maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question.

W.I.N. Wednesday: Pay Attention Please - Part 2

Last week’s post addressed a number of areas where I asked you to please pay attention during your holiday air travels. After that post a friend who is a commercial airline pilot sent me the following message with four important points I missed in the original post:

Amen, Brian! And thank you, thank you, thank you for this PSA!

I might add:

  1. Pay attention to the flow of traffic in the airport. Don't be "that guy" who rapidly stops or changes direction in the middle of the flow, and balls everything up;

  2. Either walk, or check your texts, but please don't do both and jam up the flow of traffic with your slow, meandering walk that looks like a drunk driver swerving across all lanes;

  3. And please, pay attention to the people around you! Especially when you're all bunched up in the security queue, or outside on the curb in the loading zone--the "non-sterile" side of the airport is the softest target.

  4. In light of me kicking three drunks off the airplane last night:  Pay attention to the amount of drinking your fellow passengers are doing in the bar before flight. You don't want to be trapped in a metal tube with an angry drunk! Say something to airline personnel if you have a concern that someone might be drunk. 

As I reflected on these very important additions I came up with a few more items to add to the Pay Attention list:

  • Pay attention to the inflight instructions from the pilot. They are responsible for the aircraft and everyone on board. If they ask you to stay in your seat with your seatbelt fastened, plan pay attention. That means they are expecting turbulence and want you, and everyone else on the plane to be safe. If they ask the flight attendants to take their seats mid flight it means they are expecting severe turbulence.

  • Pay attention to the directions from the flight attendants. They are there for your safety and the safety of everyone on board. When they ask you to put your phone and other devices into airplane mode, put up your tray table, stow your carryon bags and fasten your seatbelt there is a reason so please pay attention. And no, you are not special and exempt from the rules. 

  • Pay attention to your kids, where they are and what they are doing. I know you think they are angels, they are really cute and you love them dearly. Other travellers however, may not share your sentiments when they trip over your kids or have to swerve around your kids as they are trying to get to their gate to catch a flight.

  • Pay attention when you book your flights to the amount of time between connecting flights. 30 minutes is rarely enough time to deplane and get to your next gate before boarding closes (which is 10 minutes before departure). It requires that your flight is on time, or early, and that your next gate is directly beside the gate you arrive at. There are too many things that can cause flight delays, especially in the winter months. If you are flying through the hub airports for the airlines, which you almost always are, they are large, major airports and your arrival and departure gates will inevitably be in separate terminals and at the opposite ends of the airport.

  • Pay attention to the weight restrictions for carryon bags. The fact that you cannot lift the bag to put it in an overhead bin is a clue it is too heavy and should have been checked.

  • Pay attention to which boarding group you are in.

  • Pay attention to announcements at the gate where the gate agents offer to check your carryon bags through to your final destination at no charge (especially if you are in one of the last groups to board the plane). I know it adds to the cost of the flight to pay to check bags, unless you are flying Southwest, and that is why you chose to carry on everything you are taking with you. When they check your bag(s) for free at the gate it saves you the hassle of trying to find overhead bin space, which usually does not exist for the last one or two groups to board the plan. It also saves you the hassle of hauling that bag, or bags, on multiple fights and through airports. It may add a few minutes at the end of your trip while you wait for your bag, but it might save you a lot of hassle and headaches during the trip.

  • If you join the Nexus, Trusted Traveller or TSA Pre-Approved program pay attention to the information on what you can leave on your person and what you can leave in your bag. It defeats the purpose if you are holding up the line taking off your light jacket, belt and shoes and taking your computer and other items out of your bag when you do not have to. Pay attention to any nuances at the airport security as some smaller airports have slightly different systems.

  • Pay attention to the information that is widely available as to what you can take in your carryon bag and what you cannot. Pay attention to the size of liquids you can take and how they need to be packaged and displayed. Pay attention to what you have to take out of your carryon bag at security and put in a bin.

  • Pay attention to what is in your carryon bag. If it has been a while since you travelled or other people have used that back pack, or you used it to go hiking or camping make sure you throughly search the bag. That folding knife from your last hike, that ammunition from your trip to the range or that bear spray from your camping trip may get you in a lot of trouble at security.

  • Pay attention to the list of food and items you cannot take through Customs.

  • Pay attention to what you need to declare to Customs going to another country or coming back home from your trip. Follow the rules and do no lie to the Customs officers. They are good people doing a very difficult job. The rules are in place for a reason. 

I know this seems like a lot of things to pay attention to. It is. Air travel has gotten significantly more complicated over the years. Paying attention will help take some of the stress, hassle and headaches out of the trip. It will also help to help prevent avoidable delays and enhance the chances of you getting to your destination on time and in a frame of mind that will allow you to enjoy the purpose of your travel.

Take care.

Brian Willis



Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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