Travel Karma – Beware

UPDATE: Travel Karma came out to play recently when passengers on a WestJet flight from Toronto Canada to Calgary Canada were surprised by Santa and his Elves.  Click here for the story as presented by NBC’s Todays’ Take. Happy Holidays to all and to all happy travels!

As I pull up to the terminal the morning I realize this is the first time I’ve ever flown Delta out of Terminal 4 at JFK Airport!  I travel a good deal and it’s rare that I have a “new” travel experience upon departure from my home airport – but yesterday was such a day.

My first thought was, “crap, this is the international terminal, did I leave enough time?”   You see, I’m one of those travelers who knows the security protocol backward and forward, so if I’m in security an hour before takeoff I’m good.

However, I often forget that the not everyone who is in the airport with me a seasoned traveler.  I often forget that not everyone who is in the airport with me still see flying as a thrill.  I often forget that we as a people no longer see flying as a classy experience. I forget that not everyone in the airport with me is a kind or gentle person who sees employees as people and not just another face at the airport.

It has been 12 years since the TSA rules have been in effect for air travel, and yet, I am still absolutely amazed by those who have clearly been living under a rock, or in a cave, and do not know that you can only carry-on two items, all electronics must be out of your bags when going through security, your outerwear and shoes must come off, only 3oz liquids in a baggy are allowed to go with you, and when they say everything must come out of your pockets, they mean EVERYTHING.  I find it odd that so many people still have such problems with this concept. And by odd, I mean slightly frustrating for those of us who pay attention.

Yes, I’ll be the first to admit, I find myself to be a bit of travel snob when it comes to flying, I know the rules, I follow them, I get frustrated by those who don’t know them, I know where I like to sit on a plane, I know the boarding process, I know how to be a good traveler.

However, lately, I find that many people no longer see air travel as a privilege, as classy, as a thrill.  They see it as just another things people do FOR them.  Case in point, our recent twitter trend from Thanksgiving day.  It may have been a hoax, but there was quite a bit of truth behind that hoax.  I am sure we have all been on a flight with another passenger similar to ‘Diane’, who think they are the sole reason this flight is happening.  No, you are not the only on this flight being affected by things outside of your control, the world does not revolve around you, sit down, be nice and thank the crew for working so hard to get you to your precious destination.

As a seasoned traveler, I rarely get annoyed by those who work for the airlines.  I mean, let’s be honest, they have a tough job dealing with rude and obnoxious people all the time for reasons that are often out of the control of the employee.  My annoyance tends to go towards the other passengers.  I enjoy to people watch at the airport, you can always tell who is nervous, who is seasoned, who is flown only a handful of times.  But regardless of your level of travel ability, there is NEVER a need to be mean or take your frustrations out on the airline employees.  I’ll admit, I’ve gotten to that point once or twice, but in the end, I calm down and apologize because I know my issues have nothing to do with them.

When did air travel become no fun. I still am thrilled by flying, I still get excited when I enter the gate area and catch a glimpse of an airplane. We need to bring thrill, patience and class back to air travel.

So next time you fly please remember (as I try on all my flights) to say hello, please, thank you and to wish your crew a good weekend, week, day, night, holiday, or other pleasantry.  You never know when you might pick up someone’s day, or make up for the rude passenger on your flight.  Travel karma will eventually catch up to you, so why tempt it.

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