As always, spring break will bring on a rush of travel, especially by air. And we've already seen this winter, as we do every winter, how what remains of Perfect Propriety has been compromised. So Etiquetteer wants to put forward some Gentle Suggestions about how to get through it:
Travel light.Etiquetteer was once given the best advice about overseas travel: pack half the clothes and twice the money. And it’s true! Consider very carefully what your clothing needs will be, and pack to mix and match. Be prepared to do laundry. Buy fresh undergarments on your trip if necessary. Fold things compactly! You're likely to find that you can bring a smaller bag with you.
Dress respectably. No one needs to know about your body. Stay away from skintight clothes and super-abbreviated tops and shorts. Etiquetteer will not soon forget the somewhat zaftig woman in the translucent baby-blue track suit; nothing was left to the imagination. And some of you may remember the “leggings on a plane” scandal of 2017. And please, wear socks or stockings so that you don’t have to walk barefoot through security! Etiquetteer feels rather ambivalent about this recommendation to wear athletic clothes for travel, but Perfectly Proper Hygiene does need to be maintained; your fellow travelers will be grateful.
Be on time, and on time is early. There would be less hysteria at airports if more people allowed themselves sufficient time to get to the airport and get through security. Far better to linger in an airport bar or food court for an additional 20 minutes or so than to have to bolt in panic through security and rush through the terminal.
Stow your bag properly. Wheels first, wheels in! And if you can, check it instead. Decide if the cost of checking your bag and risk of the airline losing it are greater than the inconvenience of dragging it after you for eternity.
Feet on or near the floor please! Passenger Shaming is full of horrifying photos of passenger misbehavior, especially bare feet climbing to the tops of seats and bulkheads, and protruding into the space of passengers into the row ahead - and many other misdemeanors. Faugh! This sort of thing reminds Etiquetteer of why the Duke of Wellington was so opposed to railroads: “[They] will only encourage the common people to move about needlessly.”
Be courteous to the flight attendants. Just because you’re a) having a bad day, b) convinced that because you paid full price you should have servants, or c) annoyed with the airline, doesn’t mean it’s OK to unload on the flight attendants. Remember, they’re trained to save your life! Always show sympathy, especially if you’ve just seen them handle a difficult problem. It makes a difference for everyone.
And with that, allow Etiquetteer to wish you safe, and Perfectly Proper, travels!