Ten things you should not do at airports

by Devesh Agarwal

Some helpful advice from a frequent traveller, which should, hopefully, make your air travel journey more pleasant for the staff, you, and your fellow travellers.

Mumbai CSI airport. Domestic departure terminal 1B. Photo copyright Devesh Agarwal. Used with permission.

1. Be over smart

In the post 9/11, 26/11, 7/7 world, airports and the people working there are paranoid about security. Keep your jokes and smart comments bottled up. When the counter agent asks about your baggage being packed by someone else, just say yes; unless you like having your bag, and you, strip-searched.

2. Try and push your way through

We all like our personal space, and we hate fellow passengers who crowd us or try to jump to the head of the queue. Keep cool, and keep the respect of your fellow travellers. My personal pet peeve are the fellow passengers who keep hitting me with their baggage trolley in their eagerness to move ahead. Keep your patience. You are not going to get to your destination any sooner by shoving around.If anything, you might end up with a tongue lashing.

3. Get drunk

There is a reason why many languages use a synonym of “oil” for alcohol. It greases your tongue and your intelligence. An unclear head and a loose tongue get you blabbing things you shouldn’t. You don’t want to run afoul of the cabin crew who can de-board you, or worse get you arrested. Also, the air in the aircraft cabin is very dry and only intensifies your dehydration during the flight, and the hang-over once you land.

4. Lose your temper

Air travel today is a frustrating experience, which gives you many opportunities to lose your cool. Whatever the provocation, keep your cool. Giving the check-in agent a hard time because your flight is delayed is definitely not going to help you, but just might land-up hurting you. You want all the allies you can get.

5. Flirt with the counter-staff or cabin crew

Being polite is one thing, being lecherous quite another. Just because the counter-staff or the air-hostesses (as most Indians call them) smile at you, does not give you a green light to drool all over her. Its her duty to smile and be polite, and she wants to get through her shift. Its almost certain she has a family, and if not a husband, a boyfriend.

6. Crowd the boarding gate

“XYZ airline announces the departure of its flight abc to D……” and there is a line a mile long crowding the boarding gate. Forget the fact that the airline would like to board its premium passengers first, or would like for a more orderly boarding, by rows. I just have to be the first on-board and hog that precious overhead bin.

7. Play music or video games loudly on your mobile device

Remember the rule about keep your cool. Don’t add to your fellow travellers mental misery by blasting your phone or tablet or your voice. Use headphones while playing music or video games, and for heavens sake, use your indoor voice when talking on your phone.

8. Sleep

This may not apply much at Indian airports, but I have seen enough situations where a passenger thinks, just a quick 40 winks nap, only to wake up and find out they have missed their flight due to over-sleeping.

9. Under-prepare for your flight with your infant

The number one gripe most passengers have are wailing infants and unruly children. Remember to carry enough games, toys, books, puzzles, etc., to keep your children entertained and in control. Carry a change of clothes. Infants do not know how to deal with the changes in air-pressure as the aircraft ascends and descends. They cry when their ears get blocked during the descent of the aircraft. The chewing motion relieves the air pressure, so carry a small piece of candy or “mishri” or a pacifier that will ease the situation for your toddler, your fellow passengers and you.

Image by Siddarth Bhandary. Used with permission.

10. Crowd the baggage claim with your trolleyLeave the trolley behind if possible. With increasing airplane sizes and more passengers on each flight, there is less space for you and your trolley along the baggage belt. Stop jamming your baggage trolley in between everyone waiting for their bags. You end up hurting people and getting dirty looks. One of the nicest things I remember from Terminal 1 at Singapore Changi airport was a yellow line marking a three feet trolley exclusion zone, all around the baggage claim belt. Try to follow this rule and make life comfortable for everyone.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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