Travel Tips from a VERY Frequent Flyer

Now that the baseball season has started people are going to be heading to ballparks all over the USA.  If your flying to see your favorite team play I have a couple tips for you.  After flying a few million miles,  I can honestly say there needs to be some type of flying etiquette among the many folks who travel.   Kind of like golf has , “don’t walk on the greens in front of someone’s ball” or for baseball’s infielders, “don’t walk across the pitcher’s mound”.   There are those simple “dos and don’ts” when you travel in an airplane.  Being a little courteous to the people sitting next to you that are streaking through the sky in the same aluminum tube heading to the same place should be simple. Right?

Here are a few flying tips I believe should be added to the friendly flyer list.

  1. Honoring Military Flyers –  People, please step aside and let these guys and gals go to the front of the line!  I was returning back from a trip through DFW a few weeks back and an entire battalion was returning from Afghanistan for a 2-week furlough.  Our TSA’s held up the regular customs line so these guys could get through a little quicker. The person behind me was not happy about waiting which was pretty difficult to understand how my fellow American could be so heartless.
  2. Is your bag to big – no really!   Everyone has seen it,  carry on bags are meant to be carried on. Check point:  If you can’t carry it, how can you put it in the over head bin!  More importantly when you are slinging your shoulder bag or briefcase down the aisle on your back or side and you feel that bump- bump – bump … that’s the bag hitting people in the head because it doesn’t fit the way you are carrying it between the chairs. Turn it around and hold it in front of you.
  3. Aggressive Seat recliners – This one really gets me as I’m 6’4” and have a rather long femur bone.  I can bet 8 out of 10 times as soon as the person sits in front of me way before the plane takes off,  the person will throw the seat back into the ultimate recline position and not give it a second thought.  Be courteous when you lean your seatback. Look behind you ( just like you do when you back up your car) to see if the person has his legs in his chest already.  As the flight attendant says:  “Please keep your seats in there straight up and locked positions”. For that short 45 minute flight, I’m sure you will make it without needing that extra 3 inches of tilt!  One other tip on seats: When you are getting up from your seat don’t pull on the seats in front of you even if the person is one of those aggressive seat recliners.
  4. Early Boarders – This particular system is getting out of hand.  When the gate agent says “If you TRULY have small kids or a little extra time getting down the gateway before everyone else gets on board”  that’s ok with me and my fellow business flyers,  but when the plane lands you shouldn’t be  the first one out of your seat hustling your family or grama to the next flight faster than I can walk…that’s a no-no.  Stay seated and let those that waited for you to board to de-plane first.  If you have a tight connection, tell the flight attendent and she “may”  assist with getting you to your next flight by calling the gate agent.
  5. Sneaky Center Seaters –  Ok …we know you want to sit on the aisle or window seat, but just because you ended up in a center aisle seat that doesn’t mean you can take over both arm rests.  It also means you can’t lean on me or the window sitter.  And if the window sitter has the window pulled down…you can’t reach over and raise it up…it’s his or her window!!!!  Ask politely and I’m sure they will raise it or close it for you.
  6. Seat beggars –  yes,  unfortunately there is a name for that person who wants your aisle seat in exchange for his center seat so he can sit next to his or her significant other on the plane.  I have surrendered my seat gladly on numerous occasions because there are rules with family and kids as they need to sit next to parents, but beyond that you need to take your assigned seat and not take it personally.  If you’re going to fly with family and friends book early so you don’t have to move the people that booked their seat weeks ago.   If your switching an asile for an asile thats one thing but trading your center seat for the asile takes a lot of guts to ask.  Be prepared to hear the word no thank you.
  7. To Chatter or not to chatter –  Big tip. If someone has head phones on they are not really looking to drum up a conversation. If someone has sunglasses on… the same.  Not to be rude just wanting to relax from a day at work or a long night.  It may be your vacation but some people work on the plane or sleep because they just finished a 15hr meeting.
  8. Kids …I love kids! – .  I know I’m not the only one that has felt the thumping on the back of their seat from the kid sitting behind you.   Also kids cry and I really do appreciate the mothers that try to attempt to keep the child quite but this isn’t the time to teach tough love when he or she has a tantrum.  Traveling with kids is tough so make a plan to handle those situations before you fly.
  9. Shoelessness –  You know that your feet smell bad and I don’t really need to know it either.  Nuff said!
  10. Traveling as a group –  Party time for some, not for all .  Just be courteous to your neighbor. If he or she is trying to sleep and you are heading to the Bahamas’ and want to start the party on the plane.  Stick with the virgin Bloody Marys.  Along with this one there are the LOUD TALKERS –   THE GUY OR LADY WHO HAS THE RESONATING VOICE that you can hear from one end of the  plane to the other. You can’t help it and that’s cool,  but  Dude…,we are all glad that aunt Jessie came out of the surgery ok but just remember that you need to tone it down on the plane …please.
  11. The “Newby” Flight attendant –  You know who you are…. Really…I know you’re just wanting to protect the passengers; but… is it really required to enforce people to watch you do the pre flight demonstrations. The more experienced flight attendants go through the exercise without making eye contact.    Also when I’m sleeping in my chair and you roll the cart down the aisle and my knee is slightly in the aisle say excuse me instead of a “post” I’m sorry for the bloody leg.   Maybe I didn’t hear the message about “keeping your legs and limbs out of the aisle” through those terrible speakers on the plane or maybe your voice was drowned out by the guy in the next row with the resonating voice.
  12. Concourse Driving– Have you ever been rolling through the airport and the person in front of you comes to an abrupt stop to look at his phone and you end up running into the person?   Once you enter the airport and start your way to the next gate,  pretend you’re driving your car.  Enter the roller bag train like you would traffic.  When you need to review your documents or pick a place to chat..Please don’t stop in the middle of the concourse. Merge you, your bag, family and friends off to the shoulder of the carpet.

All that being said, just be nice to folks on the plane and you will start racking up those frequent friendly flyer points. I’m sure the airlines will come up with a way for you to redeem those someday. Maybe even give you some free tickets tot he next ball game!


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