Sorry I haven’t been very active in blogging lately – work has been more hectic than usual and I actually just got back from a couple of short trips that took away my weekends. I just got back from a trip to San Francisco and although I had a great time, it reminded me just how much I hate everything about flying.
First, a rant.Â The new laws about liquids mean that I have no other choice but to check a bag (this hair doesn’t just HAPPEN people, and my hair product doesn’t come in smaller than 3 oz bottles).Â Hair woes aside, every time I get in line at the airportÂ or stand in front of a baggage carousel, I see the same things that drive me crazy. So, as a public service, I’d like to present you with Masala Skeptic’s Rules for Flying Politely:
- When the flight attendant says ‘turn off your cell phones,’ just turn off your goddamn cell phones! Although there isn’t actually any evidence to say that you’ll crash the plane, there’s a good chance you’ll freak out a fellow passenger, who could then report you and get your butt fined, put on the No Fly List, or tossed in Gitmo and I will MISS MY CONNECTION you selfish dickweed.Â
- Baggage carousel rule #1.Â With great positioning comes great responsibility. If you must stand right in front of the spot where the baggage carousel spits out bags, at least get out of the way when someone next to you tries to get a bag. Don’t just watch as they make a grab for it, can’t get a good enough grip to pull it off the carousel and then get dragged around the belt. And don’t get pissy if, after all that, they run into you or hit you with a heavy bag. In an ideal world, you would help the person get the bag off the carousel. That means they get their bag and you maintain that crucial spot that allows you to get your bags a full 15 seconds before the person standing 4 feet down the carousel. In this modern world, you ignore them and continue the cell phone conversation you started on initial approach to the airport.
- Baggage carousel rule #2. Once you do get your bag off the carousel, GO AWAY. (Latin: Vo fuckus est.) Don’t stand around looking at it, pulling items out or making sure your 3.4oz tube of toothpaste didn’t get stolen. Grab ‘n’ go, people – after five seconds, you will get a Homeland Security-approved wedgie.
- Security lines suck, seriously. You never feel more that the terrorists have won than when you’re standing barefoot after going through security, trying to get your laptop and ziplog baggie shoved back into your carry on, boarding pass in your mouth, while trying to get a jacket on and hoping your pants dont fall off because your belt hasn’t made it throught the x-rays. All while the machine operator is watching Oprah on one of those screens. Just move down and keep moving. Go as far to the end of the conveyor as you can.Â Then, grab your stuff and repack and put yourself together at one of the chairs or tables off to the side. Yes, I know, there are never enough but even if you end up in a corner on the floor, it’s better than the carnage of a four-laptop pileup. (Unless you got your laptop free already — then a pileup is high comedy. Schadenfreude is a harsh mistress.)
- Zone boarding is not rocket science. Don’t crowd around the gate entrance when they start boarding.Â Don’t get in line before your zone is called.Â Just sit your ass down until they call you!Â When there’s a crowd milling around or a long line of people who shouldn’t be boarding, it just causes confusion for the people who actually SHOULD be boarding and additional delays as they kick your butt out of line for trying to board when you shouldn’t.(Hubby disagrees with me on this. He says that while zone-jumping is obnoxious, being one of the first from your zone on has advantages. Getting the one measly laptop bag stored overhead before the idiot with the minifridge takes up the whole compartment makes for a more enjoyable flight. Plus, more Schadenfreude.)
As I was writing this, I also did some research into travel myths in general.Â Here are some that I hadn’t heard of:
— clip ‘n’ save! —
- The airplane is a breeding ground for disease and the recirculated air means you’re more likely to get sick on a plane.Â I have a huge amount of anecdotal evidence to support this but the science simply isnt there when it comes to bacterial infections. The story is different when it comes to highly infectious diseases like TB or cooties. Forbes Traveler says, in spite of the science, it’s probably a good idea to be cautious:
Hydrate yourself while on the plane, wash your hands often, and turn off the air vent over your head to not only avoid a stiff neck but also keep your own air around you longer and put off breathing someone else’s. And no tongues.
OK, I may have made some of that up.Â But it’s good advice in general.Â As is,Â don’t use Airborne. That could make things worse :) Finally, don’t wear an Asshole Medallion, or you risk some serious mocking:
- If you lose your hotel key card, your identity or credit card information could be stolen.Â Theoretically, this is possible.Â Hotels can encrypt your credit card information on your key card.Â But they almost never do. According to Joe Brancatelli at Portfolio.com:
Despite an endless series of â€œtipsâ€ in the last year, Iâ€™ve never seen a police report or legal documents that prove a personâ€™s financial details were lifted from a hotel key card. Not convinced? Then do what I do: Take the key card with you when you leave. No hotel in the world requires you to turn it in when you check out. Iâ€™ve never even been asked to do so.
Plus, if the person next to you is an obnoxious snorer, slip it in his or her carryon and make the spouse suspect an affair.
- “Rule 240” will ensure that if your flight is cancelled or seriously delayed, the airline will put you on the next available flight for any other carrier flying the route.Â This one is interesting and I found some conflicting recommendations online.Â Everyone agrees that the original Rule 240, an old Civil Aeronautics Board regulation required airlines to immediately put you on another flight, is no longer valid after the airlines were deregulated in 1978.Â However, while some say that now, each airline makes its own rules and won’t pay any attention to citing Rule 240, others say it’s worth a shot, because most airlines have created their own version of Rule 240.
TODAY’s Travel Editor, Peter Greenberg, insists that he’s been ‘240-ed’ several times in the past year:
the real bottom line here is that while no one airline is legally mandated to follow Rule 240, many of them do â€” if they want to. And the real key is that you have to ask â€” not demand â€” and in many cases, you’ll be accommodated.
My guess is this is more a customer service issue than anything else. If you make enough noise and, happen to be the primary travel correspondent or a major TV network, I think you’ll probably get a slightly different level of service.Â Has anyone else heard of this rule?Â Had it work?
What are your favorite travel peeves and myths?