There are two travel tips that I believe could change the face of airline travel, should they go viral. If only I had a magic wand.
This week while traveling to Phoenix on my favorite airline, United, it struck me that there exists simple travel etiquette that has fallen to the wayside. Two simple life hacks that could elevate the entire experience.
Today airports are filled with hundreds of people moving in herds from one terminal to another, from one airport to another. Walking in unison, in a haze, completely unaware of the people around them and creating some unnecessary angst… accidentally, we’ll say.
Some perspective. According to the FAA, a staggering 2.58 million passengers reportedly flew in and out of US airports in 2017. That is equal to the population of some small countries. Imagine, if every citizen in Namibia, South Africa boarded a flight – it would be like that scene in Resident Evil when Milla Jovovich wakes up out of a coma and stumbles out into the empty streets of Raccoon City, not a soul in sight for miles. (Stop here if you have no idea who Alice is or The Umbrella Corporation and click here)
20K US airports, 2.58 million travelers, 26K daily scheduled flights – you can do the math, it’s sheer mayhem. And, to make matters worse, we sit in such close proximity on flights that are over-crowded and over-sold. Stress levels can shoot through the roof in a matter of seconds.
What if you had the power to make a small change that would have a big impact on another person’s travel experience? Two courteous tips that could be travelutionary:
Tip no. 1 – The Dreaded Armrest
There are definitely a few things that can drive some travelers crazy, but the debate surrounding “who owns the arm rest” wins hands down, in my book. I’m just going to say what everyone else is thinking: the armrest in the middle seats is considered “no mans land”. It’s not a “first come, first serve” situation. It’s essentially an invisible wall.
Most folks have “stranger danger” related anxieties is why no one says hello, how are you or good-bye. Headphones on, blank stare. It’s 100% poker face audition time. Friendly advice: keep your arms, hands on your lap or at your sides. Oh, and please do not cross them behind your head – you’re not at home and your elbow just missed my head.
Tip no. 2 – Deplaning
A close second to the armrest debacle is the entire deplaning process non-process. Barreling down the aisle attempting to deplane “out-of-order” is not going to make you any friends. And while the airline staff is great at getting everyone seated before take-off, it’s almost an “every man to himself” vibe once we land.
As the plane approaches the gate, we quickly realize that we are on our own; however, there is a method to the madness. Very similar to a four-way stop – you have to come to a complete stop, take turns, follow the rules.
So, if you are in aisle 26 there is no reason why you should jump up as soon as we land and hurdle over small children just to deplane before aisles 5-25. Just take a deep breath and let the nice lady in front of you grab her bags.
Two small fixes for greater traveling ROI.
And while this over-night to Phoenix inspired this piece, overall it was a great tip. But traveling on United is a gem. Now, ask me about my flight to Tampa on Delta this summer. Or my trip to Barcelona with Air Canada? ¡Dios mío! No gracias.
What is your travel pet peeve? Click on the comment section below and share away!