All Aboard—But Don’t Push!

With the Presidents’ Day weekend just around the corner, many will take advantage of their kids’ time off from school and head off for a mid-winter break. As with any holiday season, discounts are fewer, lines are longer, planes more crowded, and roadways frequently more congested—due to traffic or inclement weather conditions—all of which can produce stress.  Our destination—once we arrive—is usually not the problem; it’s the getting there and back that makes us feel that we need a vacation to recover from the one we just took.  Undoubtedly, if we are feeling strained, others are too, diminishing our patience and causing tempers to flare.  Realizing and accepting, in advance, that these conditions are likely to occur—coupled with consideration for others—can help to smooth everyone’s ruffled feathers.

In 2009, Travelocity published the result of their “Rudeness Poll in North America.” Canadians, on the whole, were more annoyed than Americans when passengers crowded their way onto a plane, while Americans were more piqued by travelers who rushed ahead of others when deplaning. Both nationalities were equally annoyed when the backs of their seats were kicked, and by parents who ignore or refuse to discipline their misbehaving children. Unsurprisingly, no one appreciated having their belongings squashed by another’s over-sized bags in the over-head bins.  However, the top complaint reported in this survey was poor hygiene—being seated next to a smelly and/or coughing/sneezing passenger.  Anyone who boards a plane (or any other public transport) and knows that he is ill should carry a cache of tissues and perhaps even consider wearing a surgical mask to protect fellow travelers from their germs.

Upon arrival at the hotel or lodging, take care to be considerate of other guests.  For example, I once observed a man at a fancy resort who refused to reign in his raucous misbehaving children, as he had “paid enough money to allow them to do whatever they wanted.”  What he failed to recognize was that other guests had paid the same amount of money as he and deserved to enjoy their stay as well.

It’s not only fellow travelers who deserve our respect; remember that transportation, lodging, and restaurant personnel—those who serve—have feelings too.  Overworked and underpaid, they are frequently besieged by the rudeness and demands of their customers, making it difficult, at times, for them to keep their own tempers in check.  One of my friends, an airline attendant, was once so mistreated by an entitled passenger—in first class, no less—that he knelt on his hands and knees and barked like a dog; the passenger got the point!  Also bear in mind that chambermaids are not personal servants; changing beds and scrubbing toilets can’t be easy, particularly for wages which are less than royal.  Rather than behaving like royalty, a good guest will keep a room tidy—keeping trash and clutter to a minimum.

Vacations are about enjoyment and having a good time; maintaining a good attitude and good behavior can add to everyone’s enjoyment.


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