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7 Modern Manners Tips for Airport Passengers

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7 modern manners tips for airport passengers by 

Sharon Schweitzer

Cross-Cultural Consultant, International Etiquette Expert, and Best-selling Author

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We are one of hundreds of travelers, hustling and bustling from gate to magazine stand, lounge to gate, hoping to board on-time! We observe uniformed pilots and flight attendants preparing for another 500 mph day at work.


Our travel-day may include blue skies or delays, storms, and technical difficulties. Occasionally we observe airline passengers who don’t handle these inevitable delays well, causing distress to fellow passengers, airline employees and security personnel. 


With the current threat level announcement elevated at YELLOW, especially after the recent Brussels International Airport attack, and recent security breaches across the globe, it is imperative to be a good passenger. An airline can prevent a passenger from boarding a plane; and also remove from a plane and the airport if a comment, conversation, or action is deemed inappropriate, uncomfortable, or unsafe.


Recently, an instance occurred on Saturday, April 9, when Young Turks host, Cenk Uygur was denied boarding after he complained about delays connected with his flight from LA to Miami. The airline advised him “the captain wasn’t comfortable.” Use our tips below to avoid making anyone, including the captain ‘uncomfortable’ with your airport attitude:


 1.    Safety First

As Boomers, we know by now that the safety of our fellow passengers and the crew comes first. Our behavior currently under heightened scrutiny due to the recent attacks in Brussels. We are also role models for millennials, children and grandchildren. Set a leadership example and don’t give security reason to respond to your temper tantrum when they are protecting you from terrorism. 


 2.    Respect is Universally Understood

Worldwide, respect is universally understood. Unfortunately, airline personnel often take the brunt of grumpy passengers when weather and technical delays occur. Gate agents and flight attendants have absolutely no control over the circumstances and are simply trying to do their best to accommodate travelers. Respect their efforts and the message they are communicating. Remember, they are assisting you with re-routing from point A to point B safely.


 3.    Value the Relationship

The moral of the story is you won’t get where you’re going unless you value your relationship with your airline. As million-miler and a Platinum frequent flyer with American Airlines, I have been stranded by weather and technical difficulties just like all sky-warriors.  American and every other airline relies on your loyalty, and your travel relies on them. Ensure this relationship is fueled by respect, otherwise you’ll be left at the airport.


 4.    Plan Ahead & Expect Delays  

Air travel involves delays, so plan ahead and make them enjoyable. Come prepared with downloaded e-books, extra battery chargers, meditation coloring books, magazines and music to help you enjoy downtime. Download and set up a Gogo Inflight account for wireless internet and entertainment options.  


 5.    Be Calm & Patient

Lightning strikes. Technical difficulties occur. Medical landings happen. Many variables are out of your control.  Getting angry or frustrated is only going to sap your energy. Save it for an exhausting day of travel instead of getting riled up about a situation you can’t change. Delays are inevitable with traveling; it comes with the territory.


6.    Expect the best, plan for the worst

Seasoned air-warriors know to never fly on the day of a business event. Arrive the day before to settle in and settle down. Use apps such as Hopper to research the best days and prices for your flight. By planning for the worst you can save yourself, and airline employees, quite a bit of strife.


7.    It’s not about you

As you read this, there are on average 5,000 to 6,000 planes in the air above you. With millions of boomers taking off and touching down each day, remember that the delay you may be experiencing is a side effect of travel. So enjoy a good book or take a short nap!



Comment below with other airport etiquette tips you have found useful. Happy travels!



Sharon Schweitzer, JD is an international etiquette expert, sought-after speaker and award-winning author. She is founder and CEO of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She is author of Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Guide to Building Trust, Inspiring Respect, and Creating Long-Lasting Business Relationships.  http://www.protocolww.com/


 April 22, 2016

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