Uhhhhhhhh ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking, uhhhhhhh
So real life came into play and I've been away for awhile. Real life included me flying somewhere, and back of course. On the flight I was thinking about the things that people do in airports, and airplanes, that bug me. And of course, one of my fellow bloggers will be taking a flight soon, so I decided to give them a heads up on some tips, tricks, do's and dont's.
There was a brief period in my life where I was flying constantly. At one point, I had been on 36 different flights in 4 months. In the past 3 years, I've been on over 50. So I consider myself fairly experienced in flying/traveling. Not an expert, just experienced.
Before you go to the airport:
Think about what it is you are packing and what it is you will need for your trip. If you are going for 7 days, take 7 pairs of clean undergarments, +1 for if you get so drunk you need a bonus pair. That's one FRESH clean pair for every day... seems logical doesn't it? Ok so that's pretty basic, well how about regular clothes? Ok, simple, take what you need. I see people who have a luggage cart with 4 bags on it, and they are going to the same place as you, and all you can think is wow, you must be rich and stupid. Some airlines make you pay more money for bags that are over weight, and or more then 1 checked bag.
Here's a suggestion for those who love to shop and or have clothes that all of your friends don't have. Pack half of what you need, then in the first couple of days, go buy a pile of clothes from the mall. For example, shorts. In Canada, board shorts (branded) go for around $50 - $60. In the states you get the same pair or better for $20. Shoes? Simple, casual shoes here are $100 - $120 (branded), in the states, $60. When I leave, my bag always has room for more. When I come home, don't ask me to take something in my bag for you. And don't ask me for my receipts...
While getting your boarding pass:
Stand with the person you are flying with. You don't need to go stand around the corner and still try to have a conversation. Don't go get another quick smoke in before you go through security. And for F sakes pull up your pants. I am not targeting the gangster, I'm targeting the middle aged people who don't travel well. For your day job, you wear nice clothes and you wear deodorant and you wash your hands after you use the restroom. But when you are going through your bags for the 100th time in line, it's perfectly ok (in your mind) to have your underwear or ass, or hair or any combination herein hanging out the back. Male or female, sweaty crack is not cool.
While going through customs:
Simple questions are asked and a simple task is required. FILL OUT A F*CKING customs declaration. I don't know how many times I see someone get through the boarding pass station, on through the 2 guards that need to see your boarding pass, and right to the front and still don't fill out the form. You almost trip over all of the stations they have setup for you to fill out one of those forms. Furthermore, you lean on at least 6 while you wait in line. AND the guards TELL you to grab one if you haven't already. And while your at it, read the signs, read the instructions, read SOMETHING. You have to fill it out in CAPITAL LETTERS.
On my last trip this older gentlemen got all the way to the front, had to go back to get one. Then tried asking a member of the cleaning staff if they could line jump him, which prompted security to come ask why he was being so weird. To him complaining about having to do what they were asking him, to him getting sent to the BACK of the line. Shortly after we saw him getting escorted out with the guards asking the baggage people downstairs to try and find his bag and have it hand delivered upstairs. He was probably a normal person, but you f around you lay around.
Waiting for your flight:
Stand up, walk around, sit still. Whatever works for you. But playing musical chairs beside, behind, in front of etc, of me drinking a coffee trying to read the paper is not a good way for you to avoid having negative things thought about you. Also, now is your last chance to charge your ipod. You don't have to go pay money for those "super charge" stations. Just go find a regular receptacle. You think they don't have them? By code they HAVE to have them. It's a cleaners loop, and they are spaced throughout the terminal. Most often they are behind the tv's where you can look at arrivals and departures. It's easy and free, and it won't mind f*ck your ipod.
This is the hardest thing for people to do. Sit in YOUR seat. Also, don't get all of your electronics out, your headphones your magazines your pillow and blanket. Sit down and let everyone else get to where they need to be. You have more then 1 hour of flying ahead of you (or else you would have drove). You don't need to be jamming music or movies or whatever the second you sit down. You can actually even wait until the drink wagon comes out. You should have some level of restraint internally that allows you to just sit still and be accommodating to those around you. And when the seat belt sign comes off... why in the hell do you have to jump up out of your seat and shake your pants out of your crotch and go through your overhead stuff. Your car ride to the airport was longer then your take off to cruising altitude. You can't possibly have to run to the restroom already. What the hell is wrong with you. Sit down and relax. It's the easiest part of your trip.
Mark your bag before you leave. Stick some tape on it, or ribbon. Or even just get familiar with what it looks like. You shouldn't have to take peoples luggage off the carousel to see if it's yours. And if you grab mine it's going to get awkward. And if someone is standing there waiting for yours. Stand BEHIND them. Don't get up in front and push them out. I like to leap frog these people and get big. I open my jacket, lean out in front, maybe even send for a luggage cart for my 1 half empty bag just to wedge in front of them a little more. You may be on vacation, or you may be on for business, but you don't need to be an ignorant dip shit to everyone around you. If your bag doesn't show up, don't get mad. This is the best possible thing that can happen to you. I've had United Airlines buy me 3 sets of clothes, new toiletries hand deliver my old set 1 day later right to my hotel room. Free clothes and a free shuttle to the mall are not something you can be mad about. Just be nice to the old lady in the baggage claim room. Explain to her how you really needed more then the sweat pants and old t-shirt you are wearing for your business meeting in the morning. She doesn't need to know your business meeting is you sleeping in then staggering to the pool side bar.
Leaving the airport after your flight:
If you didn't drive yourself to the airport, I hope it's because you had a VERY nice friend or family member offer you a ride to and from. If you did drive, it's only $50 a week. If you took a taxi... it's going to be $80 or more round trip. AND you have to drive in a cab, AND it's going to suck, AND he's not going to drive anywhere near the speed limit. Did you ever notice when you pass a slow taxi he's got people inside? Here's a trick though if you DO have to take a taxi. Call a cab, negotiate when he arrives. Tell him you'll give whatever it is less then the weekly parking, he might try to go up, but cash will help you through this. If you have more time, look up a driver service to have a guy with one of those black leathered out granny cars come get you. It's virtually the same price as a taxi. If you plan on traveling again soon, have him give you his card, they love repeat customers, and he'll come get you out of bed if you ask him too. Plus they usually look like Alfred (Batmans' butler). And having that guy drive you around is like being a rock star. Also, when you leave the airport, these guys can be found just a little further down the line then the taxi's. Don't make eye contact with the cabby, just look for the men in black and head their way. This is what they do if they don't have any assignments, but they aren't technically a taxi so they can't park in the pick up line, but they do park close by. And it's going to be the same price as the cab. That's my 45 page blurb on what should be obvious information. If it is, congratulations, you are one of the people I love to travel with. If you learned a lot from this, then either it's something you overlooked or you are that guy who can't sit still or respect others around you, and I hope it REALLY bothers you when others treat you like shit for being an asshole.
Happy travels everyone, and to the blogger about to travel, be safe and have fun.
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Posted by Mizzle on Wednesday, March 03, 2010