The Memorial Day Weekend has once again descended upon the United States, whose citizens mark the unofficial start of summer with cookouts, activities, lazy days relaxing under the sun and — to the detriment of frequent fliers — travel.
The fact that many people are off from work and children are out of school for a significant amount of time — some for the summer — fuels the desire to travel. Airports become crowded, flights become full, roads become clogged with traffic, and hotel properties become sold out…
…and those who are inexperienced with travel are taking to the airways — possibly with you.
Call it an honest lack of experience or call it ignorance — but to some FlyerTalk members, traveling with people who are inexperienced with travel in general and apparently do not know their boundaries can exacerbate the stress already inherent with travel.
For example, people who do not travel often usually do not understand the protocol that the overhead bins in the first class cabin are not for their use if they are assigned a seat in the economy class cabin. In this particular case, the “offender” claimed his bag and brought it to the rear of the aircraft after a flight attendant announced over the public address system of the aircraft the threat of removing luggage from the aircraft which did not belong in the first class cabin. If you see an inexperienced passenger placing their belongings in an overhead bin towards the front of the aircraft nowhere near their seat, do you confront them, report the incident to a flight attendant, or complacently keep quiet and let it go?
Getting through an airport security checkpoint can be half the battle, as inexperienced travelers may wait until they are at the scanner before they take out their bags of liquids, remove their shoes, place metal objects in a tray, and perform all of the other functions to be compliant with the rules imposed by the Transportation Security Administration. Do you wait patiently in line behind them until they are finally done, or do you go around and ahead of them — and if you do cut the line, do you practice proper etiquette or do you do it abruptly?
Is a crowded gate at the airport in Phoenix an appropriate place to perform yoga while awaiting your flight? FlyerTalk member cullen24 posted a video of a woman who is “half naked” while doing her yoga exercises near a corner of the gate area but quite conspicuous to the crowd of people waiting patiently for the announcement to board the aircraft. Do you report the woman to a gate agent — or do you simply look away thinking that it is no big deal?
On a flight to Orlando, FlyerTalk member houserulz77 dreaded when a family on their way to Walt Disney World was seated in the first class cabin near where he sat by a customer service agent due to irregular operations. It did not help that the mother — actually a grandmother — attempted to convince her seatmate to “join the Mile High Club” while a daughter of hers was “working” on houserulz77 as the kids were running up and down the aisle uncontrolled. What would you do if you were in a similar situation?
FlyerTalk member pinworm posted a manifesto of sorts on what inexperienced travelers should know, advising them — amongst other things — that they should spend the extra money to take a direct flight instead of turning a three-hour trip into a 28-hour trip with indirect flights; choose their seats via the Internet and print their boarding passes long before the day of travel; do not block the aisle aboard the airplane or treat flight attendants like waitresses. Do you agree or disagree with what pinworm posted?
Inexperienced travelers are not exclusive to air travel. It is more likely than not that inexperienced travelers will be the ones who are disturbing other guests in a hotel property by being noisy either in their hotel rooms or out in the hallways — whether they are partying, drunk, lascivious, or simply being immature — or by the mere act of allowing the doors to their rooms to slam shut. Do you confront them, report them to the front desk, or stay silent in the hopes that they will either eventually realize on their own accord what they are doing or tire out and go to sleep?
Despite all of the potential travails, FlyerTalk members have their traditions to celebrate Memorial Day — one of which is traveling specifically in anticipation of the increased possibility of securing a voluntary “bump” off of an airplane due to potentially oversold flights from all of the people expected to be traveling.
Another tradition is to embark on a “mileage run” to accelerate the qualification of earning elite status in a frequent flier loyalty program for the following year — and some of them can be a little different or rather crazy.
Did you know that seafood lovers take advantage of the opening of lobster shacks in Maine the week before Memorial Day? Connoisseurs head over to wine country in Oregon for the first big tasting weekend of the year. Skiing in Utah appeals to those who want their last taste of the winter sport for several months.
Whatever you decide to do and wherever you decide to go — if you decide to do anything during the Memorial Day weekend — expect crowds of people. Also expect the majority of those people to not be nearly as savvy, experienced or knowledgeable about travel as you. Despite the potential aggravation and irritation which may be caused by inexperienced travelers, patience and politeness are key in enduring what can seem like a marathon session of ignorance and inconsideration.
By the way, I am in no way ascribing responsibility and cause of the increased stresses of travel solely to inexperienced travelers. Amongst travelers who can be quite annoying and irritating is a very experienced group — although some members of this group are not experienced and have no clue — who proudly bellow “Do You Know Who I Am?” I intend to cover this particular group of travelers — known more familiarly by the acronym DYKWIA — in a future article here at The Gate.
First and foremost — or is that last but not least? — it is important to note that Memorial Day is a holiday of remembrance which honors those men and women who died while serving as part of the armed forces of the United States.
There are many, many more examples of how the actions of inexperienced travelers can impede upon the enjoyment of more experienced travelers — whether accidentally or purposely — too many to list here, in fact. What are some of your experiences with inexperienced travelers, and how did you deal with those experiences? Please be as specific and as detailed as possible, as I intend to post specific topics as separate future articles here at The Gate.
Thank you — and have a very happy Memorial Day if you celebrate it!