Traveling is a stressful situation for anyone. I find myself on an airplane probably 7 or 8 times a year and I still get nervous every time about getting to the airport on time, making sure to remember packing everything the night before, having all the documents I may need depending where I'm traveling to, and all that. A lot of people feel that way at the airport or on the plane, especially if someone is traveling for the first time. But there are a few things we can do to make sure our flights are a stress-free for all.

Probably more like honorable mentions, but a few things honestly don't bother me that bother most. The person in front of you reclined their seat. Yes, they have that privilege. You can recline your seat, too. If you don't want to have anyone recline their seat, sit in the front exit row as that row in front won't recline for safety reasons.

Crying baby? It's not like the baby or even the parents can help that. The parents would like it if their baby wasn't crying, either.

A major pet peeve of many are the people who stand up right when the seatbelt sign gets turned off. I get it, but I'm tall and my leg is probably cramped so, yeah, I'm standing up, too. Not always in a rush to get off the plane faster as I'll still wait my turn, but just to get blood flowing back to my feet sitting in those cramped seats.

Here's just a few things we can all do to not be a huge jerk at the airport or on the plane.


Have your ID ready for both getting your tickets and going through TSA.

When you go to check in for your flight and/or drop off your checked baggage if you're doing that, they'll ask for your ID. Just already have it out so you're not stumbling trying to find it. If you check in online and don't have checked bags you won't even need to do this part.

Empty your pockets and consolidate your carry-on bags before getting in the TSA line.

You will need to empty your backpacks for your larger electronics like like laptops, video games, CPAP and anything like that, Put those in a bin. But stuff in your pockets like change, keys, receipts and whatever else, easy to just chuck in your bag in the meantime so you're not holding up the TSA line.

The airport is never the time to teach your toddlers to walk independently.

There are times when people literally running in the halls to get to their next flight. Maybe their previous flight had a delay or their next flight is boarding while their plane is landing. That's happened to me a few times. A toddler randomly walking in the middle with the parent barely paying attention could get that toddler knocked over. Or slow the process of getting to where you need to go. Keep your kids close and away from danger of those running.

Don't use the chair next to you as a seat for your backpack.

Waiting for your flight, if you haven't noticed, often times there are a lot less seats than people so don't put your stuff in the seat next to you so someone else can sit there. If you don't want anyone sitting next to you, you shouldn't be flying as you're about to have someone sit even closer real soon.

Don't crowd the gate area until it's your time to board.

In fact, if you're already sitting in a seat waiting to board, stay there until they call your group. All too many times have I been in line and the people aren't moving. As it turns out, they were just too close to the line but not in line, yet. Stand back until you can get in line. I promise you they're not leaving without you.

Don't be rude to the flight attendant. Ever.

This shouldn't even be mentioned but I've seen it so here we are. Once I witnessed an angry passenger tell off the flight attendants because his flight was delayed, as if it was their fault. Sad to see.

Keep your shoes on the flight.

Not just for everyone around you but for your own safety, too. Airplanes aren't the cleanest places to be, especially the floors. Do yourself the favor and keep your shoes on.

Don't bring fragrant food on flights.

Eating is 100% acceptable. If you wanna grab a sandwich or a little snack, go for it. But if you're bringing in some sweet and sour chicken or tuna salad, you'll make an enemy of those around you in a hurry.

Unless you have a flight with a quick connection, get off the plane when the rows in front of you have exited.

Just because you're up and ready to leave doesn't mean you're leaving earlier. Stay in your row until you're in the clear. Keeps everything organized as if everyone did that, nobody would be able to leave.

Don't stop moving after exiting until you're well in the terminal.

I've seen people get off the plane and then stop to put on their jacket or backpack or whatever. That little hallway that connects the plane to the terminal usually isn't big enough to bypass anyone. Just grab everything in a bundle until you're in the clear.

Standing far enough back from baggage claim so everyone can grab their bags when they see them.

To me, this is the worst. Everyone crowds the baggage claim belt looking for their bags. They're anxious to be on their way; everyone is. I don't know if they knew this, but they were just in an airplane with a couple hundred passengers, too. Even if everyone took 1 step back away from the belt and stepped forward when they saw their bag to grab it, it's sure help.

John Riggs
John Riggs

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