Don’t be that Person: How to Travel without being a Giant Dickhead

At the risk of sounding like a total douchebag, I’ve done a fair amount of traveling in the last 5 years or so. The majority of this traveling was done solo – with the exception of my trip to London which my beautiful mother accompanied me on. I like to think my wallflower tendencies and inherent goodness have given me a pretty firm grasp on Airport/Airplane Etiquette. In all honesty, most of it is just having common sense and being a decent human being. However, my recent travels have lead me to believe that a lot of people slept through their alarms on the day god was giving that shit out – I’m looking at you, Mr. I Just Watched this Poor Cute Girl in a Skirt with a Backpack, Suitcase, and her Hands Full Drop a Whole Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap on the Airport Floor and Struggle to Pick it Up and Throw it Away without Dropping more Things and Did Nothing to Help Her. (I’ve mostly gotten over it. It’s just that that sucker cost me 6 bucks and I didn’t even get to enjoy it). Anyway, I’ve thought long and hard about my Travel Struggles and I’ve narrowed down the most important (a.k.a. annoying) topics into a handy dandy list. So please, take your seat and fasten your seat belt, and make sure your seat back and folding trays are in their full upright position…because we’ve got things to discuss.

  1. Take responsibility for your children’s actions
    I don’t have a problem with small children per se, I have two nieces who are (imoh) the cat’s pajamas, but I have a problem with traveling with small children. Besides having no clue as to what possess the parents of young kids to think, “hey…let’s take these little tater tots on an 12 hour transcontinental flight for a vacation they won’t even remember”, I’ve noticed that these parents basically let their kids get away with murder. Now I’m all for keeping kids happy. A content child is a quiet child, and a quiet child means I can get some sleep – something which I desperately love but don’t get nearly enough of (kind of like coffee or Nutella) – but you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. My most recent encounter with a little hell spawn was a few weeks ago on a flight from Detroit to Miami. There was a little boy sitting behind me, he was probably 2 or 3 years old? I don’t know, I’m terrible with guessing children’s ages. Anyway, the little tyke was on his mother’s lap, but apparently sitting down just wasn’t good enough for him, because he stood up (still on his mum’s lap), reached over my seat back, and ruffled my hair with a long, drawn out “hiiiiii” not unlike one Mr. Harry Styles. I’m not heartless so I chuckled and said hello back, but I think a sheepish apology from the kid’s mother would’ve been nice. Instead she gave the kid candy. Top notch parenting, right there.
  1. Don’t lean your seat back*
    *If there’s no one sitting behind you, you go right on ahead and lean that seat back. A little further. You know what? Just lean it all the way back. Turn that seat into a bed for all I care. Have a lil snooze. Treat yo’self.
    But for the love of all that is good and holy, don’t lean your seat back if someone is sitting behind you. Or at least ask them if they care if you do. It’s just common courtesy, really. On my flight back from London, the man sitting in front of me had his seat leaned back literally as soon as he sat down. He just plopped his inconsiderate ass down and leaned it on back. Right into my knees. He did sit upright for take off, but as soon as he could, he reclined right into my lap. He had absolutely zero concern for the comfort of the person behind him. Especially when about 2 hours into the 8.5 hour flight, he decided to move to a different seat and LEAVES HIS LEANED ALL THE WAY BACK. Seriously…he just left it. Leaned all the way back. Into MY PERSONAL SPACE. So he could go take AN ENTIRE ROW for his damn self. In case you were wondering, it is indeed possible to be vibrating with rage for approximately 9 hours straight.
  2. Keep your conversations to a dull roar
    Remember in elementary school when your teacher would remind you to use your “inside voice”? Yeah, that still applies when on an airplane. In fact, it might be even more important. I’m sorry that your husband works long hours, and I’m glad that your friend is going with you so you can go sightseeing together, but I don’t care. Just like I don’t care about how your nephew’s ex-girlfriend’s cousin’s best friend is single because they caught their boyfriend cheating with the RA from the floor above them in the dorms. Airplanes are not huge inside. Unless you’re rollin’ in the dough or have a sugardaddy – in which case, are you willing to make a donation to the Bank of Jordan and does he have friends? – then you’re sitting in economy class and are therefore literally touching the person next to you. There is no earthly reason why you would need to talk any louder than a whisper. Pretend that you’re back in middle school at a sleepover and you and your bestie are the only two still awake and you’re talking a shit about all the other girls. Keep it hush hush. Don’t air your dirty laundry in a space where the people around you are literally trapped inside a canister 30,000 feet in the air.
  3. Help elderly people
    I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “But Jordan, that’s so obvious! Of course you should help the elderly!” Well, let me tell you, friend…that amount of times I’ve seen able-bodied youngins stand idly by (sometimes even looking annoyed) while a sweet little old lady struggled with her carry-on cannot be counted on two hands. This probably pisses me off more than anything. If I’m close, or able to get there quickly, I am the first person to offer assistance. Sometimes they don’t want it, most of the time they’re incredibly grateful. And you know what it cost me? Nothing! Not a damn thing besides a little bit of energy. Really, when you think about it, I should’ve thanked the people I helped…nobody gets Michelle Obama arms without a little heavy lifting am I right? Also, let them get off the plane ahead of you. I can guarantee the 30 seconds you have to wait while they gather their things and shuffle on out will not kill you. Suck it up, buttercup. Age before beauty and all that.
  4. Be polite to the stewardesses
    I’m gonna keep this one short and sweet, because it should be a no-brainer. Stewardesses literally serve you the entire flight. They get you drinks, food, take care of your trash, give you blankets, pillows, hot towels, etc. The very least you could do is say “please” and “thank you”. (I’ve been told that I’m too polite – I don’t think that’s a Thing). Just use your manners like your mother taught you, all right? Don’t be that person.