Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How To Survive A Trip To The Airport

As most of my readers know...I am in Cleveland, OH this week on business. I am an IT Project Manager and I have to do a fair amount of travel for my job. I am by no means the king of travel but I did accumulate over 30,000 frequent flyer miles last year. I don't mind air travel...I do miss my wife and dogs when I am away for a week or two at time.

The thing I hate is airports and airlines. You name it's happened to me. I was once stuck in a plane on the tar mat for 7 Cleveland-Hopkins airport...only to have them cancel the flight at 11 PM because the crew was over their allowable hours. I live in NJ at the time so I told the airline to stick their hotel room where the sun doesn’t shine and to rent me a car which I promptly drove seven hours across Ohio, PA and NJ to get home.

Another Cleveland story is my flight was delayed four hours because there was a shooting at the airport...always nice to hear.

Yet another Cleveland-Hopkins story...flight delayed 5 hours because of a control tower fire...I figure I have a black cloud over my head and no one should ever risk being on the same flight as me.

Not to pick on just I said I used to live in NJ and my home airport was the EVER-PLESANT...drum role please...Newark Liberty International. If ever their was hell on earth my friends...this is the place. The king of cancelled flights, mechanical problems, the ever popular ground stoppage due to high winds. Avoid Newark and O'Hare in Chicago like the plague. I would rather walk 700 miles than deal with either of the pits of despair.

Well anyway here are some tips I have gleaned from my road warrior like existence:

1.) ALWAYS call ahead to make sure your flight is still scheduled. I have shown up at the airport to find out my flight was cancelled and that I am on the next one (which it seems is always tomorrow.) Save yourself some grief here.

2.) People, the FAA say arrive 90 minutes prior to flight time for domestic and 2 hours for international...I would say more like a MINIMUM of 2 hours for domestic and 3 for international travel.

3.) One thing that pisses people off who travel a lot is people who don't. At the security checkpoint you have to remove your laptop from your bag (always), take your shoes off, remove your belt, store your toiletries in a clear Ziploc and they must be under 4 oz.....and here is a news flash you will have to go through a metal take off anything metal...seems obvious right...yeah stand in enough security lines and you will want to choke people. I have all my shit in my hands before I get to the conveyor...I dump it in the grey tub and I am on my way.

4.) You are allowed 2...yes I said 2 carry-on items. One of those will be a carry on bag and the other will be a personal item like a briefcase, backpack or purse for the ladies. The carry on space is limited on most aircraft and the douches that bring these 400 pound Samsonite monsters on board should be thrown out of the plane when we hit 30,000 feet.

5.) When entering a plane have the shit you would like to read OUT OF YOUR BAG already. Standing in the aisle going through your shit while people are trying to get seated pisses folks off to no end.

6.) If you need to talk to your neighbor on the plane while in flight do so in a normal tone. Screaming or talking load will irritate the folks who are trying to sleep. I sleep on every flight I take...This is also why most people who travel are AGAINST ever allowing cell phones in flight even if the airlines want to allow it. I can't imagine sitting on a 3 hour flight next to some guy or lady talking loudly on their cell phone. Once again they would be a candidate for removal at 30,000 feet.

7.) Don't EVER argue with TSA, the Captain, a stewardess or any other airline employee. They will make your life shit (or you will be arrested). I have found that being nice to them gets you far. I have been given the wink wink when I need to get on a flight on standby and most time I get on...because I am nice about it. I am courteous and I don't raise my voice or get excited like some of these bozos you see who are yelling and screaming and threatening to sue people.

8.) For crying out loud when they ask if you packed your own bags tell them YES...unless you enjoy body cavity searches.

...that is all.

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  1. Bloody hell im flying out of Newark on Friday at around 6pm. Busiest time of the week so I'm told. I flew out of Laguardia (sp?)last Friday and that flight was over an hour late taking off. If Newark is worse.. wow this is gonna suck.

    Thanks for the tips though! I still have 3 more flights ahead of me in the next week and some of this advice will be invaluable to me, no doubt.

  2. I gave up air travel when I changed jobs. Try to avoid it if I can.