DEBORAH CROMBIE: Between book tour, a trip to the UK, and author events, it seems like I've spent the last two months on a plane or in an airport. I think I deserve an airline traveler's gold star--or at least admittance to every airline frequent flyer's club.
But since no one has offered me those perks (unless, of course, I want to pay for an upgrade) I am going to offer you, dear readers, a few of my favorite airline travel tips.
-If you are going to be cooped up in very close proximity to a couple of hundred people for a considerable length of time, do, please, take a shower before you leave for the airport. Your fellow travelers will thank you. (And don't forget to brush your teeth.)
-When going through security, have your ID ready along with your boarding pass. Otherwise we will all wait while you rummage for that elusive driver's license.
-Do take off your watch, that clunky jewelry, and your belt BEFORE you get to the scanner. Otherwise we will all wait while you do so.
-If your flight lands behind schedule and you have reached your final destination, please let the people who are trying to make connections off the plane first. A few more minutes won't kill you, and your baggage won't have reached the carousel anyway.
-Do help your fellow passengers get their luggage in the overheads, especially if you are a big, tall guy. Nobody wants a suitcase on their head.
Which brings me to the
-Do NOT try to cram an oversize bag into the overhead compartment. You are not a magician. It will not shrink. The flight attendants will have to take your luggage to the front and valet check it. We will all wait while they do so.
-I know sometimes you really do have to take a snack on the plane. Most airlines don't even give you cheap pretzels these days, much less peanuts. But, please, hold off on the burritos, the Big Macs, and the Chinese take-aways. We will all smell your food. Again. And again. And again. (It's called recirculated air.) Stick to a sandwich or a muffin. (I might mention that it's a really good idea to forego the burrito BEFORE you get on the plane as well. There are consequences which your fellow passengers would rather not share...)
-The same goes for using perfume and hairspray while on board. Remember that recirculated air thing? Serious yuck.
-Do not shave, take a sponge bath, repair your make-up, or do anything else in the airplane toilet that takes half an hour when the plane is starting to descend and there are ten people waiting in the aisle who are desperate to pee.
-Oh, and one more thing. If the flight is a bit bumpy, please don't clutch the armrests, make the sign of the cross, or moan, "Oh, my God, we're going to die." Any of the above tend to make your fellow passengers uncomfortable.
What about you, fellow REDs and dear readers? What are your air travel pet peeves?
And don't forget to have a nice flight!