Tips for how not to be a total jerk when you travel


This girl has been logging some serious miles lately (more posts and travel pics to come, promise). In doing so I  have completed all phases of the work travel feelings cycle:

  • Excitement: Oh my gosh I have never been to ____________ before this is going to be so great!
  • Anxiety: What is the weather going to be like? Should I pack dressy or casual? How am i getting from the airport to my hotel? Did I make a hotel reservation?
  • Air Rage: I hate everyone in this airport and on my plane, especially the woman ahead of me in the security line with a jacket, cardigan, belt, necklace, earrings, boots, and giant designer purse that I know is hoarding bottles with more than 3ozs of liquid in them. Oh and all the that are talking or crying while their parents sleep through it.
  • Relief: I made it! I’m here! I am so excited to explore this city and eat great food and have a few cocktails
  • Burnout/Homesickness: I am so sick of eating out, I miss my bed, I want to eat a PB&J sandwich I made from my own kitchen and lay on my couch and not move for 24 hours

Recently I have been a lot more consumed by the Air Rage phase and I came across this wonderful guide* that seasoned air travelers will praise and will make non seasoned air travelers think twice next time they crowd the luggage carousel. Warning: this contains profanity, if you have never used profanity while participating in air travel you first and foremost are a liar and second you must not travel enough.


1. Step away from the luggage carousel
Unless you’re actively pulling a bag off the belt or will be immediately doing so, back off. Leave about 3-4 feet so that the people standing behind you can hope to elbow in and grab their bag that is there. Or I will elbow you in the face and I don’t care if you’re elderly.

2. Don’t talk to me
On a plane, in a line, anything. Ever. Smile and be nice but try to engage me in conversation and I will cut you. We are both trying to get to our final destinations as soon as possible and the best way to do that is to be silent.

3. Don’t even think about complaining about X airline
Flight delays, terrible service, airline malfunctions, dirty planes, diminishing amenities, high prices – these things are all prescriptive of every. single. airline. Prove me wrong.

4. International Airlines
…don’t think about providing some counterpoint of how Singapore or ANA or Cathay or whatever other airline is the pinnacle of flying. I know, they’re great, but they aren’t going to get me from St. Louis to Dallas. Or wherever I’m flying domestically. You just end up sounding ignorant or with affluence that I cannot relate to. Stop talking.

5. Don’t complain
I’m standing in the airport, waiting to travel, too. You think I don’t also wish for teleportation every. single. second. you keep talking? You don’t even have to be talking TO me. If you’re talking in my vicinity, shut the fuck up.

6. Be prepared
Whether you’re stepping up to the ticket counter, the security line, the in-terminal starbucks: be fucking prepared. Have your ticket, id, reference number, belt buckle ready. You didn’t step through time and miraculously end up where you’re standing, you had to consciously get yourself this far. Stop acting like you have your head stuck up you ass and have never seen an airport before. When we’ve all just stood in line to drop off our luggage for 15 minutes, don’t wait until you get to the kiosk to fumble for bag ID tags, your ID, your flight reference number, or your small child. I will push you out of the way and take your place. Similarly, it’s been ten years since 2001. The ridiculous security procedures were not introduced yesterday. there’s no excuse for all those giant bottles of liquids in your bag, the ridiculous amount of jewelry you’re wearing, and, fucks sake, YES, YOUR COMPUTER HAS TO BE OUT OF YOUR BAG.

corollary: when you take your shit out of those bins on the other side of the security line, do it quickly, and then PUT THE BINS IN THEIR DESIGNATED PILE. stop being a fucking slob and expecting your mom to pick up after you, have some courtesy for the people coming after you who can’t move because your six empty bins are preventing their bags from going through the security belt.

7. Stop crowding the boarding area
An elementary school student can figure out the boarding process. Why are you standing right next to the boarding area if you’re sitting in the middle of the plane? You join a line at the end. Stop trying to edge your way onto the plane. Your seat isn’t going to be given up, and they will still find a way to take care of that oversized bag you somehow think is small enough for the overhead bin onto the plane. Back away from the boarding area, sit your ass down, and don’t even think about getting up UNTIL they’ve called your boarding group.

8. Learn how to board a plane
The flight attendants aren’t asking everyone but you to get out of the aisle as soon as you get to your seat. That line applies to you, too. You’ve just stood in line to get on the plane, you’ve stood in line on the jetway, etc. There’s no excuse for all the fumbling happening right now.

9. Keep your damn jacket
Part of me doesn’t fathom how people don’t need their jackets on an airplane because I have yet to ride on an airplane I’m not freezing on (aisle, window, middle seat, front of the plane, back of the plane, emergency row, it could be 100 degrees on the ground and i’m in the air thinking that i know what it’s like to freeze to death). Regardless, unless you’re on a half-full flight, your jacket does not deserve any overhead bin space. I didn’t ask you to bring that wad of fabric that you’re trying to ball up and clog the overhead bin with. Chances are, there’s nothing at your feet. Put that shit down there if you must not have it on your person. Your feet aren’t that big.

10. Overhead Bins
I don’t even have to write this one, do I? Because we know that you’re trying to shove a too-large bag into a too-small space. Or you’re shoving your bag sideways, because you sucked at high school geometry or the game where you learn how to put the square peg in the square hole.

11. Reclining your seat
I’m of mixed opinion on this one. In most cases, I find that the two inches of recline do nothing to make my flight more pleasant – and I sleep through most of my flights. I guess this one really annoys me when the person in front of me flagrantly disregards the fact that there’s someone sitting behind them whose seat is functionally part of their seat. Thrusting your entire weight back into my knees is probably the easiest way to make me hope you miss your connecting flight

12. Walk or get out of the way
This is kind of universal beyond airline travel, but I fiercely hate when people decide to saunter up the jetway, take up the moving walkway, or abruptly stop moving in front of me. I want nothing more than to move my legs as fast as they can take me away from you. Have some self-awareness for once, realize you’re a fucking roadblock and get the fuck out of my way.

*Details within this guide have been change to keep from identifying the brilliant mind it came out of


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