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Thursday, June 04, 2015

10 bad habits air travelers should avoid from next flight!

Air travel has become very common but unfortunately the habits followed in Bus and train is carried forward to air travel. There are some mannerisms we observe among travelers, sometimes we ourselves might be party to it. Here's my list of 10 habits we should avoid, right from our next flight.

1. Arriving late and fighting with counter staff: 
AirAsia flight landing at Chennai airport
There’re some pre-defined and well known cut off time as to how late passengers can be issued a boarding pass at check in counter. Factor this time, factor for traffic jams and keep some buffer while planning your airport transfer. You can save some time if you do web check-in etc- Make use of that. All airlines have SMS/App alert facilities for delays – make use of that. Arriving late and fighting with counter staff to let you in is not right. Some airlines like Air India are introducing policy to penalize ground staff who cause delays. It is not fair on rest of the 300 passengers to wait for few who came very late. Reach airport on time.

2. Fighting with counter staff over excess luggage: 
You want cheap ticket and want to carry your world with you- at no extra cost. Your ticket has clear definition of allowed baggage weights and limitations. Please comply with that. Most budget airlines subsidise tickets and charge extra for check in baggage- this way, those who travel light can pay less and only those who have extra bags can pay for it.  While buying cheap ticket, keep in mind luggage limitations and luggage cost- sometimes a 20kg check in Bag could cost as much as what you paid for your cheap tickets. I don’t think we can blame airlines for setting weight limits or charging extra for bags. (When DGCA forced Air Asia to give 15kg free check-in baggage, they simply increased fares factoring this cost. Now even those who have no check in bag will have to pay more for tickets). You should do some planning such that items can be distributed optimally  between check-in bag vs hand bag or between other passengers who are traveling with you. Many European airlines have trained their staff about Indian passenger’s overweight bags and ignore small variance from prescribed limits, purely with an objective of avoiding a scene at the counter. Only when weight excess is too much they raise a concern and ask for extra payment. I think it is fair that we comply to the limits.

3. Arguing with security over banned items: 
Pay attention to what’s allowed in a hang baggage and what is not.  Move such items to check in baggage or don’t carry at all. Security staff won’t care how expensive it is or how harmless its- if it is a banned item, it will not be allowed inside.
Chennai Airport
4. Not pre-ordering your meals: 
This is not mandatory, but if you have specific preferences, pre-order it so that airline can plan for it. Otherwise, be prepared for situations where items of your choice are no longer available. Many airlines give some discounts for advance bookings of meals. Airline cannot predict likes and dislikes of all passengers and can’t carry enough number of every item on the menu, due to space, cost and other constraints. (or sometimes they are lazy- that is separate story). Arguing with cabin crew at 30000 ft won't help.

5. Standing in queue several minutes before boarding is announced:
What are you gaining by this? You don’t have to reserve a seat by boarding the aircraft early- your seats are decided, there is no risk that late comers will have to stand during the flight. You don’t reach early just because you boarded early. What practical benefit you will get by standing in queue way before boarding is announced and impatiently waiting to cross the gate? Only benefit I see that you might get luggage space right on top of your head if you move in early, else you may have to keep it little away. Is that worth all the trouble? Why not simply relax on the chairs till the boarding opens?

6. Not honoring boarding sequence:
Breitling Wingwalkers Aerobatics on the plane- Aero India 2015
Some airlines board people row wise (like row 20-30 first, 10-20 next etc), hoping this will streamline people movement and facilitate faster boarding. This sequence is well planned such that boarding is quicker and less chaotic. Not respecting this announcement will only create more chaos on the crowded aisles. Follow the instruction and go to the gate only when your row is called out.

7. Shouting at ground staff for delay:
Airline staff who man the gate do not have any control/influence on arrival and departure of aircrafts. At best they can communicate information they have. Shouting at them for delay in boarding will not help in any way. An aircraft shuttles several cities in a day (domestic) and sometimes delays are not possible to avoid. Be mentally prepared for some delays- carry a book or something to keep you occupied. 
Scandinavian Skycats- Aero India 2015
8. Packing things not meant to be taken off aircraft:
Airlines often provide stuff like in flight magazines, earphones, pillows etc for the comfort and convenience of the guests. These are meant to be used during the journey and left behind, but some passengers make it a habit to pack them into their hand bags while leaving the plane- effectively stealing things. It is impossible for crew to keep an eye and prevent this from happening, but doesn’t sound good on traveling community to steal. Some earphones are specially designed with multiple pins such that they can’t be used outside the aircraft (it won’t fit into traditional players). There were instances where hotels have complained about missing blankets and bedsheets- which airport officials managed to confiscate from the luggage of passengers. Stop doing this.
9. Getting up as soon as plane stops taxing
Again doesn’t really help.
-  Your check in baggage won’t arrive on priority because you jumped out of the craft first
-   The ground transportation will wait for the bus to be filled before moving, so at best you might get a seat, but will still have to wait
-   Even if you stand up, you will still have to wait as everyone else also have stood up and crowded the aisle long before aircraft doors are open
Why not relax in your seat for few more minutes?

10. Being restless at luggage belt:
All the time you saved by queuing up early, standing up before landing, rushing through the gate and sundry other things are effectively nullified by late arrival of your checked in baggage at the conveyor belt. Probability of your bag arriving last is directly proportional to how hurried and impatient you are. Being restless here again won’t help. Grab a book and read some pages while the bag arrives, or go refresh yourselves at the restroom, or buy a scheme that gets your bag out on priority.
Flying a microlight in Jakkur, Bengaluru
Next time you’re traveling by air, remember below golden points
· If you  have a boarding pass in hand, your seat is confirmed, so there’s no need to go early and reserve a seat
· Do not worry about cabin luggage space. Crew will make some provision for you if you don’t find space.
· Boarding early doesn’t mean you will reach early
· Once you have boarding pass, plane will not depart without you. Even if you fall asleep some announcements will be made and they will take you in. So don’t waste time and energy standing in super long boarding queues.
· Lot of things are not in the control of ground staff. Arguing with them and cursing them will not be of any good. Airline is a complex operation. Respect the rules and guidelines laid out. If there’re some small delays, please be patient. But if you’re facing issues again and again, then avoid flying that airline. Fighting with helpless ground staff won’t get you anywhere.
· Stop being a petty thief.

Did I miss anything? Do you agree with above observations? Share your thoughts.

9 comments :

Ragini Puri said...

Interesting article. So many of my pet peeves listed here! People queuing up long before boarding is announced and then showing the same impatience to get off while the aircraft is still taxing!
Patience is a virtue that is going extinct.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Ragini.. true.. Thanks for commenting.

The wild said...

Your post suggest that airlines follow all the rules and pure as gold -sorry they are not-perhaps you still havent experienced any nasty surprises from airlines ,you will understand when you face them

For all the points you listed you are just viewing the problem from an airlines perspective not from the consumer perspective,not suggesting to desist following the rules but both parties have to play by the rules -simply put its not all hunky dory as you potray.

Standing in the queue -its the choice of the passenger ,if they wish to waste their time so be it ,its better than somebody checkin and being lost in some shopping area and delaying your flight for 30 minutes since they have to unload the suitcases or find the passenger better safe than sorry.Remember there are all sorts of people aged 0-100 ,all will not board or follow a robotic process of boarding at the same pace.

Being restless at luggage belt -maybe people are in hurry-they have a connecting flight or got to go to a interview and so on ,so i dont see how it affects fellow passengers ,there have been instances where somebody else picks your bag by mistake -so what do yo do then ? - if somebody has all the time in the world they certainly would not be taking a flight

Cabin luggage -again your wrong ,if the cabin crew dont find a space -they will put the cabin bag somewhere else where you cant see ,especially if you are carrying some valubles in your cabin bag or you end up cramping your leg space.Suppose for eg you have a camera if that is cramped and stuffed in just cause the airhostess was in a hurry to put your bag who is responsible for the damage ,airline will not take any responsibility

Once you have a boarding pass -plane will depart without you -if they dont find you after sufficient calls -dont expect crew to come and wake you up if you are found sleeping ,there is no way for them to know you are boarding their flight.they will make an attempt(if they dont find you after 2 or 3 attempts they will remove your baggage and not allow you to board) ,but the onus of boarding the flight is on the passenger under normal circumstances .its a nightmare 3/4 flights delayed because some passenger thought they had all the time in the world to delay a flight full of passengers-as you suggested its because of ignorant ppl like these the rest of the passengers have to take the brunt.

The face of the airlines in the airport are the ground crew -not asking them to be cursed or shouted at but when the situation is bad for eg when flight is delayed or cancelled -more often than not there is no communication or very poor communication.This is a common problem across airlines -airlines have to learn how to handle such situations.The passenger is not asking for their head but meaningful logical responses which are generally not forthcoming

Anonymous said...

Well said..after travelling so many years I couldn't agree for more

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Anon- THanks

@The wild:
Your comment is as long as my post. Thanks for taking time and effort for detailed comment.

I fully agree airlines have their share of mistakes and mismanagement. Not saying they are saints. That could make another post by itself. But such probabilities are much lower compared to passenger behaviors listed above.

yes, it is every individual's choice to stand waiting or being restless. Doesn't affect other passengers. I just feel there're other comfortable alternatives

ವಿ.ರಾ.ಹೆ. said...

ಇಂತಹ ಸೂಕ್ಷ್ಮ ವಿಷಯಗಳ ಮೇಲೂ ಗಮನ ಹರಿಸಿ ಬರೆದಿರುವ ನಿಮಗೆ ಮೆಚ್ಚುಗೆಗಳು ಮತ್ತು ಧನ್ಯವಾದಗಳು.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Vi Ra He

Dhananjaya Murthy said...

Good Observation and it is true most of the time and also some points of The wild comments. I would like to add one more incident of airlines how unnessary they create problem to passenger. Air asia is having exclusive hub (airport) in Bangkonk and Kaulalampur and passenger those who has a ticket for next destination without entering to Bangkonk and not stamping the passport and not paying visa fee can go through their one more entry within the airport and can travel to other destination. Provided we buy ticket in airasia website through multicity that means your PNR should be the same unless we unnecessarily we need to go through immigration process and come back again. We had ticket from chennai to bangkonk and to Siem reap but with different PNR but we want to book multicity booking also it is not possible for this destination we went and explined to Air asia representative who is incharge of the Bangkok airport air asia incharge, he could not allow us to go through after several explations and how it looks like foolishness to do . We went to imgration officer and explained the same situation they obliged if Air asia accepts you can go through we do not have any objection. But Airasia representative refused to go through. Ultimately we spend THB1000 paid for visa with entry and exit seal. We went to siem reap. After sending big mail to Air asia they sent a apology mail but they have not changed any system there after.
Even it is same with Tiger Air if you pre book your ticket with transit service we can take one more flight and without imigration we can fly to other destination. We request on desk we make payment for transit service but they denied. Offcourse we have not last any money since we had multiple entry visa only difference we had unnessary seals on passport.This happened when we had flight from Kaulalampur to singapore and bangalore.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Dhananjay for detailed comment