How many times have you had “one of those days?” And we know it’s never meant as “I had an awesome day.” We mean it more in the “why did I get out of bed” days. Yes, you have figured it out. I’ve had one of those days. Actually, maybe one of those weeks.
[Just a side note, this was actually “one of those days” a week ago. I’m a little slow and easily distracted.]
It begins on Sunday. I arrive at the Reno-Tahoe International (ha!) Airport. Flight to SFO [San Francisco] is on time… until it’s not. This was announced as soon as the plane arrived at the gate. The gate agent announces “Um, yeah, if you are flying to San Francisco, the flight is, um, delayed. Yeah, air traffic control has delayed us and yeah, some of you may not make your connections. But some of you will. We should board at 9:30. And um, yeah. We will keep you posted.” Obviously public speaking isn’t necessary to operate a microphone at the airport (sorry, I know it sounds snarky but really?). We did board 9:30ish, if you consider 10am a close estimate to “ish” and arrived at SFO around 10:40. Despite being late there was still a plane at the gate so the people who had a flight at 11am were pretty much screwed. Thank goodness mine was at noon. Several people bolted from the plane and were off to the races. I was happy to let them off first but many passengers refuse to give up their right to disembark first.
Flight 2: SFO to CLE [Cleveland in case you were wondering]. Okay, instead of a rant I will simply list a few simple rules that all travelers should follow:
- Like the Boy Scouts, be prepared. This means you pack smart, have your ID readily accessible, you don’t bring all your worldly possessions on board with you, and last but not least, remove all those lovely piercings you got the night you were drunk with your best friend Bubba. Oh, and don’t wear a belt (or at least put it in your bag until you get past the security checkpoint.
- When approaching the security checkpoint, be ready to remove your shoes, laptop, toiletries, and jacket. Your cell phone, watch, coins, keys also need to go into one of those handy smaller containers. Believe it or not, they will actually set off the detector. That’s what they mean when they say remove ALL items out of your pocket. Even your good luck coin from Ireland. If it’s made of metal, it takes it own journey on the belt that moves. You know the one I mean.
- After going through the metal detector, do not, and I repeat do NOT, put your shoes on and put your stuff away where your belongings come out from the conveyor belt. In other words, grab your stuff and go over to the bench and put your stuff away. This is particularly important when there are a lot of people and/or a small area. Seriously, you are not the only one going through security. This is probably my biggest pet peeve!
- Oh and those moving walkways? Contrary to popular belief, they were not installed for people to stand, and they aren’t there to provide entertainment to your offspring. They are actually there to help expedite the transfer of people from one terminal to another when their planes are late and have a few precious minutes to make it to the other side of the world to catch their flight. (Okay, I don’t know it this is really true, but I have to believe engineers weren’t sitting around trying to figure out how to make people more lazy by letting them stand on a moving walkway.)
- Pay attention to the boarding announcements. If you are Zone 4, keep your happy butt in its seat. Crowding the boarding area will not do anything other than annoy those who have earned the right to board first. This includes you, the family trying to board first because you have children. Please note if they are over the age of 4, you don’t get to board early. And, if you do have a kiddo under 4, you still don’t get to board before frequent fliers. Sorry, but that is the way the ball bounces.
- On a full flight (which almost all flights are these days), your smaller carryon item needs to go under the seat in front of you. This is your personal item – be it a purse, backpack, laptop, etc. As far as those coats you refuse to take off until you board the plane (standing in the aisle of course, blocking all those people behind you), it goes in the bin AFTER everyone has put their crap in there. That’s what the flight attendants mean when they say “do NOT put your coats and jackets in the overhead bins until they are full.” Remember, you are not special (even though your mama told you this over and over as you were growing up) so you need to follow the same rules as the rest of us.
- Take out the items you need on the flight BEFORE you board. This will help expedite the boarding process. Standing in the aisle as you shift through your belongings to pull out a book, headset, newspaper, etc. does not allow your fellow passengers to stow their luggage and sit down. Again, this includes removing your jacket.
- My seat is not there for you to pull on. If you are elderly or disabled, you get a free pass. Otherwise, knock it off.
- Be considered of others – do not bring smelly food on board. Some of us who get queasy easy does not appreciate this (and neither will you when people start hurling into those small air sick bags). Trust me, they are not nearly big enough when you are sick to your stomach. Just sayin’!
- And speaking of smells, do not remove your shoes. Is this really necessary? If it is a long distance flight (meaning if they are serving a meal, not just a beverage), maybe. But at least wash your feet and stinky socks.
- If you are the unlucky bastard stuck in the middle seat, it does suck to be you but that is the luck of the draw. This does not mean you get to hog the arm rest or worse, stick your bodily parts over into my personal space. I paid good money for that space and I don’t like to share. Do I know you? Then stay back.
- When you hear the words “in preparation for landing” this is your cue to begin to put your stuff away. This includes all the paraphernalia you couldn’t live without the past hour – headsets, iPod, laptop, book, snacks, glasses, picture of your kids last Christmas at Dollywood with your brother’s family and grandpa with his new wife who is old enough to be your older sister. Don’t forget to stuff your swollen, smelly feet back into the coffins they shuffled onboard in prior to the wheels hitting the tarmac, and get ready to get off the metal tube we’ve been flying in.
- When it is your turn to get off the plane, if you don’t have anywhere to be, you move at the speed of turtle and/or you forgot how you had all your crapola organized so you can’t fit it in the oversized carry-on you brought on, be a good citizen and let those of us pass who either have connections or didn’t bring everything – including the kitchen sink – on the plane. Put your coat on in the terminal. For that matter, do all your arranging and redressing inside the terminal. Just grab your junk and move it off the plane. Quickly. Not like your hair is on fire but faster than a senior citizen who hasn’t stood upright in years.
- Once in the jet bridge, move to the right. Again, there will be people who have to hurry to make a connection, need to use the facilities or plain just don’t have the patience that the good Lord handed out to a precious few. In other words, you walking down the middle is not helping.
- Lastly, once you emerge from the jet bridge, move to the side. Stopping right outside the exit isn’t help either. Kinda like when you get off an escalator. You wouldn’t stop right when you get off and block others… oh wait. I forgot who I was referring to. Yes, you would. Therefore my message is: Get.Out.Of.The.Way.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is you aren’t the only one traveling. Whilst I have to remember to pack my patience, you should do your part and remember it’s not all about you.
But you’ll be happy to know that I traveled from Reno to Houston today (via San Francisco, which was once again shrouded in fog) without incident (and upgrades to First on both legs). Just a rather large man who couldn’t seem to get settled in his seat directly behind me and continually leveraged himself by pulling on my seat and the woman next to me that just seemed irritated in general but wasn’t particularly happy that she had to get up (once, mind you, on a four hour flight) to let me use the lavatory. Sorry, but when you gotta go, you gotta go!