so you are taking a trip. here are some tips on how to pass time in the airport should you be waylaid or how to potentially set yourself up for an upgrade (hint: look sharp – it makes a difference)! also, see your “passenger bill of rights” and proper airplane etiquette – trust me, it’ll make everyone happy if we all abide by these rules.
5 Things to Do When You’re Stuck at the Airport
By ASTAR via Off track Planet
There is no getting around it: You will get stuck at an airport at some point in your travels. Instead of throwing a shit fit and kicking the nearest inanimate object, here are a few things you can do to entertain yourself.
Play Airport Gourmet
Use your meal budget to gather random items from airport food places to put together a culinary airport masterpiece. Think Chopped meets Supermarket Sweep. While this isn’t a great way to get to know local cuisine (as the airport stocks items aimed at tourists), it does take up an exorbitant amount of time. Start off with finding the perfect appetizer (perhaps a cracker and cheese combo) and move on through desert (you can melt down marshmallows with a lighter to make frosting). It will be gross, delicious and fun.
Carry a Deck of Cards
Other backpackers will most likely be stuck in your vicinity. Find one, whip out your deck of cards and learn a new game. One game OTP learned abroad is Egyptian Rat Screw (from an American but that’s not the point). Different countries play interesting card games and later, when you are no longer anxiously awaiting takeoff, you can share your vast knowledge with international hostelmates, maybe add a little booze to the card game, maybe some stripping.
Write About Your Travels
Whether you’re travel blogging or just documenting, use this downtime for your advantage while your memory of the recent places you visited is still fresh. If you can get your mind together, you can earn some cash while sitting around at the terminal. Just had a wild night in Rio? Maybe saw something incredible in Dubai? Got arrested in Singapore for smuggling poppy seed bagels (sorry)? People like Nomadic Matt, the writers at Matador and countless others have cashed in on such experiences. Starting a travel blog (or contributing to an existing one) is a great way to document your travels and maybe even make some beer money. Check out Anil Polat’s (the creator of Foxnomad, a very popular travel blog) Travel Blog Advice page to learn how to get started.
Prank Your Travel Partner
This one only applies if you happen to be stuck with a friend (or more likely a person that was a friend at some point but has been sneezing, farting and snoring in your face for a month changing his/her status to annoying acquaintance). This is what you do: go to the bathroom and come out with the look of utter shock. Say you met a guy in there that told you this airport was rigged with hidden CIA cameras, EVERYWHERE and that he said the cameras are watching the two of you specifically. This bathroom guy even told you what you were reading at the newsstand 10 minutes before you had to pee, shocking. Then sit back and watch your travel partner go apeshit with paranoia for hours. Effective, entertaining and nobody gets hurt (physically).
Drink Drink Drink
We all know time passes gently when booze are involved. The airport is well aware of this and has set up various liquoring holes to numb your waiting pain. While sipping a few brews is fine by us, getting wasted at the airport isn’t in your best interest. Sure blacking out would solve the waiting problem but more than anything, it makes you a target for petty theft and a magnet for airport security. Remember that even though you are at the airport, you’re still in a different country with varying standards of acceptance in the drunk-in-public department. Relax, just don’t be a douche.
FYI, The Best Airport to Be Stuck In…
Consider yourself lucky if you have to spend some time at Hong Kong International Airport. Unlike any other airplane receptacle in the world, this place has a 4D theater, Playstation getaway and an aviation discovery center (where you can pretend to fly a plane in their cockpit simulator). You would have to try really hard to be bored here.
Stuck is a state of mind. Your travels will always come with setbacks. Use this newly freed up time to your advantage.
looking for an upgrade? how to dress the part
Fly Guy: Do well-dressed fliers get more perks? By George Hobica, Airfarewatchdog.com
When a friend of mine checked in for a recent flight from San Francisco to Vancouver, he was surprised that the Air Canada gate agent handed him a first class boarding pass. What was so unusual about this? Several things: He had bought an economy class ticket. He rarely flies on Air Canada and thus has no frequent-flier status on the airline. Even more unusual, the flight was half empty so this wasn’t an oversell upgrade situation. So why the extra love?
Because he was wearing a suit. Yep, my pal asked the gate agent why he was so blessed and she answered, “our station manager noticed how well dressed you were and told me to upgrade you.”
I, too, was upgraded recently on a United flight from LAX to New York, and I, too, was wearing a suit (if I’m going on a business trip, I wear my suit on the plane, in part because I don’t want it to take up too much room in my carry on). I only have 80,000 lifetime miles in United’s MileagePlus program, and before you say, “Yeah, but they know who you are,” trust me, they don’t.
Not wanting to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth, I didn’t ask the gate agent why I was upgraded from a frequent-flier economy-class seat all the way through business class and up to first class. In fact, when I heard my name over the PA system my heart skipped several beats because I assumed that the flight was oversold and I was being bumped, owing to my lack of status. But I’m going to guess it was because I was the only person in the waiting area who wasn’t dressed like I was about to head off to the gym.
‘You can’t fly on Concorde! You’re not wearing a tie!’
Think this is nonsense? Well, not really. For a couple of years in the 1980’s just before they went belly up, I worked as a consultant for Eastern Airlines. As such, each month I was given a stack of flight coupons. I’d just make a reservation and hand one of these coupons over at the ticket counter and I could fly anywhere in the Eastern system for free, in first class no less. One evening I was flying to Boston and was curious to see that the agent handed me a seat in economy. “Is first class full?” I meekly inquired. “The way you’re dressed, you don’t even deserve to fly at all,” he scolded. What was my sin? I was wearing a suit and a nice pair of shoes, but had taken off my tie. Into economy I went.
Another time I was booked in business class on British Airways from Heathrow to New York. Due to an air traffic controller slowdown, my flight and virtually all others were canceled. But I convinced the company to put me on the one flight that was still operating, which happened to be on the Concorde. I approached the ticket counter and explained that I was authorized to fly supersonic. “You can’t fly on Concorde!” the agent barked at me. “You’re not wearing a tie!” True story. Luckily, this time I had a tie in my carry on. “One sec,” I replied. I ducked down behind the counter, quickly repaired my wardrobe malfunction, popped back up and said, “Can I have my boarding pass now?” And off I flew.
If we have to dress up, why don’t the passengers?
For many years, airline employees were required to dress nicely if they were flying on a pass. Women were required to wear a skirt and a blouse, and men at least a sport coat and tie, or in some cases a suit. The rules were especially strict for first class travel. No jeans. No sneakers. No tie, no service.
Although most airlines have relaxed these rules, there are a lot of employees who remember the old days. And perhaps they figure, if we had to dress well to fly, what’s up with all the passengers who get to sit in first class dressed like Richard Simmons? It’s a bit ironic that these days when you fly first class on British Airways and many airlines, they give you a pair of pajamas to change into.
And although I don’t recommend that you show up at the airport in your pj’s, it’s entirely up to you how you dress, and I do understand that flying is often uncomfortable and many folks want to make the flight as pleasant as possible.
But everything else being equal (same frequent flier status, etc.), when a flight is oversold in economy and the airline needs to upgrade someone, are they going to choose the passenger in the tank top or the one wearing the nice dress or suit? You already know the answer, (but as always, it doesn’t hurt to be extra nice to any staff you should encounter).
PASSENGERS’ AIRPLANE BILL OF RIGHTS
Article I: The right to remove shoes
Passengers shall be allowed to remove shoes from their feet, but only if the aforementioned feet don’t stink or present health risks to other passengers. The right of the passenger to go to the lavatory without shoes shall not be infringed, as it is really your own business should you want to stand in the urine of others.
Article II: Freedom from unreasonable aromatic assault
No passenger shall, in the time of flight, be subjected to unreasonable aromas, be it from powerful perfume, foods redolent of onion, or other fragrance wholly unnecessary whilst on an airplane.
Article III: The right to reasonable light
All passengers shall be allowed the right to use their own overhead light to read when the cabin lights are turned off, as that is its intended use. No passenger shall be unwillingly bothered by the thoughtless opening of window shades during this period; window seat passengers are not delegated the power to blind their fellow passengers.
Article IV: The article of reclension
A well-justified act of reclining one’s seat shall not be prohibited at all times, apart from meal time and other times specified by the flight crew. All instances of reclension shall be preceded by a rearward glance so as not to unwittingly crush the patellas or portable electronic devices of the affected passenger.
Article V: Freedom of no speech
There shall be no requirement for other passengers to listen to you drone on about your child, cat or other subject not directly germane to an immediate inflight emergency situation. The right of other passengers to give you the ‘book-off’ shall not be infringed, nor shall you assist with the answer to 14-across if unprompted.
Article VI: The right to bear armrests
In all cases where an armrest is shared by two adjacent passengers, both parties must respect the right of the other to keep the armrest down. Passengers relegated to a middle seat shall be afforded special status, and aisle and window passengers shall endeavour to accommodate.
Article VII: Conditions of passenger quarters
Passengers shall not be subject to the rubbish of others crammed thoughtlessly into seat-back pockets, or tossed onto the floor in a cavalier fashion. Chewing gum shall not be pressed to any surface affixed to an aircraft.
Article VIII: The right to heed the call of nature
A well-organised attempt to use the lavatory, being necessary for inflight calm and gastrointestinal health, shall not be impeded by aisle passengers sleeping or otherwise. The rights of others waiting to use a lavatory shall supersede the frankly ill-advised wishes of current lavatory users to waste time poking around said lavatory.
Article IX: Provisions concerning use of electronic devices
The assurance of safety shall not be infringed by the desires of others to make one last phone call, update their social network status to brag about their impending holiday, or to plant cauliflower in their virtual farm. Whilst MythBusters and others have debunked most potential dangers of using common electronic devices on planes, safety and calm shall take precedence.
Article X: Cruel and unnecessary aisle clogging
No passenger shall, in the time of disembarking, hastily grab their bag and congest the exit route before actual movement is possible. Likewise, when it comes time to exit, no passenger shall unaccountably act surprised that it is their turn to leave.
Article XI: Freedom from feral children
The right of passengers not to be kicked in the back, have their hair pulled, be presented with unasked-for mucous-moistened objects, or be otherwise assaulted by feral children shall not be infringed. Crying babies cannot be held accountable for their actions, and are therefore exempt.
Article XII: The right of reasonable alcohol consumption
No person, apart from those who are drunk and obnoxious or minors, shall be prohibited from imbibing an alcoholic beverage should they feel that it is a good idea, despite all indications to the contrary.
Article XIII: The right to private media
Reading over others’ shoulders shall not be inflicted, unless achieved in a particularly stealthy fashion causing no annoyance to the book holder. The same shall be true for films and other non-private media.