Sunday, October 26, 2008

Frequent Flying For Dummies

I just love the “For Dummies” books. For years now I’ve joked about doing a “Frequent Flying For Dummies” book. The joke in it is, if you’re a frequent flyer already, you don’t need my book. But if you’ve just started a career that is going to take you all over the Globe, here’s a few things you need to know. I’ll keep them in order of things you’ll go through.

1. Do not leave your medication in your checked bag. Pack some in your carry on!

2. Do not take everything but the kitchen sink in your carry on luggage. And by the way, two bags means TWO bags. Your hand bag counts.

3. Arrive to the airport on time. If you are flying domestically, one hour is the closest you want to cut it. Internationally, it’s two hours. Those of us that got to the airport on time, snicker at those of you that arrived late and now must cut the line.

*side note. Frequent flyers take “the line” very seriously. Like Kindergarten seriously. Don’t even try to cut or you’ll be in big trouble.

4. Check in ahead of time and learn to use the Kiosks. They are so much faster.

5. Keep your boarding pass and id in your hands until you’ve gone through everything ending in security. We hate waiting while you look “where I stuffed it somewhere”.

6. Security is an entire two chapters at least!! It’s easy…take off your shoes, sweater/coat/sweatshirt, belt and all jewelry. So don’t act surprised when the detector goes off because of your rodeo belt buckle and mobile in your pocket.

7. TSA is not your friend. Don’t think they think you’re cute when you’re getting it all wrong.

8. Grab your stuff and step away. Those of us trying to get our items, do not want to wait for you to put on your 50 items of jewelry and to tie your shoes. Just grab it and go.

9. Always double check your gate on the monitors before you go to it.

10. Always triple check your gate on the monitors before you go to it.

11. When boarding the aircraft, think of it like a fire drill. Get to your row, stand in the seating area, drop your gear and decide what’s going up top and what’s going down below. And for god sakes don’t have a conversation in the aisle while the line is backing out the door.

12. Pay attention to the safety bit. Those poor Flight Attendants are in charge of your comfort for what could be many, many hours. Give them the courtesy of listening even I you have heard it a million times.

13. Just because I am sitting next to you, does not mean I want to hear about your Ant Flo and her skin disease. Unless I’ve given you the “signal” that I care to talk, pretend I am not even there. And one person going “ah hum, ah hum” is not a conversation. If you hear this, you are talking too much. And remember, the people five rows back do not want to hear your conversation!

14. My seat is MY seat. Please do not let your bored child unleash his frustrations on the back of my seat. And for the LOVE of God and all that is holy, do not use the back of my seat to pull your butt out of yours! I’ve lost CLUMPS of hair to this maneuver and awoke suddenly with the sensation of a heart attack.

15. When it is time to get off the plane. Be kind and let the person ahead of you out of their seat first.

16. At baggage claim try not to walk up and stand in front of someone whom is already waiting. If you see your bag, politely say, “excuse me a moment I see my bag.” Then get it and step back.

These are just a few tidbits. They are the most annoying of all of the guidelines to traveling. I really could write an entire book.


(writing from Johannesburg, South Africa today)

1 comment:

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Joan Stepsen
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