I've been traveling a lot lately for both work and fun and I've noticed something. No one is nice at the airport. I'm sure they're perfectly pleasant people on the outside, but once they're inside that terminal, they turn into crab pots.
In the vein of trying to make the airports a nice place, I offer you these nuggets.
You're not the only one trying to get somewhere. Plan ahead and don't expect everyone else to make way because of your poor planning. You're the main reason people are pissy.
Do not get cranky with airline personnel because they cannot accommodate your every whim. In my experience, they do absolutely everything they can, but just like in every other job out there, they can't make water into wine. Their primary responsibility is your safety, NOT your comfort.
Stop complaining about how you pay so much for your ticket and all you get is a soda and pack of nuts. None of this is new. Airlines are businesses. They're goal is to make money. Just like every, single other business out there. Yes, the rows are tight and flights are oversold, but complaining about it doesn't change anything. If you can't afford the expensive seats (who can?!), either drive/float/swim/bike/hitchhike to your destination (kidding... don't hitchhike, it's dangerous)... or accept that things might be a little uncomfortable. But hey... you are FLYING across the country. How cool is that?!
Delays in air travel are not targeted at YOU. No one is trying to make YOU miss your connection or delay YOUR vacation or make YOU late for your niece's first birthday. Just like the flat tire on your car, or that time the bank accidentally charged you two ATM fees... shit happens. STOP YELLING! You'll get there.
If you think you might get cold, bring your own sweatshirt, scarf or blanket - don't be annoyed there isn't one in your seat and don't waste the flight attendants time trying to find you one.
Ditto for pillows.
Ditto for your diet-appropriate snacks.
The poor person stuck in the middle seat gets both armrests. Period.
Do not bitch about luggage fees. It's been the norm for a while now. You know what you're getting into, budget accordingly.
Ditto for TSA practices about taking off your shoes, jackets and belts. It's not new and it's not going away anytime soon. Stop acting “persecuted” - we all have to do it. (Well, I don't because I'm TSA pre-checked. But I did at one time.)
Do not get mad at airline personnel because you're trying to travel with your whole house in a carry on to avoid the baggage fee and it doesn't fit in the overhead bin and they have to check it. You may game the system and get a “free baggage check” but you delayed the rest of us and are part of the reason everyone is cranky. Budget accordingly, both in your change of clothes and your baggage fees.
If you are that person traveling with 13 “personal items” or have a 47 pound carry on, don't be pissy when no one is there to help you put it in the overhead. You chose that route instead of checking a bag or packing smarter. If you can't get by on your own, without dropping it on the person on the aisle, then see #11.
If someone does step up to help you, thank them. Smile and sincerely, thank them. (maybe also buy them a drink?)
Person next to you wearing headphones? Take a hint... they don't want to chat. Don't take it personally. Bring a good book.
I'll be honest, this is my weakest point on a plane. The point at which my "Be Nice" motto can go out the window faster than that pilot will get you to JFK. I try REALLY hard. Many of you know, I'm not really a “kid person.” I don't have any of my own (by choice), but even I know, that the baby doesn't know what's going on. He/she is just freaked out. Don't get mad at the parent because babies cry. There's no elder wand to make them stop. (note to self: investigate elder wands to make kids stop crying.) If you're stuck next to an annoying child, bring some headphones to drown them out. See #3 about bringing your own stuff.
On the flip side of that, Parents with babies… PLEASE plan ahead. I am amazed at the amount of parents I see that board the plane and then spend the entire flight asking other passengers and flight attendants for this or that. Bring happy toys and snacks and videos and whatever else you have to to distract and appease your screaming monster… um… I mean beautiful child. And do not do that thing that every parent does where they tune out their own kid. Be present and do everything humanly possible to comfort that kid. If you do that, I'll show you compassion, regardless of what you are able to accomplish with said beautiful child.
Also, parents, Do not be offended when I ask to be reseated. Because I am going ask. Nicely, of course.
Bottom line: BE NICE!
You catch more flies with honey. No, you don't actually want flies, but take some responsibility for yourself and we'll all get along swimmingly. If something does go wrong, whether it's your fault or the airline’s or Mother Nature’s or the Universe’s, you're more likely to still have a nice day and get a satisfactory resolution if you smile, are patient, show a little grace - and say “please” & “thank you.”
Wouldn't it be nice if we could all be the nice people we are inside the terminal as we are outside?