As some of you know, my day job requires a lot of travel so I spend much of my time at Newark airport. I usually fly on commuter planes – one seat on the left and two seats on the right or two and two. Cramped. Many of the other passengers are also business travelers and I see the same faces on these flights.
Spending so much time flying has allowed me to learn quite a few tricks that make the experience as painless as possible. For example, I now board in Group 2. I know that is after Group 1 and before Group 3. So when the gate attendee announces they will begin boarding the plane, I know that there’s no need for me to rush to the line. I’ve also learned that if there’s no plane at the jet way, I can’t board. No one can. There’s limited overhead room on the small planes, so I can’t expect to bring my carry-on inside the plane with me. I’m better off checking it at the gate. Airline employees have no control over the weather and they can’t force aircraft to travel faster.
You would think the myriad of other frequent business travelers would figure out these tricks as well and that they’d get used to the ins and outs of being in the airport or on the plane. You would think that gaining “status” would also lead to traveler wisdom. It doesn’t. Business travelers with status are often spoiled and behave like bratty school children.
Case in point: Yesterday, before taking off, the flight attendant asked a man in first class to please turn off his iPad. The man ignored the request. The flight attendant asked again. He was ignored again. The flight attendant went on to make the same polite request more than five times before the passenger finally obliged. He was in first class. I had seen him flying this trip quite a few times. This wasn’t the first time he had heard that all electronics need to be turned off during takeoff and landing. Yet, he proceeded to stick his fingers in his ears and mock the man who was just doing his job. We can debate the need for the rule, but the attendants don’t make the rules. They’re merely asked by their employers and by regulators to enforce the rules. Being a baby does nothing to force change. Sitting in fist class doesn’t give you privilege to break the rules. Sorry, Alec.
There’s one particular frequent flyer that we’ve deemed the disgruntled business traveler. I’ve seen him argue with an old woman over his being in the priority line before her. I’ve seen him pound his feet and pout when a storm delayed our flight by 30 minutes. He even threw crumpled tissues at another sleeping, snoring passenger. Tissue pelting didn’t stop the snoring. There’s no need for this.
So, to all my fellow business travelers, think before you act. Remember that your ticket is for one ADULT round-trip fare. Act accordingly.