Friday, November 21, 2008

Rant Series - On Traveling

Since traveling season is upon us once more, I've decided to focus on a pet peeve of mine - Traveling Etiquette.
So, without further ado:

A Modern Prude's Etiquette Guide For Traveling

I'm really very liberal when it comes to people doing whatever they want, but when it comes to traveling, I'm a complete throwback.

The current trend of wearing pajamas/pajama bottoms in public appalls me. Especially when traveling. I understand wanting to be comfortable when traveling, and that getting up early to catch the 6 AM flight is bearish, but for your own self-respect, as well as the respect of your fellow travelers, put on some decent clothes. Don't look like you just rolled out of bed and went to the airport, dirty, unshowered, and in your sleeping clothes.

I have, burned into my memory, the face and "clothing" of one person - I'm pretty sure she was a girl in her late teens, it was hard to tell - that I had the unfortunate displeasure to be on the same plane with. Her hair was still a mess - bedhead hair - and she was wearing pink 2-piece fuzzy pajamas. Her face was devoid of makeup, she still had the dull, half-closed puffy eyes and slack jaw of the newly-awakened. Her feet were shoved into unlaced tan hiking boots, and she clutched a full-size pillow as she stood looking vacantly around her. Her mouth was open as she breathed, and I'm guessing the teeth were unbrushed.

I shuddered to think this...this...thing might be my seatmate. I don't want to breathe in my own unbrushed unwashed self in the morning, I certainly did not want to breathe in her stench.

People, I'm begging you. Have a modicum of decency. Shower and dress, run a comb through your hair, brush your teeth, and put on decent clothes. Wake up a bit early - you can sleep on the plane, and while waiting for your flight! Jeans are fine...You needn't dress up.

Speaking of dressing up - this brings me to my next topic. When I'm dressing to travel, I do dress nicely, no matter how early or late the flight. Why? Well, because besides having self respect, and respecting the people around me enough to be clean and maintained, I also find that I get better service when I look better. I don't get pulled out of line to be "randomly searched". Going through the safety check is easy. Flight attendants are friendlier. If something happens with my flight or my luggage, I have found that I'm helped more readily than the person in the sweats and messy hair.

Some other things to remember -

Don't just stop in the middle of a busy airport, so that people bump into you, or need to walk around you. "Pull over" to the side, as you would if you were in a car. If you want to check out the menu of an eatery, or read the departures/arrivals signs, walk over there and read the menu, don't just slow or stop dead, oblivious of everyone else.

Making people stand because you don't want anyone sitting next to you is rude. You don't need to take up two seats, one for you, one for your luggage.

When picking up your luggage from the carousels, don't push people that were already standing there out of the way. It will not kill you to say, "Excuse me", and then move to grab your suitcase. Also, keep your brats under control. The carousel, despite the name, is not a child's ride. I don't want to be delayed because your child was climbing on the rack and caught their fingers when it started moving, causing them to be ripped off. I can't take the screaming and blood, and I'll be upset if I have to wait an hour or so for my luggage because they had to clean your child's skin out of the machine. I also don't want to be pushed or hit in the legs by these little people running into me to see if their luggage "is here yet". Keep them out of the way. If my luggage comes, and I'm dragging it off the carousel, I'm not watching for children around me. If I hit your child with a 50 pound suitcase because they were standing right behind my legs, it's not my fault. Leash them if you can't control them properly.

Don't be rude to flight attendants. They are not waiters, and you are not in an exclusive French bistro.

If your child is kicking the back of my seat in the airplane, or otherwise bothering me, I will be letting you know it's not appreciated. In return, I expect you to keep control of your child, and not be offended that I had to actually ask you to be a parent. Two words: Children's Benadryl

Don't get totally drunk before or during the flight. First of all, it's not really good to be drinking at that altitude, and second of all, you're annoying. Shut up.

Hey, seatmate? Sorry you didn't bring anything to read. Reading over my shoulder is not appreciated. Stop it.

These observations do apply to bus and train travel, as well.

Thanks for listening, and have a happy holiday season!

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