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Traveler's Edition
  •   5 min read

Love it or hate it, we all have our personal bugbears when flying. From waiting in line at TSA to the eternal debate over whether or not its acceptable to recline your airplane seat, in a second guest post for Thrillist’s Miami Editor Matt Meltzer runs through 18 things we should all stop doing when flying. 

> Check out Matt Meltzer’s first guest post for, “World Record Road Trip Couple: How to Travel With Your SO Without Killing Each Other


“Fly enough and you begin to hate everyone. The crying baby a few rows up. The parents who can’t keep it quiet. The person next to you who’s chewing his pretzels too loud, and the flight attendant for not telling him to chew quieter. Long security lines, cramped seats, and fees for everything except breathing have made us all a little cranky when we fly. And while most of us are just doing our best to get from point A to point B, there are some behaviors that absolutely need to stop to make the flying experience anywhere near bearable. To help make the skies a little friendlier, how about we all stop doing these 18 things.

Airport security TSA lines flying

1. Not knowing what to do at TSA

Even if you don’t fly that often, you’ve probably flown at least once since the phrase “3-1-1” became part of the American lexicon. Yet somehow, people still stand at security checkpoints like confused two year olds when they’re told to take out their laptops. When you don’t come to security prepared, you’re a big part of the reason people miss their flight. And if you got TSA PreCheck, learn all the stuff you DON’T have to do so you don’t make the other frequent fliers late.

2. Bringing a carry-on you can’t lift

No, no. Go ahead and stuff your body weight in clothes into a bag Clay Matthews would need a spotter to lift, then block the aisle waiting for a kind stranger to hoist in into the overhead bin for you. We’ll wait.

3. Overdosing on the fragrances

After hour two of inhaling nothing but pressurized oxygen and Coolwater, you start wondering if there’s a button that’ll drop those yellow masks.

4. Bringing pungent food on the plane

The people four rows behind you don’t know if they’re smelling a sub sandwich or a guy who’s morally opposed to deodorant. Even if you want to save a few bucks by bringing your own food onboard, go ahead and finish it in the boarding lounge.

5. Trying to pick up flight attendants

You’re just a little sadder than that guy who thinks the stripper is really into him.

Luggage flying cat cute suitcase

6. Traveling with service animals

Just because Dr. Internet said your Chihuahua is required for you to fly without having a gran mal seizure doesn’t mean he’s actually providing any kind of “service.” Unless you genuinely require a service animal, you’re just abusing the system. There’s a fee and a compartment for pets, and you’re above neither.

7. Changing seats

If you want to sit together there’s a way to make that happen….book your tickets together, and pay the seat assignment fee. There’s no need to hold up the flight so the FA can ask half the plane if they don’t mind moving seats so you and Bae can cuddle.

8. Sleeping on the food tray

People EAT off that, you know. And a 30-minute turnaround doesn’t exactly leave time to wipe them all down with Lysol.

Overhead luggage flying plane

9. Refusing to check oversized luggage

When the announcement comes on saying there’s no more bin space, none is magically going to appear if you walk all the way back to row 32. Your noble quest for extra overhead room is holding up the entire boarding process and delaying the flight. And, statistically, there’s about a .3% chance your bag gets mishandled.

10. Pressing the call button. Ever.

Flight attendants call this the “You’d better be dying button.” They are not your butler, or your waiter, so unless you’ve got a 9-1-1 level emergency, wait until they come around again to hand them your empty Coke can.

11. Getting a window seat when you lack bladder control

You’re making this flight like a bad Christmas mass. Without the Christmas part.

12. Showing up late

It’s not 1995. Getting to the gate can take an hour or more now and the airlines don’t advise you get to the airport two hours early because they’re hoping you’ll drop a few extra dollars at the airport bar. And when you show up late and belligerently demand to go to the front of the security line, you’re effectively cutting, and making everyone else wait longer.

13. Taking off their shoes

Not sure how anyone confuses a 28-inch wide seat for their living room recliner, but apparently some people think an airplane cabin is the perfect place to kick back after a long day at work. Unless you’re in first class and they’ve handed you a lovely pair of slippers, leave your gross, sweaty shoes on.

14. Listening to anything without earphones

Though it’s very considerate of you to think your seatmate might also want to watch your bootleg of Death Race, he doesn’t. And nobody else on the plane wants to hear it. Same goes for music.

15. Talking to strangers

“Hello” is fine. Asking someone to take their earphones out while they’re deeply engrossed in reruns of “Veep?” The opposite of fine.

16. Reclining their seats

Yes, the airlines have made the coach cabin only slightly more comfortable than your average industrial chicken crate. And that is on them. But it’s not changing any time soon, so let’s not make it any more unbearable than it needs to be.  Once one person leans his seat back, everyone else has to, resulting in a chain reaction of bruised knees and muscle cramps that some taller, older customers won’t recover from for a week.

17. Rushing to get on and off the plane

People will push, elbow, and run-over their fellow passengers just so they can get back to a place that, a few hours before, they couldn’t wait to get out of. Either that or we missed the announcement about free beer in the baggage claim.

18. Clapping when the plane lands

Not turning the plane into a giant flaming ball of death doesn’t rate a round of applause.


IMG: security screening at denver airport, danjo paluska, duuude, racky salzman, Bicycle in overhead luggage bin, Russell Neches / Flickr cc. and Shutterstock


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