I just went to a fabulous conference last week, even though, like most hermits, I hate to travel. HATE. IT. I especially despise air travel because it includes other people in my personal space, breathing my air, giving me germs. Hey, airline bigwigs, could we put the seats just a little closer, and maybe make them smaller? In fact, why don't we just offer a cheaper ticket if you sit on someone's lap the whole way? The person holding you gets an even lower price. Yes, I'm being sarcastic. We really do need a sarcasm font.
As I was trying to ball myself into half my size in my aisle seat on Southwest last week, I had a lovely chat with one of the flight attendants while she helped people cram their roller bags into the overhead compartments. While she said nothing about spitting in drinks, she did agree that people are carrying on TOO MUCH. In fact, she told me that when she began her job, she trained her parents on how to be better flyers. Now, I want to do the same for you. Here are some helpful travel tips from your friendly neighborhood hermit.
For the love of all that is sane, just check your bags.
On Southwest and Jet Blue, your first checked bag is free. On most other airlines, it's $25. I'm not a frugal person, but even if you are, do you REALLY want to tote your bag everywhere? I mean, it's likely that you have to connect in a huge airport like, gulp, Atlanta. Also, what about those gels? Do you really need to squeeze all of your health and beauty products into a quart-sized bag?
If you are one of those people who insists on carrying on, for whatever reason, you are annoying. On my recent trip, I checked my bag so I could take my seat quickly and shove my purse under the seat in front of me. It took other people FOREVER to cram their bags in the overhead compartment. A couple of them almost dropped their bags on my head. What could be in there that must be protected and kept with you at all times? Nuclear secrets? Don't be cheap! Just check the damn bag.
Don't order a drink on short flights.
Both of my flights last weekend were only an hour. Honestly, I wasn't expecting them to do drink service, but they did. And most people actually ordered one! I know soda is free, but really? Do you need that Coke just because it's free? Are you going to dehydrate on your 52-minute flight from Cleveland to Louisville? By the time the flight attendants take orders and deliver the drinks, you have about ten minutes to drink. Plus, if you carried on your huge roller bag and ordered a drink on a short flight, it probably has spit in it. I kid. I kid.
And then there are the liquor people. Now, I like a good martini or glass of wine every now and then, but even I, a NERVOUS flyer, will not order a drink on a short flight. Seriously, if you can't get through 45 minutes in a plane without a scotch on the rocks, you need a meeting, not a drink.
Don't yell at the gate agents.
My first flight was delayed by about three hours. Believe me, I didn't enjoy that as it gave me more time to sit and worry about dying in a fiery crash, but I didn't complain to the gate agents. It would be pointless, as they do not control weather, mechanical issues, flight crew schedules, or anything else that causes delays. They simply work as gate agents. Their fathers do not own the airline. Cut them some slack and complain to the customer service department, if you must.
Do not let your little $^%&ers kick the backs of seats.
I know you love your little kids. I love my kid, too. I also taught my kid that while his mommy, daddy, and grandparents love him very much, the rest of the world merely tolerates him. The other passengers on the plane are tolerating your kid. Do not let him kick the backs of their seats. There may be someone like me with the "it takes a village" mentality who will correct your little snookums. While we are at it, just don't bring your 2-year-old on the red eye from Hawaii. Ever.
That's all I got. I would love to hear from you. Do you have any more anti-idiot travel tips? I don't travel often, so I know I'm missing some things. Any flight attendants out there? I would LOVE to hear from you. Leave me a comment and let's talk about travel.
Disclaimer: I have never had a flight attendant tell me that spitting in drinks actually happens on commercial flights in this or any other country. However, I did know a comedy club waitress who wiped her butt with a piece of cheese before putting it on a crabby customer's burger. Be careful out there, people.
DO NOT drop your huge roller bag on this head.
Lisa R. Petty is a former stand-up comedian who decided she would rather just write funny stuff than deal with drunk people touching her after shows. When she is not cracking inappropriate jokes, Lisa is an online English professor. You can read more of her snarkasm on Petty Thoughts. If you like humor and cat pictures, you can follow Lisa on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.