“…Close your eyes and sleep like the rest of the plane. Remember the first rule of Flight Club.. “

If you are someone like me who travels a modest amount, say 8-10 times per year, then you have most likely experienced frustration and downright irritation at basically any point in the experience.  Whether it’s purchasing the ticket, getting your boarding pass, security or seating, they are all capable of being a major pain in the ass and pissing you off as a traveler.  Before my Uber driver arrives, I prepare myself mentally for the worst.  If you want to feel like a 2nd class citizen, then book a domestic flight on just about any airline !

Aside from the nausea that the service providers can and will impose on you, to which you have zero control over, you have to deal with the GP, yep, the General Public.  Any time this happens you get a front row seat to how completely selfish and ignorant most of our country is.  Me First, Me Now … Me Eat Now!  Don’t be one of these people who just pile onto the bad experience that travel has already become.  When there are airfare wars, its you and me that suffer.  Soon we will be standing on planes and begging for water, I can see it now – SRO Airlines – $99 – No Drink, No Bathrooms, No Problem !

We have put together some of the most irritating behaviors that passengers display when flying.  Try NOT to be one of these people so that air travel has a shot at being a decent experience.

  • Clothing – If you know you are going to be traveling then wear clothes that will get you through security without a life coach meeting with the TSA Agent at the gate.  We don’t enjoy waiting behind you with our bare feet touching those lovely, germ free airport floors.
  • Flight Club – People who talk excessively on morning flights should have to sit in the bathroom like a penalty box.  This is not a nightclub.  The cute girl next to you sees your wedding ring (sorry).  We know you don’t get out much and think you still got it, but she also sees your gray hair and seat belt gasping for air as it tries to encompass your belly.  Shut the hell up, close your eyes and sleep like the rest of the plane.  Remember, the first rule of Flight Club is don’t talk about Flight Club.
  • You’re A Big Deal – Talking on cellphones while you are on a plane is a sure sign that you are a major tool.  Nobody cares about the crisis you just drummed up so everyone thinks you are important.  We don’t care that you just sold a very large order of drink umbrellas. Fly into San Jose, where all the top Venture Capitalists in the world are located.  You don’t see them on their phones because they (have class), and can wait 2-3 minutes to get into the terminal before they get on a business call.  Try to Be Like Mike here. There is no better time to be texting.  It will be socially accepted and appreciated by all.
  • Vidiots – Those lovely parents who let their children play video games with the sound on.  Heck,  those wonderful adults that play video games with the sound on!  Haven’t we taken away enough creativity, reading skills and manners from our children with video games?  Would it be horrible if these children read a book or did a crossword with their parents for 2 hours?  Or if you really don’t want to deal, put a shot of brandy in their tea and knock em out so the rest of us can have a peaceful flight.  Ritalin would work as well.
  • Incredible Feets – Our primary responsibility to ourselves and fellow passengers regarding our feet should be immediately understood. Do not take your shoes off !  C’mon people, taking your shoes off in a tight, crowded fuselage is like farting in an elevator.  Many of you put your bare feet up on the bulk head wall so now your ugly hairy hobbit toes are eye level and worse, nose level.  The bulk head area is not the passenger seat of your grandpa’s F-100.  Keep your feet in your shoes and on the floor.  Do you think the airlines ever disinfect those carpets?
  • Respect The Gear – If I have on a ski hat, sunglasses and headphones or earplugs, then that means I do not want to be bothered. Nada, Nunca.  It means, “I chose a window seat and dressed like The Unabomber because I do not care to speak to anyone”.  This goes for you as well, the stewardess who wakes me up to see if I want a beverage and 5-6 peanuts in a tiny bag.  Understand and respect the message I am sending with my chosen attire.

OK these are just some of your responsibilities as an air traveler.  Please list any others in our comment section to help our skies return to peaceful, odorless & friendly skies.  We have also compiled some useful tips to help you navigate your air travel more effectively.

  • Changing Flights– If you know you are going to miss or change your flight, it’s much better to do this AT the airport, at a gate.  If you do this on the phone you will always get hit with a change fee.  They have much more flexibility at the gate.
  • First Class Upgrade – Many airlines are finally getting smart and selling their empty first class seats at a bargain, rather than let them go unused.  Check with your airline, many are releasing these seats to the public for upgrades at a fraction of the original fare.  That’s not a bad deal on a 4 hour flight where you can easily eat and drink $75 of that fee.
  • Know Your Planes – All planes are different and have different nuances about them.  For instance Southwest uses primarily Boeing 737 air crafts.  Seats differ slightly due to the aircraft, some have sections that other air crafts do not, offering more leg room for a small fee.  Southwest will start their beverage service in row 10 I believe.  So if you sit in row 9, you will have to wait for the first class to be served first then all other rows before you. If you sit in row 10, you will be one of the first to get a beverage on the plane .. and peanuts, (the luxurious perks of flying Southwest).
  • Rewards Program – you have to join these.  Even if you only fly once per year.  Most airlines do not have an expiration date on their miles.  You will be surprised to see how fast they add up.  It also helps when booking online so you don’t have to keep entering you personal information.  They also send you coupons for free booze in the mail !
  • First Class – It’s your duty to enjoy a pre-flight cocktail and look regal.  Ham it up!  Dress the part, put on your sunglasses and act like you are someone, as everybody rolls by checking you out. I typically like to dress like Dave Grohl in first class, it turns more heads including your snooty companions in FC.

Above all, fly Virgin Airlines as much as possible.  You have your own television, they play ambient music while you board to mellow everyone out.  You can order healthy food from a touch screen whenever you want.  Their planes are new and fast, and have their own names.  Their flight attendants have mohawks, piercings and the very best customer service skills you will find, (Four Seasons-like).  There are no rude flight attendants that should have been forced into retirement or an anger management class ten years ago.  If for no other reason, it just might force the prehistoric airlines like United and American, or the flying metro bus, Southwest to raise their service standards.

Thanks For Reading !

For this piece, TRM worked with Nikki Horgan, a frequent flyer and founder of Raku International, a luxury lifestyle services agency. 

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