Dec. 21st, 2006

what i am up to )
Friday at work is going to be hell. The airline employees on the shuttle bus were already groaning about it: there's supposed to be East Coast "weather" and we just don't want to deal with it. We all agreed: People who travel this time of year are trash, and we don't want to deal with them. One gate attendant recounted how, when she left her post to go help a 95-year-old woman carry her suitcase to get onto the flight, she had three separate people express disgust that it was taking Grandma so long to board the plane. "Come the fuck on, people!" she recounted wanting to scream. "I'm helping an old lady with her suitcase. Merry fucking Christmas to you too!" (She went on parenthetically to the other gate attendants, "These people are trash. They fly once a year and other than that they never leave their couches. They're fucking trash and they shouldn't be out in public with manners like that." Which, I thought, considering, was rather a good point.)

So, my public service post of the season:
HOW TO TRAVEL AT CHRISTMAS
Wear comfortable shoes you can easily remove. You WILL be asked to remove your shoes, regardless of type, at the security checkpoint; it IS a new regulation.

Another new regulation: bring all your important carry-on liquids in containers of no more than 3 oz., and put them all into a clear Ziploc baggie that you can pull out and send separately through the metal detector. This isn't optional.

Do not argue or bargain with TSA's security checkpoint people. Don't say, "They didn't make me [take that off/remove that/whatever] last time!" because regulations have probably changed in the interim, or perhaps the agent was less attentive last time. It's honestly not personal. They are minions and have almost no real power, and also they are probably very tired. If they tell you to do something, it is probably because someone gave them a hassle for not making others do it in the past. So just do it. They aren't picking on you. They don't have time. They're not really all that smart either, so even if it really is a conspiracy, they're certainly not in on it knowingly.

Do not argue or bargain with the gate agent. She can't make the plane come in or leave on time. It is nearly as big a hassle for them when the plane is delayed as it is for you. And when they say "weather" when there's not a cloud in the sky, please understand, it is not the gate agent who is lying. She knows it is a lie. But it is not her lie. It is whatever the destination airport has told her, and they just pick at random and make the gate agents parrot it. Yes, there are a lot of lying liar asshole idiots out there, but the gate agent isn't one of them, and she is as powerless as you. She will do what she can, and it is true that sometimes squeaky wheels get grease-- but sometimes, squeaky wheels also get stuck in middle seats, so do keep that in mind. What little power she has is petty power indeed, but important.

In the bar, please do not wait until the last second to pay your check, especially if your plane is on a nebulous delay. When the gate agent comes in and says "FLIGHT N TO X IS BOARDING NOW", and you ask for your check, the other fifteen people on that same flight will have just asked me for their checks as well, and the one who's the least of an asshole is likely to get it first. So why not just get one last drink, pay your check, and if they announce another delay, start a new tab?

Most of this boils down to one thing that cannot be repeated enough: DO NOT FREAK OUT AND BLAME PEOPLE FOR THINGS THAT AREN'T THEIR FAULT. The people whose fault it is that you are having a lousy Christmas travel experience along with fifteen million other grumpy travelers are NOT the people who are there doing their frazzled best to help you. Save a scrap of your remaining patience for whoever the person is who you are directly dealing with, and you will be rewarded. I promise.

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dragonlady7

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