How not to be the RUDE one at the airport (or anywhere for that matter)

airport2Christmas week is the highest travel week of the entire year. It’s not unlikely that you too could find yourself in this situation.

I actually couldn’t believe I did it! I cut in line at security (well, sort of) and I got the dirtiest look ever. I totally deserved it though. I tried to explain to the guy, but it was too late.

Let me explain. I was nervous – not sure if I’d have enough time to get through to my gate and just as I was walking through the metal detector, I remembered I had my cell phone in my jacket pocket – the one I was still wearing! The security guard told me to go back to the line and send it through with the rest of my stuff. The problem was, the rest of my stuff had already disappeared along the conveyor belt to be examined. I grabbed another white bin and dropped my jacket and phone in it and eyed a clear spot on the conveyor. I stepped in front of a man standing there and set it down.

I know, right? I didn’t even say excuse me, or ask if it was okay to butt in between him and his lady friend who was, by now, glaring at me as well. In my haste and hurry I’d completely disregarded them. Even though something like this is unusual for me, I felt terrible. Of all the situations that provoke me to worry, travel itineraries top the list. So to prevent future wicked glares, I put together a game plan for all travel, things I know, but don’t always practice enough. I thought I’d share my list with you because we all get a little crazy now and then, especially with the holidays approaching and increased opportunities for navigating busy airports and bus stations.

1. Check in for your flight online before arriving at the airport – If you check in online and print your boarding passes prior to getting to an airport, you can eliminate one major step in getting to your gate. If you can pack light, you also won’t have to check your luggage. That’s another step you’ll save (and money too). Have all of your travel documents, itineraries, confirmations, etc. in one, easy-to-access place, a folder, envelope or ziploc bag – something you can get things in and out of easily.

2. Give yourself more than enough time – I don’t think anyone ever intends to be rude, but like me, sometimes feeling rushed can make us forget our manners. Give yourself an extra half hour buffer (especially at unfamiliar airports), so you can feel more calm about making your flights on time.

3. Arrange your gear so getting through security is easy – wear slip on shoes, no belt, less jewelry, a light jacket. Have your electronic items together and easy to access. Follow the TSA rules for sizes and types of things you can carry on the plane. The less you have to deal with once you enter security, the more streamlined and relaxed your process will be. Lack of knowledge and surprises can increase stress. Knowing (and following) the rules will help you feel like a confident traveller. Getting “pulled over” by security takes up extra precious time, and once again, adds to the stress of your experience.

4. Let at least one person move ahead of you in line (or more). Tell yourself as you are doing it that you have plenty of time. Take a deep breath and smile. Being gracious and courteous sends a clear message to the universe that your happiness is not controlled by time (or lack thereof). Giving someone else more time, by allowing them to go in front of you, ensures your experience of timelessness (even in the midst of tight schedules). Do it early in your visit to the airport and the feeling of having plenty of time will permeate your experience. This one never fails to produce good results for me!

5. Get where you are going first – Wait until you find your gate to buy that cup of coffee, use the restroom or check your email. Some airports are larger than you think and a shuttle ride or long walk might be involved after you pass through security. Don’t put yourself in a bad situation by stopping along the way to do things that can wait until you’re safely at your gate.

6. Remind yourself that time is on your side – sometimes we convince ourselves that we don’t have enough time when we really have plenty. Getting caught up in fear about our time constraints while travelling can cause us to feel nervous and creates problems. If I’d trusted the time I gave myself (which, by the way, was plenty) I wouldn’t have had my phone in my pocket checking it every five minutes to see how much time I had left. It would have been in my carry-on bag where it could go through the x-ray with the rest of my things and I wouldn’t have pissed off my fellow travelers who were probably equally anxious about getting from point A, to point B.

Hope some of these bits of advice help you have safe and friendly travels!


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