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Airport Diaries #3: Rules of Engagement – Part 1


Airplane diariesOk, it is that time again. Time to pack the bags and prepare for another exhilarating journey to an exotic location. Well, in all honesty, it’s another business trip.  So, take the exotic out of the equation. Many flights I take these days do happen to be of an international flavor but mostly they consist of getting on a plane, traveling long hours on said plane, extended times in cramped cars with questionable drivers, and finally rushing to get back on a plane. Between these moments, there are business meetings, smiling, late night dinners, and wishing I was back in the hotel getting a little rest from the jet lag. However, while that may be exotic to some, for me, it is more of a routine of step one, then step two, and so on.

When getting ready to depart on one of these engaging affairs, the best strategy is to scan the crowd of those waiting to board the flight. It is a mental game of who- would- you –wish- gets- the- seat- next- to- you and which ones you hope are furthest from your seat. Will it be the guy with the nervous shakes and cold sweats as if this is his first trip? Maybe it will be the couple whose giggles indicate they will spend at least some portion of the flight striving for their “mile high club” membership. Whoever it is, please please don’t let it be the family of six with the kids running around the seats smacking each other and screeching . Oh, the game of “please don’t be the person next to me,” can be quite amusing, if a little precarious, while waiting for a flight. For that matter, I don’t want most of these people to be in the row in front, behind, across the aisles, or anywhere within three rows of me.

As we board the airtight flying cylinder, let me warn you of a few little rules – well maybe more like suggestions- I take quite seriously. I would print them off and hand them out to the masses waiting to join me on my flight, but the last time I attempted this little public service, the nice TSA agent had a conversation with me. Therefore, I am submitting this little list of flying etiquette for your review. Consider yourself served.

  1. The first rule, umm suggestion, would have to be: Don’t wear a bottle of cologne, perfume, baby oil, or any other fragrant application. Keep in mind an airplane is a self-contained, airtight, pressurized, flying vessel in which we will be locked in and sharing air for the next ten hours. A little over-zealousness with the fragrance and the entire plane full of passengers on board will smell just like you, and btw-you stink. Instead of putting on an extra dab, or handful, of your favorite olfactory enhancement to cover up the fact that you have not showered the entirety of your trip, do something novel…SHOWER.
  2. Be Prepared! You know you are getting ready to board a plane. Have your boarding pass ready, know your seat number, and get any of the essential belongings out of your bag in advance before you waste our time blocking the aisles as you look for you micro MP3 player which happens to be in the bottom of your hastily packed carry-on. The rest of us joining you on this plane would like to get going to our destination and rid ourselves of the presence of the other 300 souls traveling with us. Ok, I will admit if I was not locked in this tube with you, I probably still would not like you very much anyway.
  3. Speaking of carry-on luggage, the sign that shows the allowed carry-on size is not a suggestion, it is based on the fact that the engineers of the aircraft did not plan for passengers bringing a bag big enough to smuggle small children out of the country as well as your trombone. For the record, I have seen a full brass band try to get all their instruments into the overhead compartments. They were shocked when the last three members were asked to check their carry-on. Keep it simple, take only what you need, and check the rest people. We would like to have a place for our bags too.
  4. When we finally sit down, I should warn you of something quite important to the comfort of all parties involved. I really do not want to have a conversation with you. I do not want to know your name, where you are from, or where you are going. The flight is not a mixer to meet new friends. In fact, how about we just agree to coexist until the doors open upon landing. It is not personal, but actually practical. If we do not speak, then there won’t be that uncomfortable realization that we do not like each other and are stuck together for the next ten hours. See, very practical.
  5. One final note before the doors close, this is not your living room and the chair your ass will occupy for the remainder of the trip is not your lazy-boy. So, please refrain from spreading out as if you are the only person in this row. Last time I checked, I paid just as much as you to have for the microscopic space the airline chose to rent us. You stay in your seat and share the armrest, dammit!

At no point is flying confused with a wonderful event. It is a practical means to an end. While on the plane, set aside your selfish persona and think about the other passengers. As mentioned, a few things will help this horrible form of paid torture be a little more pleasant for the rest of us.

Until next time…

jerry b

© 2014

 

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2014 in Humor, Travel

 

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Vacation Observations


Did you miss me?

We are settling back into the routine after our family vacation. There was not much time to sit down and write, or when there was, I have to say I was exhausted. This week will be a little light on TTMM as I get back into work mode, raise my energy levels up to the normal levels, and sit down to do some writing again. I have many ideas of coming articles but the words are not flowing as they should to make them presentable. Please, forgive the holes in the schedule.

I did want to leave everyone with something to think about from my observations away; just a few quick notes of reference. What do you think?

  • No matter how someone parents their children, other parents will have a “better way to handle” the situation. Some of those methods may be better but we have to remember that we are not the parents of that spoiled brat that is causing all the issues. We are just sharing in the awkwardness of the situation. 
  • It doesn’t matter how exciting the place you are visiting, there is probably a large portion of that city’s population that that wishes they were somewhere else.
  • Can someone tell me how so many people can spend business hours riding their bikes, running, and rollerblading? It is in the middle of the day, don’t they have jobs?
  • It doesn’t matter how well the hotel is rated, there will always be a group of children running the halls and playing in the elevator. It is a fact we must accept.
  • Yes, the cab drivers will run you over if you walk in front of them.
  • Never sit in the front seat of a taxi cab if you are a squeamish about other people’s driving. If you have to do so, spend the time reading your phone but never look out the windshield. You will not enjoy the trip.
  • Wearing your sports team swag while visiting the rival’s city is just fun, especially when you repeatedly win against them.
  • Food that you would normally not eat will actually sound good after walking all day. That is why it is available around the tourist areas. The only regret you will have is paying the absurd amount.
  • No matter how much time you spend on vacation, it will take twice the amount of time to recover from the time away. There should be a vacation after the vacation in order to rest up.

For all those on vacation at this time of year, what are some of your observations that you have discovered? Let’s see if we can add to the list.

Until next time…

jerryb

© 2012

Related Post: It’s Family Vacation Time

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Children, Family, Life, Travel

 

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Airport Diaries #2: Oops! Did I Say That?


Airplane diaries

Airplane Diaries. A travelers journal

Traveling on an international flight has its perks. One of which is the ability to have a few drinks during the long flight when everyone else is asleep. Those cute little bottles seem to add up faster than you realize. The drawback to this airtime happy hour is the arrival back on U.S. soil and the visit to immigration, and subsequently customs, for your re-entry interview. Now under normal circumstances, a trip through immigration and customs is a boring affair. However, through trial and error, we can safely say that neither department’s agents have a sense of humor.Here is a short and incomplete list of a few things NOT to say to re-entry agents.

When asked, “Where have you have been?” it is not appropriate to answer with “a brothel, too many bars to remember, and this cute little place where they package this crazy white powder.”

If you are asked if you have something to declare, I strongly discourage declaring that the agent’s breath “stinks to high heaven”. Also, you are not doing yourself any favors by offering a breath mint or piece of gum.

A standard question is, “What was the nature of your trip?” The simple answer is “business” or “vacation”. The incorrect answer would be “well, you see there are some operations that are not exactly legal in this country…”

If you find yourself asked to step off to the “little room” where an agent proceeds to don surgical gloves, you are probably in for a few intimate yet uncomfortable moments with the agent. Since we have established the agents do not have a sense of humor, refrain from comments such as “Can we go to dinner first?”, “So, do you really enjoy your job?”, and “Please remove that class ring first, I don’t want that thing lost up there”.  In addition, I would not recommend encouraging them by stating, “What you find you keep. What you don’t find, I keep.” or winking at any time.

If you see one of the female agents walking through baggage with drug sniffing dogs, you definitely shouldn’t kneel down and pet the dog while asking in a cutesy voice, “Which one of you is the bitch? Huh, come on who’s the bitch?”

Now I know these seem outlandish but like most warning labels, someone has tried them and each has proven to cause some minor inconvenience on continued travel and/or personal freedom. If you find any additional things that should not be said when entering the country, please pull off a few squares of prison toilet paper and write them down for us. We look forward to your research.

Until next time…

jerryb

© 2012

Related Post: Five Winning Ice-breakers For The Office; Monday Morning Stupid Questions; Airport Diaries #1: Security Hell; TSA: All Touchy, Feely These Days

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Humor, Travel

 

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Airport Diaries #1: Security Hell


Airplane diaries

Airplane Diaries. A travelers journal

It is that time of year when air travel picks up momentum as vacationers flock to their remote destinations. In my job, I spend a fair amount of time in airports and traveling internationally. In the beginning, the travel was exciting and the people watching was worth the price of airfare, taxes, fuel surcharges and baggage checking. However as time went on the almost missed flights and longer delays as well as other frustrations beginning to pile up lead me to believe that now is time for us to discuss some points, helpful hints if you will, for the first time traveler; if for no other reason than I am stuck around you as you travel.

Getting through a security check is a process that has become increasingly frustrating for people over the past 11 years. The rules set in place to keep us safe from the potential evils of the world have created longer lines and confused travelers who mill around the lines of security. It doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s take a moment to look at a few simple things to make your life easier and less annoying to me, when traveling.

  • Sensible shoes: Security in US airports requires all travelers to remove their shoes and place them on the belt to be x-rayed. When traveling, don’t be the person who wears the thigh high boots that lace up to just shy of your ultra-short skirt. You will be required to remove your boots and the hundreds of people following you are not admiring your fashion sense. Instead, we would like to shove those boots firmly up your ass. Other thoughts are also running through our heads, however, they are not appropriate for this particular blog.  Just know, our thoughts are not personal, we will just blame those particular thoughts on the “mob” mentality.
  • Empty pockets: When the nice TSA agent says remove everything from your pockets, they really mean everything. Take out your wallet, keys, and even the little bit of paper you acquired during the preflight process. I have an even better suggestion, since you know you are going to the airport, how about not putting anything in your pockets in the first place? Nothing pushes the buttons of those waiting behind you more than to have to watch you be told a dozen times to step back and empty your pockets.
  • The confusing laptop rules: Well, the rules are not exactly confusing. If you are traveling with a laptop, take it out of the bag you are carrying, place it in a tub all by itself, and then put all other items in a separate tub. See, it is an easy concept. However, it seems that next to emptying your pockets, this rule baffles more people than anything else. I have to admit, the look of utter confusion when the TSA agent explains this to an intelligence-challenged individual, was amusing the first time or two I saw it, but now is an effort in anger management to keep from placing them in the tub…
  • Tourist vs. business traveler: It is easy to pick out the tourists as they are the ones who are socializing with their group of fellow vacationers. They will be wearing the above mentioned fashion attire not suitable for travel. When they approach the security area, they look like little lost children waiting for someone to tell them what to do. Had the group paid attention instead of acting like they were enjoying a happy hour, they would understand what they are supposed to do.  In contrast, you can always tell the seasoned traveler, as they are the ones untying their shoes and removing their belt before they get to the checkpoint.   The most telling identifier of a business traveler is the scowl they are wearing while being delayed by the tourists.
  • The rules are stupid: Yes, the rules are stupid and we all know that they frustrate everyone. However, they are the rules set before us to follow. Trying to get around them or incessantly complaining only slows down the process for all of us. The rules won’t be changed just because we complain and they certainly can’t be changed by the TSA agent waiting for you to empty your pockets for the third time. Think of it in this way, it is against the rules to choke the living shit out of people who aggravate us. If we discounted that simple rule, people going through security might find they are suddenly gasping for breath while their thigh high boots are firmly shoved up their ass.

Now I know that most people who travel may only get the chance to do so once a year, if they are lucky, but travelling is like anything else that is not familiar. Pay attention to what is going on around you, read the signs, and listen to the people who are there every day, wearing the uniforms, reciting the rules over and over and over.   TSA is really trying to make it easier on you, just imagine what they see everyday. I do not want to come across as cynical, but I know those of you I will meet at the airport, who may have read these tidbits of wisdom, will not take heed. As such you will see me scowling at you and contemplating if your shoes will fit up your ass with your head already in there.

Until next time…

jerryb

© 2012

 Related Article: TSA: All Touchy, Feely These Days

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Humor, Life, Travel

 

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