Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tip of the Day: Being a Considerate Airline Passenger in a Turbulent World

When traveling abroad, particularly, being in a confined space (i.e., a wide-bodied jetliner) for upwards of eight-to-fourteen hours can cause folks to act bizarrely and inconsiderate.

Then, add having too much time to drink adds to the interpersonal conflict.

Personally speaking, studies have revealed that drinking any amount of alcohol at 35,000 feet is not necessarily good for any of us. 

Yet, it is my assumption that airlines have conducted studies as to the downsides of depriving alcohol to functional alcoholics (talk about an oxymoron) for far too many hours and concluded that it is wiser to to fulfill their chemical rather than depriving them.

Anyone that regularly flies commercially intimately knows that breathing recirculated air in a confined space is no day at the beach, no matter how many frequent flyer miles you accrue.

Please think about it? Imagine undergoing security screening that can easily approach a medical examination by a urologist, add a few hours of waiting for a flight to depart, which could be delayed, potentially add a drink or two before flight departure and you generally have a recipe for disaster.

We all know that flight crews are prohibited from drinking before a flight, yet, considering they have to undergo the same frustrations as the rest of us, their inner-discipline is to be respected.

In an aviation industry that can only be described as extorting euros, pounds, dollars, yen, etc. from each of us--a captive audience--it is no wonder that with overbooking, delays, cancellations, crews not showing up, claustrophobia and stressed-out gate agents and flight attendants, that there are not more short-tempers in the air.

The bottom-line is that by the time passengers actually board their flight and then wait an hour or more for the flight to actually take-off, most passengers are not necessarily in a frame of mind to "play-nice." 

Whether you're a novice flyer or one who travels every week, particularly on long-haul flights, I respectfully ask that you consider some the tips I've outlined below which hopefully may alleviate stressors on transoceanic flights:

1. Rather than focusing on your own frustrations, be helpful to other passengers, particularly folks that are handicapped, elderly or those needing help stowing their bags;

2. If you are going to recline your seat, let the person behind you know that you're doing so;

3. If there is a disruption aboard the flight, help crew members only if they ask for it;

4. Don't rearrange other peoples luggage in the overhead without asking them;

5. If you have medical training (physician, register nurse, nurse practitioner, etc., it is always good to let crew members know that you're aboard;

6. If your are contagious with an illness, please consider those you are traveling with and delay your departure;

7.  Be considerate of others on fully-occupied flights, as the older one is, the more frequently they may have to use the rest-room;

8. If you're elderly and need to visit the rest-room frequently, request an aisle seat well in advance of departure time;

9.  Greet flight attendants with a smile. They want the flight to go well, too;

10.  Consider packing "light," taking only what is absolutely needed;

11. If you're physically able, don't check a bag. The $25 you save can be used for a nice meal;

12. If you're a frequent flyer, think about buying a laptop with a 13.3-inch screen. Your back will appreciate it;

13. Considering buying a Kindle, iPad or a Nook so you don't have to drag large books aboard your flight;

14. When it comes to toiletries, purchase "travel" sized-items to lighten the load. Do you really need that bottle of mouthwash that will last six months?;

15. Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation. Your body will appreciate it;

16. Always use the rest-room in the terminal before you board the flight. It could be an hour or more before you have access to a rest-room;

17. Experienced passengers request an aisle seat as early as possible, as such seats offer more room and easy access to the rest-room;

18. Two armrests in a row of three seats means that passengers must share;

19. If flying with children, plan ahead so that family members can sit together and exercise parental control. Instruct your children to not kick the seat in front of them; and

20. Remember that being intoxicated, belligerent, disorderly, loud and non-compliant to crew members can result in your being arrested upon arrival. Having a federal conviction on your record is never helpful.