Trusty Travel Tips - Airport Etiquette for the Savvy Traveler
When it comes to directions, I'm about as blind as a bat. I'm one of those people you see driving down the highway fumbling with a full sized map and a GPS, and will still end up taking the "scenic route".
I may be directionally challenged on the road, but when it comes to airports, I know what's up. After years of flying, I have mastered the art of the airport. Where it may be a hectic, busy place for some, I find the airport a fascinating place.
I like to think that I've become somewhat airport savvy, and have picked up on a few travel tips that will make getting from the ticket counter to your gate, to your luggage after your flight, a bit easier for you, and everyone else around you.
What is your favorite airline?
Luggage Locks = Bad Idea
This next bit of wisdom also deals with luggage. I know that every single item in your suitcases is (in your mind) irreplaceable and priceless.
DO have your address tags on your suitcases by the time you check them in! People tend to get angry if they have to wait for you to tag and address all your bags while your at the counter. Best time to do this is while you're waiting in line.
DO NOT bring luggage locks! Airport security will just make you unlock them when you get there, and if they are not unlocked when your bag needs to be searched, they can and will break the lock to search your bags. Tough break, I know. But no worries, they probably don't value that amazing shirt you picked up on your last vacation as much as you do.
My bag is usually the lucky one to get searched, so when I open up the bag, I seem to always have that nice little note they leave that lets you know that its been searched. I do pitty the airport security guard that has to search my bag on my return flight, when all my clothes inside are dirty. What a shame...
Don't bring your entire closet
One of the first things I will tell you to do, is pack accordingly. If you are going on a trip for a few days, pack light so that your stuff can fit into a carry on sized back. That way, you can blow pass the baggage claim when you land. But, if you are going on a longer trip, you still need to pack as light as you can.
Small bags are easier to maneuver through parking lots and lines inside the airport.You don't want to be the person with three suitcases that each look like they are capable of fitting the rest of your family inside them with room to spare. So, the less stuff you have, the easier it is to move around and get where you need to be.
Hint: leave your surfboard, golf clubs, bouquet of flowers, and giant stuffed animals at home, you can rent whatever you need when you get to where you're going... minus the stuffed animal).
Wrangling Your Carry On
Once you have boarded your plane, you need to find your seat quickly, and store your carry on in the overhead bin. Now, if at all possible, store your bag closest to where you sit.
You don't want to be walking all over the plane if you need something out of it, or to get it when you land. If its small enough to fit under the chair in front of you, put your bag there instead to save space for other people's bags that need to be in the overhead bins.
The Infamous Bubble Invader
Ok, picture this: you have stashed all your stuff, and you are finally sitting in your seat. Then, making a direct course for the seat next to you, is the Bubble Invader. You know it as soon as this person sits down.
The Bubble Invader takes full advantage of the arm rest between the two of you, makes sure that his or her bag has enough room under the seat in front of them that his or her foot is in your foot space, and finally, the cherry on top is that there seems to be a sort of magnetic force pushing their knees as far apart as they can possibly go in the small confines of their chair.
And then, when you think that this is all the Bubble Invader can subject you to, they surprise you once more. Their hair seems to have an impressive amount of static electricity on this particular day, so that their hair is filling up any available space that they are not already taking up. And, it seems that the hair has taken up a liking for your sweater.
Ok, so this could be a little over the top, but, the point is, you do not want to be this person!
Courteous Carousel Counsel
Once you land, and have escaped the Bubble Invader, you are almost home free... but not yet. The time has come to reclaim your other (nicely packed and addressed without a lock) bag.
Now this is where battles are won and lost. Everybody is eager to be on there way, and everybody from your plane is converging around one baggage claim carousel. Most people gather around the dump point (place where the luggage slides onto the belt).
Do yourself a favor, and move down the line a bit. It's also a good idea to stand back away from the belt a few feet until you see your bag, then you make your move. Too many people get right up close to the belt, so that when others need to get to their bags, the bystanders are in the way, thus, causing people to become disgruntled.
It is also important to be courteous to all the other poor souls that do not know the ways of the airport, or have not read this hub : )
Have a Pleasant Flight!