This week, I will be at SeaTac four times. Two for business, two for pleasure, with a scant 20 hours between the two trips. I like to travel, I work for a travel company (the number one in the world!), so this is all good.
However, every time I get to the airport I am reminded of the hassle factor involved in travel. I like to arrive with tons of time (having been the historical benefactress of gate changes combined with extra long security lines resulting in a fugitive-like run experience through LAX) and park myself at Anthony’s, Starbucks, or the nearest wifi-enabled bar experience.
To that end, fellow travelers, isn’t it time we had a code of conduct at the airport? Something like this:
- If you’re meandering down the terminal, be my guest. How about you do it to the RIGHT of the terminal, so those of us who know exactly where we are going and have a set schedule in mind can get there? I walk through a terminal like I’m walking in NYC, the faster and more efficiently I get where I’m going, the happier I am (and the happier those who have to deal with me are).
- Once you’ve retrieved your boarding pass from the machine, you can move away from the machine to discuss with your spouse/child/associate what the next steps are/who is hungry/who has to go to the bathroom. That conversation does not have to happen in front of the boarding pass machine. Especially when there is a line.
- Don’t “tsk” at me because I’m over 21 and can head into the bar while you have to wait for a table in the restaurant.
- Yes, that is the restroom line. A couple of flights just landed and the novelty of a bathroom stall with twice as much room as the one on the plane is attractive. You don’t need to check with all 12 of us if we are really in line. Yes, we really are in line.
- Yes, airlines will try to upsell you at every turn. They will offer you five more inches of legroom for $50, they will offer to check your bags for $25, they will offer you an express lane for $35. They’re trying to make money. Some of us will pay them for the convenience. Skwawking about it loudly will not make them stop.
- Be prepared when you hit the security line. At SeaTac, you need your ticket and your ID when you see your first TSA agent (the one before the machines, at the desk). Then put your ticket and ID away, you won’t need your ID out again (unless you hit the bar) and you won’t need your ticket until you board.
- In the security line, you must remove your shoes, your laptop gets its own box/bin, your jacket has to come off, and your toiletries fit into a quart size Ziploc that is taken out of your luggage and visible to the TSA agent. They don’t make the rules, and we all have to follow them.
- Yes they have backscatter machines. They occasionally use them. Figure out what you want to do about that *before* you hit the line.
- They will card you at the bar. They will card you if you look 20 or if you look 80. It’s part and parcel of the deal. The waiter/tress may not like it if you kiss him/her.
- Travelling with kids can make your travel more of a hassle, and non-kid travelers should recognize that. Don’t complain loudly about the family with kids. Get in another line. And if it’s a single parent (Mom or Dad — Mom’s aren’t given magical powers or anything), offer to help if you want things to go faster.
- The overhead compartment will fit 3-4 bags, and yes that means wheels out. If you have two bags, it’s not nice to put BOTH in the overhead compartment. One above, and one below, kids.
- Your flight attendant doesn’t have magical powers and if it’s a cashless cabin she likely can’t break your $20. Nor can she tell you, mid-beverage-service, about your connecting flight. She has 300 passengers she shares with two other people, and that includes the beverage service, meals, prep, teardown, and oh, safety. Be nice.
- Anytime anyone does something nice for you, say Thank You. It’s surprising how many people take vacation and take vacation from manners.
- People in the middle seat are the least comfortable. If you’re in the window, you’re likely the most (having a wall to rest against and no cart bumping your elbow. Therefore, the window seat takes the armrest closest to the window, and the middle seat takes the other one, and the aisle seat takes the armrest farthest from the aisle.
- You can take your shoes off. But please leave your socks on. Feet smell.
- Someone frantically typing on their laptop, or having ear buds in and reading/listening to music, or sleeping, does not want to make friends. Someone talking to you does. Don’t be offended either way. People are people.
- When the light goes off and you take your seatbelt off, you *could* jump up and start grabbing your stuff. Or you could wait the 20 minutes for the 30 rows in front of you to disembark. Why not be comfortable? And no, they can’t really go any faster.
- The flight attendant who has taken care of you and 300 others is saying goodbye. So is the pilot. Say Thank You.