Want to miss your flight? Make a fool of yourself? Annoy the hell out of other people? Whatever you do to get through the often stressful airport experience, take our advice – 10 things you should never do at the airport!
You’re tired: you got up at 3.30am in Christchurch. It’s now 4pm in Abu Dhabi. Your head says ‘must… stay… awake; your body is saying ‘float me down the lazy river, I’m off to curl up with a large camomile tea’, but whatever you do, don’t give in. One minute you’ll be thinking ‘I’ll just catch 40 winks’, the next, you’ve missed your flight.
2. Get drunk
“I’m just getting in the holiday spirit!” Tempting as it is to start your fortnight in Fuengirola as you mean to go on, it is wise to exercise restraint in the alcohol department until arrival at your destination. As well as the need to keep a clear head to deal with last-minute gate changes and the possible operation of emergency exit doors, it is inevitable that you’ll be busting for the loo and won’t be able to go until you’ve reached cruising altitude.
3. Be a ‘gate lurker’
You know the type. Resist the almost irrepressible urge to hang around the gate waiting for your flight to be called, like it’s some twisted game of musical chairs. ‘Flight 243 to Barcelona is now b…’ and the queue already stretches all the way to Wetherspoon’s. A tough one this, even in our brave new world of ‘allocated seating’ – you’ve still got to get on that plane soon as possible to get your bag in the overhead lockers.
4. Lose your temper
The airport experience offers many opportunities to lose your rag in style, but even though it’s socially acceptable to drink six pints of lager before midday in an airport, the rules of social decency are not entirely suspended. Thus, nothing gives you the right to give any member of airport staff a hard time just because your flight is delayed, they’ve run out of almond croissants at Costas or the £12 offer on a litre of Bombay Sapphire is only open to travellers outside the EU. It’s not their fault, so don’t take it out on them.
5. Chat up the check-in staff
You don’t normally make queasily lecherous comments to your colleagues at 7am (or maybe you do?) so don’t think that just because Sonja on the check-in desk smiles at you, it is an invitation to sleaze over her. All Sonja wants is to get through another day without bashing someone like you in the face with her court shoes, and share her woes with her man over lasagne and a bottle of Rioja.
6. Try to be funny
The airport is not an appropriate arena for humour. When the check-in person asks “has anyone else packed your bag?”, resist all temptation to respond: “as a matter of fact, yes, this shady-looking man approached me…” While it may put a smile on their face, it may also backfire as you are wrestled to the ground by security staff and your bag blown up in a controlled explosion.
7. Jump the queue
The epic journey through the airport is fraught with possible stress, especially if you haven’t given yourself enough time to allow for delays caused by the failure of the airport’s computer systems or an unscheduled toilet trip. But lose your manners and you lose a little bit of respect for yourself. Remain courteous, don’t sigh audibly when the person in front of you fails to understand the necessary technique for scanning their boarding pass, and don’t push in front of the 80-something couple in the security queue. Karma will find you.
8. Play videos really loudly on your phone
This especially applies when your fellow gate waiters are already really annoyed because your flight is delayed. Young kids are exempted from this, because they’re kids, and that’s what they do these days rather than climb trees and fish for tadpoles, and because if they didn’t occupy themselves watching Peppa Pig V: Faster and Furiouser, their poor parents would have to entertain them playing Airport I-Spy rather than occupy themselves reading ’10 Celeb Bikini Body Diets THAT REALLY WORK’ / ’10 Ways To Get Massive Arms In Just Six Weeks’.
9. Believe the sudden change in status on the departure board from Delayed to BOARDING!!
Down the pint of lager you’ve only just ordered, don’t go to the loo, sprint 15 minutes to the gate, and then be stuck in a sheep pen for another hour because your flight isn’t really boarding. They just do it for a laugh.
10. Take this list too seriously*
While they are very much worth taking on board, these points are not hard, fast and watertight. Apart from no.4. Losing your temper at people who are just doing their jobs is unacceptable. And of course, it is possible that a friendly flirtation with a member of the check-in staff will lead to a whirlwind romance, or perhaps even marriage.