1. Wear socks (and SHOES)
The airport is not your living room. It is not clean. It is not healthy. Feet are disgusting and bare feet walking around in the airport is unsanitary and horrifying. I doubt anyone would walk around bare footed in a bus terminal. Why is the airport any different? I have seen pigeons, seagulls, rats and mice in airports, under chairs and flying through gate areas. All of these vermin carry disease and your bare feet are vessels for those diseases. If you must take your shoes off (whilst walking through security), wear socks.
2. Read the Signs
The airports of the world are awesome for telling you where baggage claim is, where the restrooms are, where the gates are, what time your flight will arrive, land or cancel because of all the signs. They even have signs for blind people and signs in different languages. USE THE SIGNS! The signs don’t lie! Stopping a pilot or, god forbid a TSA agent, for information is much less useful than reading signs.
3. Be nice to the gate agents
You may think being kind to your pilot or to the flight attendant is the way to get upgraded, get meal vouchers, get a seat on flight you aren’t listed on, or get free wifi, but you are wrong. Gate agents can make or ruin your day. Bribe them. Bring them coffee or donuts or chocolate. Say please and thank you and never raise your voice. Gate agents are typically getting berated all day long for something they have no control over and I rarely see any of them smile. They are stressed and unhappy. Do NOT add to their unhappiness! They have ALL the power. They can bump you off a flight, make your new connections a nightmare or accidentally on purpose close the door right as you are running up to the gate. I have personally been told that I am being upgraded to first class because I was patient and didn’t yell when I approached the agent. I once gave a very frustrated gate agent a candy bar; she practically fell over and then upgraded me to economy plus. Think before you yell; I promise it will make the experience much better for everyone.
4. Don’t hog all the plugs
No one likes that guy who sets up next to the plug bank and then proceeds to plug in every apparatus he owns like it’s the last time he’ll be exposed to electricity for the next year. I once saw a particularly hoggish plug man at the Cleveland airport. He had his iPhone, iPad, laptop, and ELECTRIC RAZOR all charging at the same time. Really? Share the electricity; you don’t own it and just because you sat next to the plug does not make it yours.
5. WALK in the walking side of the moving walkway
The beautiful thing about the moving walkway is that it does the walking for you. However, it is called a WALKway for a reason. Developers of the moving walkway recognized that not everyone wanted to walk on the moving walkway, so they cleverly divided it into either two halves or two separate walkways going the same direction, the “stand” and the “walk”. If you are on the walking side, please, please, please, WALK!! Everyone behind you read the sign and they are now trying to follow its direction. As a walker, I do not go intruding on your stand side, so please don’t stand on my walk side.
6. Keep WALKING once you step off of the moving walkway or escalator
This applies really anywhere, but seems to be very common at airports. Once the walkway or the escalator has ended, you have to keep walking! Do not stop with all of your luggage and your three children dead in your tracks at the end. The people behind you are still moving and will most likely trample you and your luggage and possibly your weakest child. Move to the side if you must pause after your long trip on the “stand” side of the walkway.
7.Be aware of your backpack or bag
I’ve been hit in the face more than once as people try to fling their backpack onto the security belt or when quickly turning to locate the Brookstone. Be aware of the space your backpack occupies and how close or far away you are from others.
8. Stop telling everyone in the gate area about the one time you almost crashed
Not everyone thinks flying is fun or safe. 30 minutes before boarding a plane is not the time to tell your story of how the wing fell off the plane you were on and how you thought you were going to die. Generally, these stories are gross exaggerations of what really happened and turbulence does not mean the plane almost crashed.
9. Don’t bring your liquids
It has been 7 years people! 7 whole years have passed when we haven’t been able to take liquids through security. Every time I go to the airport someone forgets or doesn’t know and then is slamming the liter bottle of Aquafina she just bought before going through security. Guess what? They sell liter bottles of Aquafina on the other side of security too. You are holding up the line and no one is that thirsty!
10. Keep your family under control
As stated previously, the gate area is not a living room. Yes, there are 5 people in your family. That does not mean you are entitled to every seat. No one has given you permission to set up a croquet match in order to keep your kids occupied. We are all waiting patiently. We want to remain calm. We should all take up as little space as we can to accommodate for others who have been walking or standing all day whilst traveling. I’ve seen Barbie playhouses and pseudo movie theaters set up in the gate area, along with enough food and drink to feed a small army. These compounds end up taking a minimum of 12 seats and force half the passengers to stand. Keep your family in a confined location and try not to encroach on the whole of the gate area just because you have more bags, pillows, ice cream cones or shoes.