Airline travel has experienced a resurgence since the industry lull post 9/11. Added security measures, changes in regulations and increased air traffic continue to faze travellers a mere seventeen years after the industry consolidation.
Travellers complain about all aspects of airport ergonomics with added focus on security and airlines. While some aspects of the experience could be improved, more often than not it is the flyer not the professionals working tough jobs to protect our safety who need an attitude check.
As a frequent flyer so familiar with the ins and outs of the industry my perspective is if we adjust some simple behaviours we can make our chaotic air travel experience pleasant for everyone.
Weigh in: Sir if your struggling to wheel your bag on the perfectly flat, shiny airport floors it is probably too heavy. Don’t yell at the airline assistants saying their scales are broken. Luggage by definition is a place to pack personal belongings for travelling not your life’s possessions.
Demetalification: Now is the time to rid yourself of coins, belt buckles and other metal stuff – not as you set off warning signs through the metal detector. Enter security prepared with nothing but your ID, boarding pass in hand.
Liquids, Laptops, Aerosols: For 15% of aviation history we have been squeezing our liquids into 100ml bottles contained in clear plastic bags. Our laptops have been required to be removed from covers. And honestly aerosols should just be banned. So why does every third person argue with security about why they need to bring three litres of Cottee’s and a jar of vegemite on an hour’s flight?
Note: vegemite and other spreads are considered liquids.
Bombombom-Bombom-Bombom: Joking about Bombs anywhere in an airport isn’t funny. Period.
Honour the Queue: A reminder to all passengers, if you have checked in and are patiently waiting at the correct gate the flight will not leave without you. So, there is no need in our world for gate huggers. The inarguably worst people at the airport who leap from their seats and swam the gate entrance, before they’ve been called. Honour the queue and if your concerned at a little extra for priority boarding.
The walk of shame: While some dream of turning left once onboard some of us dream of turning right onto the aerobridge. For those of us who are asked to make the walk of shame across the tarmac to the rear entrance please don’t use your mobile phones. You’ve been told not to, and it only makes the flight attendants angry for the rest of the flight.
On the plane:
Primal Behaviours: The boarding of aircraft reveals human’s primate ancestry. Stow it and Sit it is echoed throughout the cabin yet we continue to fight like hyenas for the beloved overhead storage space. Once our prey is secured motionless like a sloth we gaze across the rolling aisles of seats and contemplate which movies to watch blocking the hyenas behind us battling for their space.
Punch Screen: The tiny screen glued to your eyes responds well to a delicate tap. The relentless pounding of the ‘touch’ screen ahead only makes the passenger in front recline further into your space out of spite.
Sticky and Smelly: Airports house the most diverse food courts with something for everyone. So why deny yourself a flavour journey around the world and insist on bringing your potent food onboard? The stale cabin has a way of making everything smell bad so don’t make it worse by snacking on fermented fish, boiled eggs and durian fruit.
Debatable recline: Some argue it’s your right to recline others say no. I say on a long-haul flight – get some rest. But if it’s a short flight during meal service keep that seat straight.
Derobing onboard: I’m unsure to blame social media or vanity but air travel has become more of a fashion show in recent times. This leads to uncomfortable passengers derobing onboard. The increasing comfort of passengers removing their footwear to air their webbed toes on the cabin walls is one of the greatest issues facing the industry along with security and fuel prices. Obviously.
Uniform inspector: Yes, I understand everybody on this planet who has a black bag forgets to put a bright ribbon or obnoxious sticker to identify its theirs. But, please don’t block the path of others trying to collect their unique bag from the carrousel. Inspecting the uniformity of all black bags can wait until the end.
In short, air travel is an extremely complex industry that is made simple for our convenience. Airport staff want you to have a safe and happy flight so by respecting the air travel etiquette you and your fellow travellers can have a pleasant journey.