After flying approximately one million miles in the last 2-3 years, I've encountered just about every travel experience possible. This includes everything from scary divergences and emergencies to innocent but annoying pet peeves. Most of the time, I'm traveling for work - using my favorite travel hacks to stay productive, healthy and sane.
However, traveling is not a solo experience. We're all in it together and the people around you can affect your experience. I try my best to control what I can control, yet it's inevitable that some travelers are not as experienced or aware. Even my best travel lessons can't help me in these situations.
Here's a list of the most annoying things that travelers do at the airport and on the plane.
1. Going into the Pre-Check line when you're not Pre-Check
I know that short line is enticing, yet no amount of smooth talking will get you past the Pre-Check boarding pass and ID check. This slows everyone up and puts you at risk of going to the back of the long line.
2. Grown adults getting mad about crying babies
It's inevitable that there's an adult who gets visibility and/or vocally upset about a baby crying on a flight. In most cases I've witnessed, these adults are men who forget the fact that they were once a baby that cried on airplanes. My advice: act like an adult and also consider using ear plugs or noise-cancellation headphones.
3. Playing overhead "Tetris" to get your oversized carry-on to fit
I completely applaud the determination of the person who insists their bag will fit - yet I completely resent their stubbornness while ignoring the laws of physics. If you have a big carry-on, check it before boarding or pay the $15 extra fee to board early so you can be the person who puts your carry-on in sideways. (See next item)
4. Putting your carry-on in sideways
It's hard to judge this person, because checking a bag is awful. Yet when you put your "just a little too big" carry-on in sideways, you're taking room from people who have appropriately sized carry-ons. This does not apply if you're on a small airplane.
5. Walking through a metal detector with keys, wallet and phone
It should go without saying that the primary job of a metal detector is to detect metal. Yet it seems as if every four or five trips through the TSA screening process results in a passenger walking through with their keys, watches and phones. This wouldn't be a big issue, except they inevitably don't take all of them off at first detection. Instead, they discover each new piece of metal one failed attempt at a time.
6. Disrupting the de-planing process by jumping the line
The process of exiting a plane shouldn't be so difficult, yet there's always that passenger that wants to leave their aisle before the passengers in front of them have done the same. Again, it's just physics. Let everyone in front of you go first.
7. Stopping the de-boarding process to get a bag in an overhead bin that is toward the back of the plane
If you couldn't get your bag in a bin above you, then the etiquette is to let people out of your row and wait until the people leave the rows between you and your bag. It doesn't matter that your seat was 4D, it now matters that your bag is above 15D. Wait for others to vacate while you snake your way back there to get your bag. I know it feels like walking into on-coming traffic, but it's still better than checking your bag.
8. Not asking for help while lifting your carry-on
If you need help lifting your carry-on into the overhead, then by all means ask for help. I will happily stand up and help every single passenger around me who needs help instead of feeling your bag nail me in the head when you drop it. We're all in this together, so by all means ask for help.
9. Not tidying up the bathroom
No one likes to walk into a bathroom that's messy. It's very respectful to quickly wipe down the basin and not trash the bathroom.
10. Requiring that you move into the aisle when the plane lands even though you're in a middle seat
This one goes back to those pesky laws of physics. One of my recent trips involved a person next to me (in the middle seat) who insisted I let him enter the aisle so he could be ready to exit the plane. I would have loved to accommodate him, yet there's already people in the aisle and there's no place for me to go. In this situation, it's best just to wait patiently and trust that everyone will get off the plane.
While some of the above might sound ridiculous, they're actually quite common. I see them all the time. Traveling can be stressful and unpleasant for many folks, so consider these travel mistakes and limit them on your next trip. You, and everyone around you, will have a better travel experience.