Air Travel Etiquette

I love to travel but it can be stressful. Air travel, in particular, can be fraught with challenges. But, if we all follow a few dos and don’ts of air travel etiquette, we can peacefully coexist while hurtling through the air at 30,000 feet.

Air Travel Etiquette

Do know the TSA rules: Liquids in 3-ounce or smaller containers all packed into one quart sized zipper bag and placed on the conveyor belt. Computer out of your bag and on the belt. Shoes and coat off; nothing in your pockets.

Don’t steal all of the bins and bowls. Being considerate in the security line means sharing and not dawdling.

TSA Precheck

Transportation Security Administration

Do consider signing up for TSA PreCheck. At $85 for five years, it’s a pretty good deal. And, you can keep all of your goodies in your bag and your shoes on your feet.

Do feel free to pack concisely into the allowed number and size of carry-on luggage.

Don’t think that anyone is amused by you carrying on a suitcase and a backpack and a giant purse and a giant shopping bag and a bag full of magazines and snacks and a banjo.

Each of us is allowed one carry-on bag and one small personal item. This means you, too, Barbie.

Mocadeaux - Carry-on luggage etiquette

Do take advantage of the loophole that airlines provide which allows passengers to avoid a checked bag fee.

If your suitcase is small enough to meet the carry-on standards, you can “gate check” your bag with the agents at your gate for free. This is a good idea if you just don’t want to be bothered stowing your bag in the overhead bin, are in one of the later boarding groups or have legendarily poor arm strength like me.

Do line up and board the aircraft with your assigned boarding group. Please have your boarding pass out and available for scanning or have your mobile boarding pass pulled up on your telephone and the screen lit up.

Don’t hold up the boarding process by standing in the aisle unloading every last item you think you might want for the flight before stashing your bag in the overhead bin.

Do be compassionate toward your fellow passengers. If asked by a frantic mom or dad if you can switch seats so that their family can be seated together, consider doing so. In my opinion, this act of kindness brings more good karma than almost anything else.

Mocadeaux - Bank of Karma

Don’t fall asleep on other passengers. My shoulders are reserved for my loved ones and not for perfect strangers who keep nodding off and slumping over toward me in my seat. (Seriously, guy in 11B? How many times do I have to elbow you in the ribs before you get the message?)

Do peruse the menu of “buy on board” food and drink items so that you are ready to order when the flight attendants reach your row.

Don’t order wine in a can. Trust me on this one.

Wine in a can

Do remember to use headphones while listening to music or movies. Just as you have the right to listen to heavy metal music or to watch Mad Max Fury Road, I have the right peaceful quiet.

Don’t judge your seatmates for the in-flight entertainment they choose to watch. Just because someone streams hours of Real Housewives on a coast to coast flight, doesn’t mean that they don’t also watch hours of the History Channel at home.

Do strike up a conversation with your seat mate if the spirit moves you. Take the opportunity to meet new people and hear their stories.

Don’t make a nuisance of yourself. If your seatmate pretends that they are completely engrossed in their reading, are asleep or don’t speak English, it might be a subtle hint that they are not interested in chatting.

And finally, when you have reached your destination…

Do retrieve your carry-on luggage as quickly as possible without trampling your fellow passengers and exit the airplane in an orderly manner.

Don’t do what these flight attendants did. It is rude, will likely get you arrested and will cost you thousands of dollars in fines. A high price to pay to be the first one off of the plane.

By the way, the reenactment animation in this video is priceless.

What are your pet peeves about flying? What would you add to the air travel etiquette dos and don’ts?

Wishing you all happy and safe travels, always!

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The Three Best Things You Can Do For Your Children

Some time ago I was having dinner with my daughter, son-in-law and their friend, Kristen. I’m not sure how we got on the subject of children. Kristen is not a mom and this was well before Annie and Jerry found out they were having a baby. Perhaps we were talking about my son and daughter-in-law and what amazing parents they are to the now two-year old twins.

The very wise Kristen said, “I think the three most important things you can do for your children is to read to them, travel with them and love them.”

Those words have really stuck with me.

Read, travel, love

Having had such excellent role models in our own parents., I think (and hope) that Peter and I did a pretty good job following this with our kids.

We read to them.

Books have always been a big part of our family’s life. We made frequent trips to the local library, bought stacks of books at the annual book fair and were always the first to return our Scholastic Books order form.

Recently my son, responding to a Facebook meme listing his favorite books of all time, noted his love for the Encyclopedia Brown series. He said he was quite certain that there was a worn spot on the rug in the children’s section of our library where he remembers sitting for hours reading about the boy sleuth’s adventures. As his parent, I must say that warmed my heart.

At Annie’s baby showers, guests were asked to include a book with their gift instead of a card. This idea has been around for a while and I think it is brilliant. What a remarkable way to start a family’s library of children’s books!

Of course reading goes beyond books. We read newspapers, magazines, road signs – pretty much anything with printed words.

We regularly watched Wheel of Fortune as a family. Don’t laugh. Pat and Vanna provide a great tool for kids to learn to spell. And teach kids the difference between consonants and vowels.

Encouraging both reading and writing shows our kids the importance of words and language in our everyday lives.

We traveled with them.

Ok, so lots of our trips were to Disney World but still.

There is so much to be learned by traveling. Learning about new places and people, new foods and new customs. Learning to plan, read maps, pack a suitcase, make good choices with one’s souvenir allowance.

While books expand our imagination, travel expands our world view through experiences.

But travel doesn’t just mean expensive or lavish vacations.

Travel can include local experiences like a trip to the zoo or a hike in the woods. It can mean a picnic at the beach or day spent at the county fair. It can be a special occasion dinner at a “fancy restaurant” where best manners are required.

Travel, to me, means any experience that takes us outside of our own little world and opens our eyes to new people, places and ideas.

We loved them.

And always will.

Loving our children often means hugs and kisses, sweet words and “I love you”s. Of course it also means setting down ground rules to clearly identify expectations. And it means letting our kids work through decision making, using those boundaries as a safety net as they learn how to navigate the world.

As parents we show our love by protecting our children from harm, trusting and respecting them, encouraging them to become their own true selves, supporting them, guiding them and eventually letting them go to live their own lives and follow their own dreams.

I always say that we work so hard to teach our children to become independent than darn if they don’t just go off and become independent. But that’s ok. We do our job so they can do theirs.

And now that we are blessed with grandchildren, Peter and I have the wonderful opportunity to share these gifts with our next generation.

The best things you can do for your children AND your grandchildren?

Read to them, travel with them and love them.

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