vacation, the veterans of flying who travel for work all the time and then the random folks flying for whatever reasons. Everyone also wants to bring all their shit with them, so each person has as many bags as humanly possible.
Once these massive suitcases have been weighed and thrown onto the conveyer belt in hopes that they will arrive at the final destination, there is the dreaded security line. Everyone starts to sweat and no one knows which line they are supposed to be in although they are very plainly labeled. Luckily the airport counts on this and has agents all over the place to herd the passengers into the right lanes. Now, if you have never flown before I can understand some confusion with some parts of this process. No one else has any excuse. The agents say to empty your pockets, take all liquids out of your bags, place all laptops in their own bin and remove jackets, belts and shoes. So why in the fuck do people pack their pockets full of shit, throw their full water bottle into their bag and shove their laptop in a bin with their shoes and jacket? Seriously, I am guessing that the TSA agents are in weekly therapy sessions to cope with the stupidity they encounter on such a regular basis. Also, don’t cut in line. You will not get out any quicker as your shit will be on the conveyer belt in the order items were placed on it, so when you cut in front of me, my bag still pops out of the x-ray machine first...
You made it into the actual airport now. The bars are packed because as I said earlier, everyone is on edge. There are constant announcements so loud that you can barely hear yourself think. Speaking of which, could Jane Finnegan please board her god damn flight. They have been paging her for one million years. She is probably at the Hudson News buying some shit she most definitely does not need. As you may be able to tell, I am one of those people that is easily annoyed by the stupidity that occurs at most airports, so I am going to lay out some really basic and what seem to be common sense rules of etiquette that I think everyone should follow while they travel into and out of the airport.
Do not stop in the middle of the walkways. No one should do this anywhere, but in particular the airport. People are running, staring at their phones, looking out the windows and all this other distracting shit while they walk toward their gate. If you stop in the middle of the walkway, you are going to cause a pile up. Please pull on over to the side and do whatever you thought was so urgent that you had to stop in front of all the people who are walking behind you, over there on the side.
If you order food and eat it at your gate, throw away your fucking garbage. Seriously, what is wrong with you? I have seen so many people leave their McDonald’s garbage on the floor next to their seat. There are garbage cans all over the place. Literally every 25 feet. Also, if you order food, remember that you are the only person that knows your time frame. If you barely have enough time to get to your gate, maybe you do not need that Big Mac. Do not get angry at the food service workers because they are not cooking your food quick enough. Plan ahead and eat before you go to the airport or get there with enough time. Or… do not think that you are entitled to get food when you are running late at a quicker pace than everyone else.
Cover your mouth. Even better take medicine that will prevent you from snotting and coughing all over the place. Once we all get onto the plane, we are stuck with you and your disgusting germs that you are spreading all over the place by simply not following manners that you were taught in kindergarten. And on that note, wash your hands. Seriously people. You may be running late for your flight (Jane Finnegan) but you have the spare 20 seconds to wash your hands. Yes, twenty seconds. Running your toilet tarnished hands under the water faucet without soap for 5 seconds does not count.
At the gate there are all the different types of seats. The most desired are where people can plug in their phone, tablet, laptop, etc. Therefore, if you do not need to plug in, do not sit there unless there is nowhere else to sit. Also, if you see someone looking for an outlet to plug in their phone and you have taken up four outlets charging all of your shit, please offer to unplug one of these items so that they can at least have their phone charged.
Boarding the airplane is similar to a cattle call. Even though you have an assigned seat (unless you are flying
Southwest) everyone rushes to the gate as soon as they announce boarding as though there is some prize for getting to the front first. There is no reward. Just calm down and wait until it is your turn to board the plane. If you are super concerned that you are not going to be able to check one of your fifteen pieces of luggage that you brought with you, then next time consider if you need to bring 10 pairs of shoes with you for the weekend.
On the plane, follow the fucking instructions of the flight attendants. “No coats should be placed in the overhead storage until we know that there are enough spaces to accommodate the rolling bags.” I watch multiple people shove their down parkas into the overhead storage. This will be a full flight (on Southwest) as I watch passengers put their purse/bag on the seat next to them hoping that they will not have a neighbor. It is a FULL flight. Put your purse under your seat or on your lap. Stop being a dick. Do not dilly dally. Find your seat, put your suitcase up and get out of the aisle. Do not take 10 minutes to adjust your outfit, put on your headphones, check your phone… You are holding up the entire line. Sit down, put on your seatbelt and turn your phone to airplane mode.
Don’t kick the seat in front of you, take a hint if the person next to you does not want to share their life story with you and do your best to mind your own business until you land. Do not paint your nails, clip your nails, brush your hair or spray anything on the plane. Remember you are sharing air with these people.
We have landed! Everyone stand up at the same time and rush to get off the plane… No! One person at a time exits the plane, and that should be row by row. Do not try to push yourself in front of others, step over people or crawl across your neighbors lap. If there is someone struggling to get their bag out of the overhead compartment, help them. Don’t just glare at them. Say thank you to the flight attendant who had to put up with everyone’s shit for the past however many hours and exit the plane.
When I think of a carousel, I think of joy, whimsy and child like fun. Not at the airport. When you are have gone to pick up your 14 other pieces of luggage at the carousel, do not push people out of the way. If you see your luggage but cannot get to it, don’t fret. It does not drop into a fiery pit of lava if you do not get it the moment it appears on the conveyer belt. It comes back around. Just wait. Again, if you see someone struggling, help. Finally, check the luggage tag. Unless you made your suitcase from scratch, there are others just like it that exist on the planet. There might even be others with your fancy luggage tag (again which is more than likely not one of a kind.)
If you can do these simple tasks, you will be a better person, and you will get to your destination all the same and will have pissed off significantly less people.