How to not be a douchebag when travelling (with some help from George Clooney)

Have any of you guys seen the George Clooney movie “Up in the Air”? I’m going to be completely honest: I haven’t. And when I asked around my office about the movie, the general consensus is that I’m missing out because the movie is amazing. So it’s now on my Netflix list to watch, hopefully tonight, but my Netflix list is kind of long so you never know. The reason I’m bringing this movie up though, is that I saw an interview on YouTube with the beautiful George during one of my late night YouTube sessions, and he was talking about his character’s 11 rules for air travel and they made so much sense to me!! I really liked them, and I feel like more people need to be made aware of them so that people stop being douchebags when they travel. I’m going to list them below, with a description of my own interpretation. And yep, I’m going to be that person – talking about something from a movie I haven’t even seen.

1. On approach, consider yourself already flying.
From the second you begin your journey to the airport, start to behave like you’re already travelling. Be considerate. Everyone you encounter on your way to the plane is pretty much in the same boat as you (i.e. about to travel somewhere or involved in some form of the travel experience) so you really don’t need to make yourself seem more important than them or make their lives harder. Help people with bags if they look like they need it, don’t block the entire path on an escalator, and don’t snap at people in the check in lines. Basically – be a nice normal person, don’t be an arsehole.

2. Check the kitchen sink in.
I’ve actually written about this particular topic before because it makes me so mad. People that insist on taking everything they own on board a plane are the people I hate most in life. Check things in! I can understand that some people are scared of luggage getting lost, but really – you hear about luggage getting lost because people like to publicise the bad things, you don’t hear about the millions of cases where luggage made it there safely because good stories don’t garner interest. Taking everything you own onto the plane makes other passengers uncomfortable. You knock into them in the aisle when you’re embarking and disembarking, and you also more than likely take up other people’s space with your oversized crap. So don’t be one of those people who brag about taking more than the normal allowance on to the plane, just check your stuff in!

3. You know there is security to go through – be prepared.
Security at an airport is a certainty in life, just like tax and death. So please don’t be one of those people who bitch about it continuously. You know it’s going to happen, and you also know there’s probably going to be some kind of a delay with it, so give yourself appropriate time. Even if it does seem to take longer than expected, just breathe and go with it. If you stand in line, ranting and raving, you’re only going to work yourself up in to a negative state of mind. That negative state of mind is then going to influence your emotions for probably the next few hours, and potentially ruin your trip. The mind is a powerful thing, if you keep your mind calm – I promise you the overall experience will be better for it.

4. Once through, keep going through.
For the love of god, once you’re through security, keep walking. Go to the nearby chair section to put your shoes on. Don’t stand in the way of the queue and security, if you do – you are causing a delay similar to the delay that was probably frustrating you in the queue 20 minutes earlier. Just get through, get to a lounge, and do not hang around the security area.

5. The lounge is for lounging, not camping.
I’ve spent my fair share of time in airport lounges over the last 10 or so years, and it’s kind of funny to see just how at home people make themselves. The strangest thing I’ve ever seen was a girl lying on the floor waxing her legs (god bless the Las Vegas International Airport). That right there is a prime example to me of taking the ‘make yourself at home’ saying too far. You have the right to make yourself comfortable because, quite frankly, layovers suck. But you don’t have the right to make yourself comfortable in a way that makes other people uncomfortable. So keep that in mind with your actions. You don’t want to star in another travellers horror airport stories for the remainder of your life, so act in a way that displays common courtesy. Have a sleep on a chair, but don’t put your 10 other things over the chairs next to you. Take your big jacket off, and maybe even your shoes, but leave socks on. Don’t unpack everything you own out onto the floor just so you can repack it. Basically – respect your surroundings. This goes for the furniture as well as the other passengers.

6. Boarding is a team sport.
Believe it or not, you and the other passengers are all on the same team. You all have the same end goal. So act like it! Boarding the plane is such a big part of the journey, everyone’s rustling around to get on board and get seated and make sure they’ve got everything, just like you will be. So board calmly. Don’t rush, don’t knock into people, don’t cut into lines, and don’t be rude to the boarding staff.

7. Backpack whackers.
Backpack whackers suck. These are the people who have refused to check their luggage through, so they’ve got these giant packs on their back and seem to lose all sense of their personal size and space. It’s like the bigger the backpack, the more likely someone is to forget they have one on, and then try to wedge through small spaces and whack other passengers with their pack in the process. God I hate these people. If you have a backpack, don’t wear it when you’re walking down the aisles in the plane either. Carry it in front of you, that way you aren’t hitting the already seated passengers behind you every time you turn to see if you’ve reached your seat number.

8. Seating civilly.
This one is the one I’m a little 50/50. If you’re on an international flight, you’re going to be next to someone for quite a long time so do the polite thing and say hi. Introduce yourself. You don’t have to have a giant conversation with them, but at least acknowledge their existence. I say that I’m 50/50 on this because I know for a fact that I’ve ignored people I’m sitting next to before. I can see how rude it is though, and I’d like to say I’ve learnt from this, but there’s a fair chance I will do this one again in the future.

9. Seating rights.
Think about your seat before you book it. If you’re the type of person with a weak bladder or your legs are prone to cramps, meaning you have to be out of your seat a lot – get an aisle seat. You may want a window seat, but then you’re making the trip difficult for others when you have to climb over them every half an hour. If you’re travelling with friends, book seats together, don’t just expect people to want to swap. If you plan on taking some form of sleeping medication and will be knocked out for the entire trip, definitely get a window seat. That way you don’t have people climbing over you awkwardly so as not to wake you, and you don’t have the stewardess leaning over you to hand your row-mates food or drink. And this one is a little sensitive, but I’ll say it anyway: if you’re a bigger person and you know you can’t fit into the one seat, order two. Or upgrade to business where the seats are bigger. Don’t force other passengers to have to put up with your body’s spillage into their area.

10. Don’t recline.
You hate it when the person in front you reclines, so don’t do it to other people. This ones super simple. Just don’t do it.

11. The great escape.
So the time has FINALLY come where the plane has landed and you get to disembark. While your head may be screaming at you to screw everyone else over and get out quick, please remember to be a nice human being for a bit longer. Be patient. Don’t hit people with your bags when you get them from the overhead locker. Help others with their bags if they’re struggling. Let people ahead of you out of their seats. You don’t have first priority to get off the plane, so don’t act like it. And if you know your disembarking from the plane will be difficult (i.e. you’ve got kids or bulky bags), wait til the end please.

The common thread with these rules is basically just don’t be a douchebag. I think some people get so caught up in the excitement and the adrenaline of travelling that they forget basic manners. I’ve witnessed some disgusting behaviour, such as those mentioned above, when travelling and it frustrates me to no end.
If anyone’s seen this movie, let me know what you think! Or if there’s any rules on here you disagree with, let me know why. I’d love to hear other perspectives on this. Thank you for actually getting to the end of this one, it’s a bit longer than I normally do! If you liked what you read though, please subscribe, I generally post something new every Friday.

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