I travel a lot. Frequently enough to be on a first-name basis with my airline. Lately it’s been clear to me there’s a movement of devolving kindness in air travel.
Today, it seems okay to behave in a narcissistic, anti-social way you would never act in any other walk of life. If you think I’m being harsh or over-reactive please comment… but I disagree.
See for yourself. Consider the following types of air travelers:
- Security Stoppers: They arrive at the TSA conveyer belt totally unprepared for the requirements of placing their shoes, bags and coat in plastic bins. Unless you’re a first-time flier, there’s no excuse for not knowing the drill by now. It’s only common courtesy to take a minute and prepare yourself while you’re waiting in line so security can go more smoothly for everyone.
- Wide Walkers: Shoulder-to-shoulder and unaware, these people move slowly through the center of the terminal, creating an impassable bottleneck. Their lack of concern for humanity is surpassed only by people who in-fact actually stop walking in the middle of heavy traffic. Shouldn’t others have the choice to walk faster than you? Stay right!
- Sweat Hogs: Yes, I understand you want to dress comfortably – and I’m not asking you to wear your Sunday best. But can’t we find a happy medium in-between that and unflattering sweatpants and pajama bottoms? It’s close quarters, people! We’re all in this together, so let’s be presentable for each other.
- Gate Rushers: For some travelers it becomes Armageddon the minute boarding announcements begin. Their panic to get aboard an airplane rivals a midnight holiday sale at ToysRUs. If you’ve ever had someone unapologetically throw you a hard shoulder and drag their wheelie bag over your shoes you’ll know what I mean. These are most likely the same people as the Bin Pirates (#5).
- Bin Pirates: It’s an age of exorbitant baggage fees and the new commodity of air travel is overhead bin space. There are unscrupulous passengers who raid this space with two big carry-ons plus a heavy coat, totally unconcerned that others may need room also. And they’ll do it right above your seat. (While we’re on that topic, what ever happened to enforcing legal carry-on size limits? I mean, you could store a body in some bags I see dragging down the aisle.)
- Phonees: No I don’t think the plane is going to crash because you’re updating your Facebook status on takeoff, but why don’t the rules apply to you? I turned my phone off – you should too!
- Seat Bombers: Unfortunately, it’s every traveler’s right to recline. So let’s be sensitive. I was hesitant to add this complaint until a recent flight where I watched a woman ignorantly throw her seat back into a young mother holding an infant in her lap.
- Linebackers: Bullying their way off the plane in an imaginary race to be first, these people act ignorant of the polite row-by-row evacuation process that has become standard. I’ve seen people stand up and grab their overhead bag before the plane has even come to a rest, as if their time is more important than anyone else’s.
Look, I get it. Air travel these days is far from a luxurious experience, even in first class. Ticket costs, service cutbacks and overcrowded planes have forced flying into a very no-frills experience.
In the face of it all though, human kindness is a standard we must all fight to preserve.
Did I miss anyone? Please share your worst flying experiences.
Jeff Doubek offers a multitude of marketing talents for information, contact Doubek Marketing Services.