Viewpoint: Be considerate when traveling

Ryan Finn | Lariat Reporter
Ryan Finn | Lariat Reporter

By Ryan Finn
Lariat Reporter

With public transportation becoming increasingly more popular in the U.S. – such as flying on airplanes – people frequently take trips all over the country, whether it be for work or vacation. While I’m a generally easy-going person, there are many issues I have come across over my many years of travel.

Now don’t even get me started about having to go through security at the airport. Not only are you required to stand in an abnormally long line just to go sit in a tight space with hundreds of other equally unhappy people, but you also have to take off your shoes and your belt when going through security. Do you have any idea how inconvenient that is? You essentially have to grab all your stuff and your shoes while walking over to a bench with your pants or shorts falling down (hence the reason you are wearing a belt).

The worst occasion is on plane rides when you’re essentially stuck next to this random stranger with no possible way to escape. What I don’t understand is why people constantly feel the need to sit in the seat directly next to you and attempt to chat with you the entire trip. Now I understand that they’re just be trying to be friendly and all, but a lot of the time I just want some peace and quiet to enjoy my trip. So if I have my headphones in, even if I’m not listening to music, that should be a hint to stop talking to me. Period. I’m around people all day, and now I’m crammed into an extremely tight space with random strangers for an extensive period of time, so let me have some time to myself.

On some airlines, such as American Airlines, they assign your seating for you before you board the plane, so if the instance occurs where you happen to sit directly next to someone, then there’s nothing you can do about that. But on others, such as Southwestern Airlines, you choose your seat once you get on board. So if the flight isn’t full, and there is only one other person sitting on the same row as me, I can almost guarantee that I will be choosing the window seat. And if the other passenger decides to sit right in the middle instead of leaving a seat between us, then we’re going to have some issues.

Some other issues that bother me with aviation travel are when people don’t take the courtesy to shower or clean themselves beforehand. Now, I know they might have just been too lazy to do it, or deemed it unnecessary as they were to be on a flight for the majority of that day, but it’s unpleasant for everyone around them.

Another common occurrence is when parents deliberately choose not to watch over their young children during the flight. I understand that babies cry, especially newborns, and there’s not much you can do about that while tens of thousands of feet up in the air, but it’s the young kids that constantly kick the back of my seat, or are let free to wildly run up and down the aisles without any supervision. I know my parents would not have let that fly when I was a child.

It’s very possible that not everyone has had the same unfavorable experiences that I’ve had flying over my past 20 years, but if you have, I’m certain that we can all agree it would be a lot more pleasant if even some of these issues were improved so the flying experience would be a generally delightful one for everybody.

Ryan Finn is a junior journalism major from Fredericksburg. He is a reporter for the Lariat.