Guest blog: It’s Time to Change the Way We Think About Flying (And Life in General)

Whenever there seems to be a delay or disruption or problem during a flight, we keep coming back to the same idea: what can the airlines do to make life easier for passengers?

Well, today we’re going to take a look at the flipside of this: What can passengers do to make life easier for other passengers?

Whoa! Hang on. You mean, I, THE PASSENGER, actually have to DO something other than COMPLAIN about long security lines, poor service, crying babies, and endlessly waiting on runways?

Well, you don’t HAVE to do anything. But, if you’ve recently been inspired by the Olympics and can’t swim or throw a javelin but really want to do your part to bring this world a little closer together, here are a few tips to consider:

  • When you’re going through security, PLAN AHEAD. Don’t act surprised when they ask you to remove your laptop from its bag, or take off your shoes. You know the routine. Be a boyscout. Be prepared. There will always be security rules you don’t agree with. But your cooperation with the rules will make the lines shorter.
  • Quit creating personal turbulence. Look behind you to see if the person behind you just place a beverage on their tray or is trying to stack a row of quarters before slamming your seat back into their lap. Pretend the person seated in front of you is Oprah, or Gwenth Paltrow. Would you really be so quick to slam your tray table into place knowing you might cause discomfort to such beautiful, dignified women?
  • Plan your pee breaks accordingly. Unless you have just acquired a new human endoskelton in a dramatic mind/body swap experiment, you should’ve spent enough time with your body to know how your bladder works. Don’t suck down six grande lattes and then insist on the window seat.
  • Be willing to lend a hand whenever possible. If you see someone struggling to get their bag in the overhead bin, give them a hand. If a kid is screaming during your red eye flight, offer to take them to the back of the plane and lock them in the lavatory. If Lindsay Lohan is on your flight and trying to score some coke, offer to make the transaction for her so she doesn’t end up on the tabloids again and ruin her chances at an Oscar.

It’s the little things that count.

Flying, like anything else worth doing, is a group effort. It takes thousands upon thousands of individuals to get these big giant planes off the ground and people shuttled from city to city across the globe. And yes, while it is someone else’s job to fly the plane, I think we need to begin to take a little more responsibility outside of the cockpit.

Let’s face it. We all want a better travel experience, and we’re all in this together. So let’s all do our part.

Jeff Michaels is the author of Please Hug Me—I’ve Been Delayed: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need to Survive the Not-so-Friendly Skies.

[Photo from Flickr – Some rights reserved by busy.pochi]