Having done some traveling recently, I’ve been thinking about the rules I would enforce if I were king. Although there are many, five come readily to mind:
1. Don’t bring luggage you can’t lift. Saturday I saw a common sight: a petite woman struggling with a monster bag on the baggage carousel. She grabbed the bag, could not lift it off the conveyor, didn’t let go, and plowed into the people next to her until someone helped out. This will no longer be tolerated! If you are going to check a bag, do a test at home and confirm that can actually lift it come baggage claim time. If it is a carry-on, be sure that you can lift it overhead without it falling and knocking out an innocent fellow passenger.
2. Respect my baggage claim space. Nothing bugs me more than finding a place around the baggage claim carousel that provides good sight lines, then having multiple johnny-come-latelys wedge in front of me and block my view so that I can’t see my bag until it appears, in motion, in the tiny gap right in front of me. To quote Moe Howard of Three Stooges fame, when it comes to baggage claim, “Spread out!”
3. You must take a long, hot shower before you travel by air. Let’s be reasonable. You are going to be in very close proximity to total strangers, so let’s respect their interest in not being assaulted by your unseemly body odors. I don’t care if you felt that you had to get in a workout right before the flight. And the penalty for violating this rule would be tripled on a trans-Atlantic flight.
4. No abrupt stopping is permitted when you are walking through airports. Unless you are in the gate seating area, recognize that everyone around you is in motion. If everyone maintains their pace, the traveler rushing to get to their gate can calculate gaps, adjust their gait accordingly, and weave through the traffic. But if a family walking four across suddenly stops in the middle of traffic, havoc ensues. Treat the walkway areas like an interstate. If you must stop, first move off to the side.
5. Keep your charming kids to yourself. I like kids, I really do. I just don’t enjoy misbehaving rug rats in the gate area when I am waiting for my flight after a tiring day. On Saturday I was plugged into a charging station when a five-year-old came over to examine things in the uncomfortable, up-close-and-personal, touchy way that is common to five-year-olds. Give me a break! No one wants some hyped-up kid bugging them or racing around the gate area, shrieking while they play a game. I can tolerate crying kids — everyone knows that happens to overtired youngsters — but what really gripes my cookies is inattentive parents who don’t make their kids sit down or get up themselves and walk around with a child who has ants in his pants and can’t sit still.