So it's the Summer Vacation Season again, kids, which means that I, like most people who travel a fair amount for business rather than pleasure, will be spending more time in the airport fuming at stupid people and counting down the days until school starts and we can get our quiet, hurried, peaceful security lines back.
Having just completed two trips this month that challenged my ability to stay zen in the face of supreme annoyances, I have compiled a list of Things To Not Do In Order To Avoid Pissing Me (and any other business travelers) Off.
Please study and remember these before you take the kids off to Disneyland this summer. There will be a test, in the form of the number of sighs that come from the be-suited, briefcased person behind you. Less than three, and you're doing ok. Between 5 and 10, we won't kill you. Over 10, and you are officially on the Business Travelers Family Horror List and we reserve the right to roll our eyes at you, repeatedly.
1) Just because you CAN get 2 free bags plus a carry on plus a personal item on Southwest doesn't mean that you HAVE to. I CAN jump off a bridge. Doesn't mean it's a good idea. Listen, you don't need all that shit you're taking. I can guarantee that in two weeks you'll glance at those cute little outfits that you never wore and wonder why you lugged them along. Why do overpackers like you piss off people like me? Because you clog up all the walkways with your carts and your luggage spilling out over it, and you stop in the middle of the walkway to readjust your straps and pile up your bags again, and your crap gets in my way. You take forever in the dropoff areas lugging your bags out of the car. I'm in a hurry. You might not be, but I am. So please, when you think you're done packing, go through your suitcase and remove half of everything, and repack. You will take up less space, you will move faster, and you won't annoy me.
2) Follow the signs. When you're on an escalator or moving walkway, and it says "stand to the right, walk on the left," do that. Again, I'm rushing. I'm trying to get to my appointment and get home so I can spend some time with my husband on our deck. Follow the directions and we'll get along ok. Make me squeeze through you, walk over your luggage, or correct your kid, and you're toast. I will plow right over you. I swear to God I will.
3) Speaking of your kids, be responsible for them. When you're in an airport, you're in a place where, nine months of the year, the vast majority of the people who are there are doing business. They're making phone calls, skyping Hong Kong, etc. I get it that you have a right to be there - that's why there are tiny chairs and play areas. But for the love of God, don't give your kids a gallon of coke so they're bouncing off the walls while I'm trying to read the Financial Times. Just because you think it's cute that they walk up to strangers and try to undo their shoelaces, that doesn't mean everybody else thinks it's cute, ok? I don't want to have to slug your kid. Don't give me a reason to.
3B) Equally annoying are those parents who scream at their children for no reason. Don't be a dick to your kids in the presence of a hundred and fifty people on your plane. You'll just look like an asshole and make us all uncomfortable.
4) Now is not the time to study the menu at Starbucks and ask the barista what the difference is between an Americano and a Frappuccino. Do that at your neighborhood Starbucks at 11am on a Wednesday. Not when there's a line of people behind you, all of whom are rushing for a flight and are itching for some caffeine so they can prepare for their meetings.
4B) Don't act surprised when you get charged $5 for a cup of coffee. It's annoying and reminds those of us who do this all the time how much of our lives and money we've wasted overpaying for stale grease sandwiches in crappy airports.
5) Be prepared. Be prepared for the security lines. Pack your liquids in a handy spot so you don't have to stop and hold the line up while you go through a suitcase full of socks to find your ziploc baggie. Watch what other people in the line in front of you. For example, if you're behind 20 people, and they're all getting out their ID and boarding passes, and showing them to the nice TSA officer, that means that you will probably have to do that, too. Don't be all surprised when you get up there and he asks to see it. You saw this one coming a mile away.
6) Don't act retarded. This means: don't try to be cute and cut in line in the security line because you're a single man traveling with no luggage when you clearly haven't traveled post 9/11 and don't know that you have to take off your belt, keys, phone, shoes, dignity, etc., and you wind up holding us all up because you were too cool to wait while I lugged my suitcase up on the belt (oh, and if you're a man, and you offer to help women with their bags, this act of chivalry goes a long way to avoid us blogging about what an asshole you are after you pull a cute stunt like that).
7) Don't act all freaked out. It's really not that scary. You're stressing us all out with all your nerves. Listen, bags usually don't get lost. If there are enough of you on a late flight, the connecting flight is probably going to wait for you. If they don't, you'll get the next one. If there isn't a next one, they'll put you up in a hotel and give you food vouchers. It's really not that bad. Be cool, remember you're on vacation, and leave your stressy energy at home.
Thank you. I feel better now.