Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ode to a traveler...

I travel a lot. Sometimes it feels like too much; however it never feels that way when I'm planning or preparing for the travel. The feeling only comes at the end of a long and tiring trip or on one of those in which awful things happen like being in a different country than your clean underwear and toothbrush. 

But in honor of this Christmas season, when so many of us will be embarking on journeys around the globe in order to spend the holidays with the ones we love, I thought it would be appropriate to share my Christmas wish list related to air travel. 

No, this list is not about destinations or sights that you might find on my bucket list. 

Rather it is a list of SUGGESTIONS FOR BEHAVIOR for all those other passengers who will be traveling WITH us on these journeys around the globe this holiday season. 

Here is my Top Five List of things I would like all passengers to consider prior to their boarding. (and if not all passengers, then definitely those flying with KLM to Houston, Texas on December 21.)  (And trust need to read all 5!) 

1. Unless you can find contradictory proof in the Bible of Airplane Rules and Regs, I am quite certain that armrests are considered community property. They do not automatically belong to the person with the largest elbows or with the largest bodies. Let's all be polite and where the armrests are concerned, perhaps we could share? Take turns? Alternate? Rotate? I think you get the picture. 

2. I can appreciate that we all have different philosophies and practices related to personal hygiene--often related to culture. These are fine for when we are at home;.  however can we all agree that when we are flying with hundreds of others in the close quarters of a 747, we will all apply DEODORANT prior to boarding?

3. I can also appreciate that we all have different parenting methods--some less, can we say, "hands on" than others? However your parenting practices need to be adjusted a bit when you are flying with your very young children because again--the close quarters of a 747 do not really allow for you to just let your child do whatever the heck he wants to do.  He should be taught/trained/reminded that a person is sitting in the seat in front of his.  Don't force said person into being the bad guy by his/her having to repeatedly turn around begging your child to stop ramming his feet into his/her kidneys. 

4. The vast majority of passengers on those long trans-Atlantic flights take off their shoes. I know that I certainly do; however, please do us all a favor. If you are a person who tends to have feet that sweat (aka smell), pack an extra pair of socks for the journey. (And by pack, I mean in your hand luggage!) You cannot assume that the removal of your "sweaty by association" shoes will solve the issue as you let your feet air out. You may feel better, but those of us inhaling your feet's release from their captors will not feel better. And if there's one thing that doesn't mix well with the air circulation in a 747, it's sour feet. Simple solution-put on a fresh pair of socks as soon as you take off your shoes. Our noses will thank you. 

5. My final suggestion has nothing to do with your personal hygiene or parenting skills. (Did I hear a collective sigh of relief?) Rather it's all about your attitude. We all get stressed in airports--delays, lost baggage, canceled flights, and the list goes on. None of these things makes us happy, but this year as you fly to be with your loved ones for the holiday season, look at the men and women greeting you as you board that plane. They are working during the Christmas season to ensure that there are enough flights to get all of us "home" so BE NICE TO THEM. Forget about all the things about the trip that went wrong or wasn't what you expected before you entered the plane  Think instead of the human factor--the human factor that is going to take care of you all the way through that flight so you are rested and ready to spend Christmas with the people you love. 

And if these first five were not too much work for you as you began to prepare for that December flight, I'd like to ask you to do one more thing.  Please? It doesn't require much effort!  As you deplane, tell the flight crew THANK YOU for getting you home for Christmas. You might shock them a bit, but I guarantee you will make their days and you'll make the next flight they work for the next group of holiday travelers just a little bit better!


Skogkjerring said...

I always say hi and thank you to the crew when boarding and leaving, I thought that was a given!! :-) Your other points are well said. The one about the kids has been an issue for´s as if the parents decide they are on vacation from their kids the moment they get on the plane! Thankfully I´ve always sat next to one of my kids or Stig on a plane, so the arm rest hasn´t been an issue but I hear ya if you´re sitting next to a stranger, I sometimes feel like I hover over the armrest not ever really laying my arm down because the other person is somewhat hovering over it also...hahahahaha...ugh, nothing like getting to know someone in cramped quarters on a long flight!!! Stig has stinky feet but always takes his shoes off on the flight from Paris to Brazil...but he does a BUNCH of things to make his feet not smell on those flights and has been quite successful- thankfully!!!

Anonymous said...

The bus drivers often look shocked when I thank them for driving me to my destination... so yes, say Thank you and smile!

EKinDK said...

Oh, the kids-and-kicking-the-chair thing. Sigh. This is tough. As the mother of a 3-year-old son, I can attest to the fact that I am a HAWK on the kicking thing. But, on a 10-hour flight, he may get in a few kicks, maybe 6 or 7 in total, intermittently, and I sit on him for each one. I know the person sitting in front of him is perhaps doing a slow boil with each kick after #2 or 3, but to me, that's pretty darn good! It's tough -- VERY tough -- to travel with young kids, and I certainly appreciate how tough it is to sit in front of them as well. Maybe we can extend a teeny bit of that patience and warmth for the flight attendants to the frazzled parents who do genuinely try to control and distract their active toddlers on long ungodly flights? :-o (I'm still waiting for some brainy entrepeneur to begin an airline just for families...)

dd said...

The one about the kids is the reason I have been scared to travel home with my kids. I don't want to be the one with the screaming kids or doing annoying things. It is hard to predict how they will act....if truth be told they are not angels all the time. I did enjoy this post! =)

Unknown said...

Hilarious list! Each point is so true and important, especially applying deoderant and being nice/saying thank you. A few holiday seasons ago, my flight got cancelled. The few people ahead of me checking in flew off the handle when they heard the news. When my turn came, I was super nice to the check in lady, and she kindly put me on the first flight the next morning, with only one layover instead of two, and in first class. It pays to be kind!

Unknown said...

Brilliant, Kell. And TOTALLY true.

As a person totally TERRIFIED of flying, the whole relax and be nice to the airline employee thing? That's what I need. 0_0

Anonymous said...

hilarious. can you please add a section that says:

1) we all know people in europe smoke cigarettes...but if your jacket smells like you have smoked 200000 cigarettes and never given the poor thing a wash, please refrain from wearing it in place that have confined air space.