There are many things about today’s air travel system that annoy the most patient people — passengers and airline employees alike. It’s easy to encounter rudeness on both sides. I’ve learned to block out most of the noise and avoid hassle or stress, but I realized during a trip this week that I have my own pet peeves list.
1. Passengers demanding upgrades from gate agents, because they are on a “full fare” or have elite status — except that their ticket’s booking class is nowhere near Y or B, and they have the lowest status level.
2. Airport lounge gatekeepers wrongly denying you access and insisting they are correct when you confront them with the actual rules. Worse yet, they find a supervisor who agrees with them — as if repeating a mistake twice makes it right.
3. Passengers trying to hide a bag they put on the floor of an exit row, not to be seen by the flight attendant who warned them that luggage is not allowed there.
4. Flight attendants holding your glass with their fingers on the rim — I don’t fancy putting my lips there, especially after I’ve seen the attendant running those fingers through her hair.
5. Passengers trying to talk to you when you are making it clear you’d rather be left alone.
6. Airline agents making up rules.
7. Passengers blaming the airline for ruining their trip, when whatever happened to them could have been avoided only if they had been better educated about the basic rules of airfares and tickets.
8. Flight attendants showing how much they dislike their job.
9. Passengers treating flight attendants like servants.
10. Passengers going to the lavatory without their shoes on — or without in-flight footwear provided by the airline in first and business class.
- Nicholas Kralev is an author, entrepreneur and expert in international diplomacy, strategic communications and global aviation. A former Financial Times and Washington Times correspondent, he has traveled around the world with four U.S. secretaries of state — Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright. He has flown over 2 million miles and visited 96 countries.
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