Travel Tips: Airport Etiquette

Lately, I have found myself spending a lot of time in airports/on planes. These opportunities for travel have not only been fun, but also taught me an awful lot about travel etiquette. With all I have learned, I decided to write a follow-up to “The Do’s and Don’ts of Airplane Travel” to give you a few more travel tips!

Photo Credit: NT News

Photo Credit: NT News

  1. Be prepared for the security line. We know it is coming… The moment you have to go through the metal detector/scanner, so why not be ready for it? Often times, the security lines can be long leaving us to stand there with nothing to do. Rather than using our phones and strolling along until we reach the scanner, let’s use this time to start preparing for the security check.
    • Throw away your water bottle/beverage of choice.
    • Remove your coat, sweater, scarf, etc. and hold it while you walk.
    • Take off your heavy jewelry/watch and your belt.
      • Personally, I leave a small jewelry bag in my purse or carry-on when I travel so when I get to security I can put all my things in that little bag and secure it in my own carry-on instead of using the small tray/dish security provides. Also, this allows me to go straight from security to my gate without having to stop to put everything back on, I can do it at my gate instead. Travel Tip: A small plastic bag works just as well 😉
    • Have your ID and boarding pass out so you can hand it to the TSA Agent right away.
    • If you are traveling with a laptop, put it in an easily accessible place so you can take it out quickly for the security scan.
    • When you get to the scanner, do not rush the people in front of you. Be patient and wait to place your things on the scanner belt.
    • Once you have cleared the scanner, pick up your things and step aside. In most airports, they have benches very close to security so you can put all your belongings away and accessories back on you.
  2. Do Not Hog the Plug! You know which one I mean… The incredibly coveted electrical plug to charge your phone, iPad/tablet, laptop, etc.
    • First and foremost, be sure to charge your electronics before leaving home. This will prevent you from having to search the terminal for an electrical outlet or charging station.
    • If you really need to charge your phone/electronics before your flight, use any free plug you can find or wait patiently for one to become available. If you have to wait, stand near the charging station and wait your turn. Do not stare down all the people currently using the charging station hoping someone will give up.
    • When using the plug/charging station, do not use the electronic device you are charging unless it is an emergency or absolutely necessary. If other people are waiting, using your device while it charges only makes the process take longer. Be considerate of the others in line.
    • Use one plug and one plug only! Do not plug-in your personal phone, work phone, iPad/tablet, and laptop all at the same time. It is inconsiderate to those who are waiting. NOTE: If you have a plug that turns into an extension and has 4 plug-ins then this is OK.
    • If you have a plug that works as an extender and you are not using all of the extra outlets, offer it to other people!
      • Sparkle of the Week: While in the airport last week, a very nice woman had been waiting to use a plug. When it came to her turn, she had an extender and graciously offered the extra outlets to those around her. Kudos to this woman for being a friendly traveler and a genuinely kind person!!
    • If people are waiting, you do not need to charge your phone to 100%. Get your battery to a decent level then let the next person use the plug.
  3. Open seating. It is totally up to you!
    • If you are traveling with other people who have a boarding number after your own, it is OK to try to save seats. Simply place a coat, purse, or small bag in the seat you hope to save.
      • If someone asks for the seat, kindly say, “I was hoping to save this for my friend/spouse/parent, do you mind looking for another seat?” Normally, people will be understanding especially if there are still plenty of seats left.
      • If the airplane is filling up and the flight attendant has started making announcements to “take any seat you see,” it is time to give up your seat saving mission. You do not want to be the person who delayed your flight because you forced others to play musical chairs until your friend/spouse/parent got on the plane.
    • If you see someone traveling with an individual who needs assistance (a parent and younger child or someone with an elderly person), but they cannot find a seat together and you have an open seat next to you… Offer your seat to them.
  4. Check before you recline! Before you recline your chair, make sure the person behind you is not getting something from under your seat or using the tray table. If they are, simply say, “Excuse me, I’m going to recline my chair, I just want to let you know.”

What travel etiquette do’s and don’ts have you witnessed? Are there travel situations you do not know how to navigate?

With these new tips, I hope you will be an even more polite and considerate traveler!

Happy Travels!

Sparkle On,

Alexandra

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How to Have a Friendly Debate

I recently had a difference of opinion on a “manners moment” with someone close to me. We both believed different actions should have been taken and that got us to talking about seeing other people’s points of view. As a result, we had a casual, light-hearted banter to present our own viewpoint. After our discussion, I got to thinking… How do you have a “friendly debate” without it turning into an all-out brawl where every stakeholder has dug in and refuses to agree or see another opinion?

***NOTE: This post is indeed about “friendly debates” and not about matters of great importance such as financial issues, health matters, family decisions, political debates, romantic relationships, or business deals. However, some of these tips may help!***

  1. Keep the Topic “Light”
    • A common saying is, “Never discuss money, politics, or personal life (aka sex).” If a topic you are uncomfortable with gets brought up, politely decline to engage in the conversation.
    • Ensure the conversation/debate stays on topic and does not turn into a discussion about other issues or previous grievances.
    • Laugh about things, laugh at yourself! Sometimes when you get into a debate and outlandish ideas are being discussed, you have to take a step back and just laugh at the crazy debate you have somehow ended up having.
      • NOTE: If someone is strongly expressing an opinion, be cautious about laughing. Some people get extremely offended if they feel like they are being laughed at or mocked for their viewpoint.
  2. Present Your View Strongly, Yet Democratically
    • If you are expressing something you truly care about, ensure you express that sentiment while still making it OK for the other person to potentially disagree with you.
    • Do not force your opinion/viewpoint on the other person.
    • Be knowledgeable of what you are discussing. If you are not knowledgeable on the subject, politely decline the conversation and never make up information you are unsure is true.
    • Never act like you are better than the other person’s opinion and be sure you are truly ready to hear their side.
  3. What Do You Do If Someone Offends You?
    • First, ask him/her to clarify what they meant by the comment. Sometimes, people say something without thinking about how it will come across or they simply use the wrong words. Before getting upset with someone, be sure you have the same understanding of what was said.
    • After clarifying, if what was said truly offends you, stand up for yourself. Be confident in yourself yet gracious when you say, “Excuse me, the comment you just made is extremely offensive/hurtful/unkind of you to say.”
    • Explain why. It does not have to be a lengthy or personal description, but explaining why something is offensive/hurtful in a polite way allows the other person to learn how to correct the behavior in the future.
    • If the person refuses to back-down from the comment, it is time to end the conversation.
  4. When It Is Over, It Is OVER.
    • After both parties have described their thoughts/viewpoints allow each other to ask and answer questions.
    • Once the conversation is done, move onto something else. Do not continue to rehash the same argument.
    • Do not be the person who has to “have the last word.” No one likes someone who always has to prove a point or have the last say on a matter.

Often times, you most likely will not come to a solid answer/compromise. What is important to recognize is that you have the ability to not only standup for your own opinions/viewpoints democratically, but you also have the ability respect for others who may be different than you. Many of these “friendly debates” will teach you something new and push you to think in ways or consider things you have not. Just remember to keep an open-mind and always be cordial during a difference of opinion.

Sparkle On,

Alexandra