Travel tips – in the air


By Morf Morford, Tacoma Daily Index

Travel is a priority for many of us. Most aspects of it are generally enjoyable if not necessary.

But it can be very stressful. And it’s even more stressful for those who work in the travel industry.

For various reasons, air travel is like a compression of all the difficulties and challenges of travel; we are in cramped quarters with strangers – subject to the vagaries of nature (such as in storms, headwinds, or weather disturbances), intrusive security issues, potential mechanical problems, and occasional human difficulties ranging from health to crying babies.

All in a day’s work for some

Imagine yourself in the place of those who encounter these variables on a daily basis while working there.

If you want quality, even exceptional service, treat the staff you meet with respect.

It’s not that hard – or at least it shouldn’t be.

Treating others as you would like to be treated is a simple principle that will serve you well in any setting, but especially when traveling.

Our personal space in public spaces is always a concern. In the confined spaces of a vibrating aircraft, being pushed, patted or even leaned on is rude, intrusive and, at a minimum, uncomfortable. Respect the space of those who do their best to serve you.

Pay attention

As a paying customer and guest on a plane full of people and on a fairly strict schedule, keep an eye on the processes going on around you.

Boarding, for example, with people finding their seats, packing their luggage and settling in, is not the time to make special requests of the staff.

If you need to take medication or use the toilet, take care of it before boarding the plane.

Do not pass the food/drink cart to get to the washroom.

Have your meal or snack when they serve it to you

The flight attendants support up to 200-300 people. Orderly planning and distribution is crucial. Adapt to their schedule because they probably won’t be able to adapt to yours.

And if you have any special dietary requirements, let the staff know before the meal is served, preferably well before boarding.

Willing to be pushed around

Before boarding, if your schedule permits, volunteer to be bumped. You might just get a free ticket or some sort of bonus or credit.

Now might also be a good time to request an upgrade to a better seat.


Yes, we all have luggage, but if yours is oddly shaped or awkward or a bit heavy for you, don’t expect – or demand – flight attendants to put it in the overhead compartment for you. Do yourself and the flight attendants a favor and check your baggage – before boarding.

Don’t expect crew members to know your next login

Making sure you’re on your connecting flight is definitely important, but don’t expect the crew to know every detail of every flight arriving and departing from every airport.

Just seeing this in print underscores how ridiculous this assumption is. But it’s still common.

The person guiding you to your seat and handling your flight experience has no inside knowledge or control over connecting flights.

And, no, they can’t book a flight for you.

Trim or file fingernails and toenails

When it comes to cutting or filing finger and toe nails, would you do it anywhere else in public?

Don’t do it on an airplane. Or anywhere anyone else can see it.

For some reason, some of us act like the passenger cabin is our home. This is simply not the case.

Keep your arms and legs and various other body parts in your own space and keep in mind that there is virtually no privacy on an airplane.

Stretch in the middle of the aisle

Like most people perhaps, I find it difficult to stay seated in one place during a long flight. I like to get up and walk or at least stretch a little.

On larger planes, there is usually an open space near the lavatory. But whatever you do, don’t do yoga or stretching exercises in the middle of the aisle.

The flight attendants, after all, are working and we are in their workspace.

The driveway is what passes for a shared public community space on a moving vehicle – where people with jobs attempt to do so under difficult – and sometimes dangerous – circumstances.

It’s an artery more than anything else.

Use your inner voice

You may be bored in your seat, but your flight time is not the time to practice comedy routines, foreign accents, cartoon voices, or yodelling.

Last time I flew, I had a boy behind me, about 8 years old, who let out a high pitched cry every few minutes – just to keep his mother awake I guess.

Say thank you”

In transit, and in life in general, a little appreciation goes a long way. When you step out of a plane, take a moment to think about everything the crew has done for you – from making sure you have water and food to keeping you safe in the air, and more away on your journey – and say a simple “thank you”.

It’s not that difficult and it will definitely improve their working day. And probably yours too.

In short, again, perhaps like in all other areas of life, if you take care of them, they will take care of you.


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