when you’re leaving on a jet plane

In the past three years, I’ve taken 27 round-trip flights, mostly from Buffalo to New York. Today will be #28.

I’ve got it down pretty well — checked luggage, small carry bag, book, kindle, phone. I park my car, take the shuttle, go through security, and hopefully it’s not too long to board. I like the window because it’s easier not to be bothered that way. When I get to JFK, my luggage usually beats me to the carousel.

936full-up-in-the-air-posterUnfortunately, not everyone else seems to have their ducks in a row.  In the spirit of the friendly skies, here are a few unsolicited tips from me, the frequent traveler next to you, that might make your next trip more pleasurable not just for you, but also (more importantly) for me.

1. If you’re not ready, don’t get in line. Don’t go up to the check-in desk if you don’t have everyone with you, if your husband is still getting the bags, if you don’t know where your ticket is in your purse. That mad dash you just made to get ahead of me in line so I can stand behind you and watch you dig for your license for five minutes? Classy.

2. Try to be prepared. Just try. I mean, airport security isn’t something new. We’ve been doing this for awhile. And when you’re waiting in line, at every airport I’ve been in, the TSA agents are saying over and over again that you need to take off your shoes, your belt, things out of your pockets, laptops out of their bags. Over and over. Even if you’ve never flown before, and you missed all the signs, and you made no attempts to find out what was expected of you ahead of time, could you just listen to them? And take your shoes off before you have to be reminded again, personally, while we all wait?

3. Check a bag or two. Honestly, they don’t lose luggage all that often. And last time I checked, you’re only supposed to have one carry-on. So I’m puzzled how it is that every time I fly, most people seem to have four or five pieces of luggage, each the size of a filing cabinet, with them as they board. Must you? Because there isn’t really room for all of that, and you slow us down trying to cram it into the overhead bin, eventually to be gate-checked anyhow… oh, wait. You’re trying to avoid bag fees. I get it. Okay, you’re a cheap bastard then.

4. Keep your kid happy. Look, I know travel is hard on parents, but you had the kid, not me. I don’t want to listen to him or her cry, whine and complain the entire time. That’s not unreasonable of me. It’s unreasonable of you to expect the little guy to be okay stuffed in that seat, sitting still, for hours. Hell, I get restless, and I’m an adult who has control over her own life, unlike this kid you told to sit still. So please see #2 above: be prepared. Think snacks. Think toys. Think bribery. Bring this shit with you, and give it to them when you get on the plane, so that they’re happy. If a new coloring book does it, we’re all happy. If it takes a $300 handheld electronic game to make your kid happy, well, you might be a little less happy, but that’s not my problem.

5. Quiet the heck down. During the flight, do not assume that the person in Row 25 wants to hear everything you’re saying from Row 3. I’m sure it’s a great story you’re sharing about that fab party you were at last night, but the guy in Row 25 wasn’t invited, and it’s sort of mean to rub that in, don’t you think?

Is this all too much to ask? Probably. Hope springs eternal, though. Go #28.