[I invited my friend Allie to help me write this post, because more so than anyone I know, she values the sort of ruthless efficiency her German ancestors are known for. And because, as a fellow elitist traveler, she enjoys discussing the trials and tribulations that jetsetters like us must endure on a bimonthly-basis. She's blogging in blue; I'm in blogging in green.]
I’m sitting in the airport in Las Vegas at 9PM on a Sunday. I’ve made this mistake before—for some reason, I always think I can squeeze out a couple more hours of fun/sluttyness/sin. That’s never the case—it always turn into one long—very, very long—walk of shame home.
There’s a portly, homely-looking lady in her late-unmarried thirties sitting next to me (you know the type: high-wasted jeans, light pink crocs paired with a “slimming” black Haines beefy tee). She’s talking loudly on her cell phone; not because of bad reception—no…it’s clear that she wants us all to hear her conversation so that we think she’s cool (we’ve all used that voice before, let’s be honest). But here’s the deal: she’s asking if the person on the other line has any Plan B. Now I see why she was talking loudly—she wanted us to know she was sexually active. You would think fat-sex would be something you’d try to block out of your mind, and you’d be right. But still, it’s like a train crash—you gotta watch. Or listen.
After listening closer, I discover that the person on the other line is her Mother. “But Mom, I’ve borrowed some from you before. …. You don’t have any? OK, well I think I have some at my house, but it might be expired.” Evidently, this lady is clearly not making the sort of life choices that merit a trajectory away from the double-wide where she rests her head at night.
But, to be honest, her impending pregnancy is not the worst of her problems right now; her fly is down. I kind of want to tell her, but I’m afraid to draw even more attention to her FUPA than it deserves.
Which brings me to my point: Airport Etiquette. Now I’m not going to glamorize the good old days, when we used to get dressed up for flights and flight attendants would Rockettes-style welcome you onto the plane. But a little bit of ruthless efficiency wouldn’t hurt anybody…
#1 Travelators – Slower Traffic: Keep Right.
Pretty clear, right? This mostly applies to couples, groups and
especially groups of couples who are EFL—please don’t monopolize the entire walkway. And if you do, when I gently clear my throat 12 inches behind your neck, it’s not because there’s something caught in it—that’s a polite indication that you should step aside, biotch. There’s nothing worse than an abrupt roadblock whilst travelating at a cool 3 km/hour—it kills your flow.
I can be as lazy as the best of them, but I’ve never stepped on a travelator and just stopped walking. That takes some intense laziness, especially as more able-bodied walkers pass by on the other side.
#2 Security Check Points.
I’m always surprised by the things people forget to take out of their pockets. Really?? You didn’t think your cell phone would set the alarm off? Or that block of lead you had in your fanny pack—you thought that was kosher? I can vaguely understand not being aware of the 3-1-1 rule (no I can’t), but some of the things people get stopped for just baffle my mind.
I was at one airport that had separate “experienced” and “casual” flier lines. Unfortunately, this wasn’t as self-selecting as I would have liked it to be. Ma’am, your walker with tennis ball guards automatically qualifies you as a casual flyer.
As a rule of thumb, I used to pick the line that had the fewest amount of elderly people / families / EFLers. Now, to the inexperienced traveler, this seems like it would be the smart move, right? Wrong. EFLers are usually so scared of American authoritarianism that they’re virtually naked by the time they get to the machines. Parents are so embarrassed of their bratty kids that they’ve got the whips out and ready to use (which, mind you, aren’t metal and can easily pass through the screener). And elderly people are accompanied by TSA employees who can stream them right through the machines. No, it’s the other line—the one with the baby boomers and the middle Americans who seem to blend right in—that’s the worst. And businessmen…don’t even get me started—that laptop never comes out of their briefcase until the last minute, and they’ve got like 25 things they have to unholster from their belts before they can go through the line.
Don’t worry, if you take a long time, I’ll just roll my eyes at the other people in line in an effort to make sure we’re all on the same page: when we collectively get to the other side, and Jeff Probst is standing there waiting with his lit tiki torch, we’re voting YOU off the island.
Great, so now that Chris has covered the perils of checking in, getting through security, and making your way to the gate, we should discuss the terror that awaits at the gate. That almost rhymes. But that’s where the fun ends.
#3 – Gate Lurkers.
You know who they are. When the sassy flight attendant tells people that flight 1512, non-stop service to Houston is about to begin boarding, a line forms faster than you can say “First Class and Gold medallion members Only.” Obviously, none of these people are gold plated (hell, even Fools gold ) Medallion members, but there they are, completely blocking the gate for those whose turn it is to board. What’s that? Oh no, I’m never flying first, nor am I elite (yet…), but I like to think that when I am, the path will be clear and I don’t have to aggressively ask people to move out of my way. Even when the flight attendant gets on the speaker to say that people need to move and make a clear path, they don’t. Let’s get something clear people. Seats are assigned. Getting on first will not make you get to your destination sooner. Further, you are zone 7. You will be boarding in 15 minutes. Sit. Down. I realize there is limited overhead space, but you wouldn’t be so concerned if you hadn’t packed your oversized, overstuffed suitcase that you snuck through security for your 48 hour trip to Vegas. Who wears clothes there anyway?
#4 – Extra Jetway Time
By now you know I hate the boarding process. The fact that some airlines board by zones and others back to front just screams to the inefficiency that is inherent to the process, since obviously the high paid consultants that did studies for the different airlines came up with different results. When the boarding process starts, people naturally get excited (see above), but first, the elite folks get to board. Then, a terrible thing happens. Priority boarding for fatties. Sure, they don’t call it this, but that’s what it is. “People who need extra time getting down the jetway may now board.” The occasional handi-capable person uses this alloted time to board, and rightfully so. But, more often than not, you see Bess and Carl, 700 aggregate pounds of fun, using this chance to waddle their way up to the gate attendant. Oh, I’M SORRY, I didn’t realize eating yourself into an early grave offers the chance to cut in line while you are still on earth. By all means, go ahead, but god help you if you are sitting next to me. Because I will demand that you pay for an extra seat for your girth. Really.