After twenty-three years as an international flight attendant and having lived and traveled on my own for many years, traveling has become second nature. However, it is not the same for many travelers, and it’s best to remember that airplanes are modes of transportation. Not all travelers have similar reasons for travel, so here are five of my tips to keep you grounded while traveling.
1. Unless you are traveling on a private jet, chances are the people around you aren’t traveling for the same reason. Your exuberance on your travel plans may be a bit annoying to your fellow traveler who may be going to a loved one’s funeral. Be mindful of others and pay attention to those around you.
2. Airline agents and flight attendants are people too. They are not there to serve you literally; their primary purpose is customer service and your safety. Everything else in between is simply a service provided by the airline or the flight attendant or gate agent’s kindness. Be respectful, and they will respect you in turn.
3. There is a saying, “you catch more flies with honey.” Flying often is a stressful time, and many people may act in ways that they usually would not. Offer grace to those who you may find annoying or intrusive. Many times, they are simply nervous and trying to find commonality with you. Remember that you probably will never see this person again, or they may live in your neighborhood.
4. Say thank you. It seems simple but showing appreciation can give you the most pleasant experience. I walk with Starbucks gift cards loaded with five or ten dollars. If an agent, flight attendant, or airport worker does something to be appreciated, show your appreciation. Remember that although you may do this a few times a year, airport workers do this every day and enjoy the recognition.
5. Be kind; it is merely the most gracious and inexpensive way to be a good human and an excellent traveler.
These ideas are not unique, but I know they are impactful after spending years in the travel industry. Do you have any tips? I’d love to hear them.