Removing The A$$hole From The Travel Equation
Posted on September 1, 2016
American Airlines released a new ad this week that has the media buzzing. Why? Well, it’s a unique ad because it puts some of the pressure back on us, as travelers, to make our experience a positive one. I kinda like that. We hear an awful lot of negative stories about TSA agents and airline staff, but, let’s be honest, how often have we looked at some of our fellow passengers and thought to ourselves—or muttered just loud enough for them to hear—“What an asshole!”?
AA believes our travel experience has a lot to do with our attitude, and I agree. Their ideal flier loves babies. I…I’m okay with babies. They look very nice on television or on the movie screen. And I guess I might even admit I love babies. Not the same way my husband’s Grandmother loves babies. To her, they taste like chicken. Perhaps I should say that I don’t have a problem with babies. I have a problem with their parents. A screaming baby is not someone I want to sit next to on a plane, and I don’t believe any traveler should have to.
Some people don’t want to hear or read that, and that’s okay.
Enough about the kids. People love to complain about the long lines to get through TSA, which is a valid complaint, though sometimes misplaced. I’ve traveled a lot this year and, let me tell you, some folks don’t know how to navigate a TSA line. Signs confuse this breed of moronic asshole. NO LIQUIDS. Kinda simple, and frequently kinda ignored. REMOVE YOUR LAPTOP. “Do I have to remove my laptop?” Make an educated guess there, Sherlock. Let’s get you on C.S.I. because nothing gets by you.
There are even TSA agents standing there announcing over and over again for folks to take everything out of their pockets before going through the scanning machines. “Do I have to take my wallet out? How about my cell phone? This little bottle of water?” Oh, and I love this one. “Make sure your bags go all the way into the scanning machine before you step over to the body imager.” Some folks just walk away without a care in the world, and without following their bags down. We, the passengers standing behind them, apparently can do it for them. We don’t. And they look offended with a TSA agent escorts them back to the conveyor.
Meanwhile we have to wait for these assholes.
My favorite special breed of asshole is the one who walks up to the boarding agent after they’ve called for folks who are traveling with children or who need a little extra time boarding because they’re disabled or are in a wheelchair. They expect to be let on because, well, they’re them…whoever that is. No. Get your stupid ass back and wait your turn.
And how about that person who boards early, is sitting in one of the last rows, yet leaves their luggage in an overhead bin over the first couple of rows, thereby depriving someone from stowing their luggage above their seat? This is who we call a douche canoe asshole. I’m not talking about someone who’s elderly or has a legitimate reason for needing to do that. I’m talking about a perfectly fit douche canoe asshole who feels entitled.
So, it comes down to this for me. I have two rules I follow whenever I travel:
–Be prepared. I have my license and boarding pass handy, and everything ready to be put onto the conveyor quickly and orderly so I’m not standing there in a panic and holding everybody else up. If you don’t know the processes or procedures, look them up on the airport’s website or ask someone who does travel, preferably before you leave.
–Be nice to the TSA agents and airline staff. Nobody wants a hard time. They have a job to do, you have somewhere to go, and being polite can go a long way.
By following these little rules and not being an asshole, you’ll be surprised at just how much more pleasant your travel experience can be.
Now if I can just get American Airlines to hire me to write their next ad…
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.