Having recently returned from a holiday sojourn I am dismayed at the lack of etiquette among today's traveler's. To put it bluntly traveler's have become rude, yes, that's right, just plain downright rude! It's truly astounding the lack of travel etiquette that exists today. I am hopeful that traveler's will read this and take it in the spirit in which it is being given, that being to make your vacation, and the vacations of those around you, better. I am certain that many traveler's reading this will be offended. I am hopeful that you will be so offended that you will realize your attitudes need to change AND make the necessary changes so that you treat fellow traveler's in the same manner that you want to be treated.
These transgressions are not age, sex, or nationality relevant. They are done everyday by people of all ages, both sexes, and all nationalities. Please take a few moments to read through the following examples of my observations. I think that many readers will agree with the observations.
Cell phones: Do we really need to be told that our phones have to be off when we leave the jetway and our flight is taxi'ing down the runway for takeoff? I recently sat next to a man who felt the need to make a call after the door closed and the plane backed away from the jetway and forced a steward to pointedly request he turn off his cell phone, after the announcement to turn them off. And what was so important? Well, the call was to his office just to check in and let them know that he would be out of touch for the next few hours because the plane he's on would be in the air? C'mon, give me a break, I think his office knew his schedule and that he would be on a plane and out of touch, don't you?
Carry-on suitcases: Seriously, whether you're a man or woman do you really need to return home from a trip with a carry-on suitcase, 2 large shopping bags, a purse and a laptop case? Seriously? And why does the airline, in these instances, not enforce their own regulations of one carry-on and one purse or briefcase? By not checking any of your items all your doing is delaying the boarding process and taking up more than your fair share of overhead space. In other words being rude to your fellow traveler's.
Elevators: This is really annoying because it happens everyday whether traveling or normally during everyday life at home. Proper elevator etiquette requires that when the elevator doors open all people waiting to get on are supposed to wait another few seconds so those on the elevator can get off. In case you haven't figured it out yet, you cannot get on a fully packed elevator unless someone gets off. Is everyone in such a rush that they cannot wait 10 extra seconds for the elevator to empty? I recently was getting off an elevator and when I was walking through the doors a woman came straight at me right through the center of the doorway. I said excuse me and her response was "that's okay". What??? I'm trying to get off the elevator and she was taking up the entire doorway to get on. I stopped and explained why I said excuse me and boy was she offended. It had never even crossed her mind to let anyone off the elevator before she forced her way on.
Walking: This one is really loaded. Every single day people walk down the street, in stores, hotels, everywhere, without looking where they're going. We've all heard the news story about the woman who fell into a construction hole because she was busy texting rather than watching where she was walking. There's always seems to be something more important that keeps people from watching where they're walking. And when they run into you it's your fault because, they claim, you weren't watching out for them. How many people reading this have either been forced to stop short or actually been run into simply because someone expected you to be looking out for them? Now this may seem a bit trite to some but people need to be watchful of where they are walking. It seems people think it's okay to ignore their surroundings, pay no attention to what they're doing when they're walking, and run into others. C'mon now, open your eyes.
Families walking together: Parents need to spend time doing some parenting while they are on vacation. It is not your fellow traveler's who should be watching your children, and besides it is YOUR legal responsibility to look after them. Recently I had the "opportunity" to see a 3 or 4 year old run out into a busy hotel aisleway into someone. He ran into an older woman's leg knocking her over. The child fell down on his behind, and of course he started to cry. Everyone started to look for the child's parents. It took several minutes for them to show up and when they did they wanted to know if the lady hurt their son and called for security. Excuse me? The parents were nowhere to be found at first, and they certainly weren't watching out for their child, and they have the audacity to blame this poor passerby. It was a funny sight as the woman explained to security what happened, along with several other people who had seen the whole thing and verified her story. The parents wanted to forget the whole issue at that point. Of course they did, the woman could have demanded social services get involved and that could have led to criminal charges against the parents.
People with disabilities: I am a disabled Anerican and fully believe that everyone is entitled to travel, including those of us who unfortunately may have to use a scooter, wheelchair, cane, or crutches. I'm a firm believer that all people should get out and travel, including those with disabilities. But just because you use a motorized scooter or wheelchair does not mean that you have the right of way and the right to run me over, especially if I am walking with a cane or crutches. Do not try to drive faster than the walking traffic, if you need to make a wide angle turn, wait for an opportunity, do not just push the electric pedal and send pedestrians scattering as you mow them down. On my most recent vacation in Las Vegas I watched in horror as a woman on a scooter literally mowed down another woman at the buffet line. She didn't stop to ask if the woman was ok. She very slowly backed up and then very slowly tried to slip away and leave the buffet. Luckily a number of patrons saw the "accident" and we requested she be stopped and held until the matter could be sorted out. As it turned out the woman she ran into required medical assistance since she suffered a broken ankle. Please get out there and travel, but please make certain that you are being thoughtful of those around you.
Sick people: I am always amazed that people choose not to take care of themselves and spread their illness to everyone around them. I'm sorry that you have become sick on your vacation but there is no excuse for you to spread your germs to the rest of us. Stay in your hotel room and take care of yourself. It is amazing the number of sick people who go out and continue to sightsee and cough all over the rest of us. If you are sick and feel the need to continue to get out then remember, our mother's were right about many things, one of them being to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. No one likes to have anyone cough in their face so why do people continually do so? Cover your mouths with your hand, a tissue, or an old fashioned handkerchief, but please cover your mouths.
Airlines: Airlines need to maintain a certain etiquette to the traveler's who they call customer. Take for instance a recent flight I was on. I followed the rules and checked my bag before going through security. I paid the baggage fee just for the pleasure of not having to lug a bag with me through the airport. Now I know many passenger's do not want to pay the extra fee and that's OK. But if the airline is going to charge a fee to check luggage they should not announce at the gate, regardless of the reason, that they will check anyone's luggage through to their final destination and there will not be any fee required. Why did they not announce this at the check in area for that flight? The reason they did this was that it was a full flight and they wanted to get everyone on board as quickly as possible and they expected the number of carry-on's people had would delay boarding. They also expected they did not have enough overhead room to accomodate all the bags and this would delay the flight even further. But did they just figure this out shortly before takeoff? Did they not know this earlier in the day when people were checking in? Airlines should treat all customers the same and if they offer to check bags for some at the gate for free they should then refund everyone else's fee, on that flight. C'mon it's just good policy for all businesses today to be doing customer service rather than just talking about it. This is a great example of non-existent customer service. Here was a planeload of people that would have have a positive talking point about the airline when they got home but all the airline did was annoy many who paid the fee by checking others bags for free.
There are many more than I'll be discussing in the future. Please forward me your pet peeve traveler's rules of etiquette. Please send me any etiquette tips you would like to see discussed in the future. Your comments, favorable or otherwise, will be discussed in future articles.
For answers to your travel questions contact me at TheVacationTripper@live.com. Check out my blog at thevacationtripper.wordpress.com