Don’t let the others catch you, just being pigheaded
Sometimes I have the feeling I live at the airport. Non stop flying somewhere. Before it was a passion. Lately it’s mostly a habit. I want to stop it, but for some reason I can’t. Just love the airports smell and the hectic atmosphere on, the smiling rushing passengers,the breathless delayed runners, the butterflies into the stomach, while heading to a new destination, the leaking fear, while facing the unknown, the thrill, while passing the plane “doorstep”…
At the moment, hanging out through Istanbul International Airport, waiting for my connecting flight. The last a few months Istanbul airport became my second home. Not because I am a big fan of Turkish Airlines. I don’t want to be mean, but I dare to say the service is actually poorer than their five year in a row awarded performance as the best European Airlines. Or maybe just comparing them with Emirates and Qatar Airways it looks poorer to me. But I need to admit, they really offer plenty of destinations and doesn’t matter if you fly to Africa, to the Middle or Far East, Istanbul Ataturk Airport is a really good choice to start your trip from. So…It’s early in the morning, a slightly big airport with no free Wi Fi, not so many shops around,(most of them I have previously been to, so feel a bit bored). And what I usually do when I am bored? My favorite action, to start observing people around me, by habit.
It’s so obvious who is a flight beginner. As an air-veteran, it comes naturally to me recognising people who fly for first time. Nervous, waiting at the boarding desk at least an hour earlier (sometimes longer), checking thousands times at Departures board for new flight notifications, first on the line for boarding, commenting loudly or repeating, trying not to forget or lose their travel documents. They are among the most enthusiastic and noisy people. If in group, trying to hide their anxiety behind some flat jokes or loud laughter. Running from a shop to a shop, with the idea to see everything, but at the same moment, eager to jump on the plane.
There is a kind of madness in the flight beginner’s eyes. They are widely open, blinking often, trying to catch all happening around. When already in the aircraft, usually the beginner is not aware of how to fasten the seat belt, how to use the entertainment system (on long distance flights), what the buttons above your head are for. That’s something normal and if you are beginner, you are supposed not to know it.
But that’s weird, if you try to help them, they suddenly become grumpy and kind of embarrassed, sort of ” What are you trying to demonstrate, I already know all this? “. I stopped helping beginners long ago, for not offending them, but still curious to observe. There is nothing shameful if you are new on board and have no idea what to do. And there is nothing shameful to ask. You should know the remote for the TV screen is not working as a cell phone, also the earphones won’t start by themselves if you just plug them into your ears. I wish someone been there for me, when I was “green” on board.
I still remember how the modern entertainment system of Qatar Airways made me confused years ago, when I jumped on those airlines board for first time. I was not able to find even the portable table, neither the TV screen as I was on the first line and there was no seat in front me, where usually the screen is fixed. I was struggling, searching under and around the seat, but nothing even hinted me their position ( the designer must have been really creative). The flight attendant was enough tolerant not to laugh at my poor attempts, but just patiently helped me and lifted them up. So my simple advice …don’t be pigheaded and just ask.
Here are some tips and tricks for new on board passengers:
- Don’t rush, anyway the plane won’t take off without you, before the scheduled time
- Try to be about an hour before the flight at the gate. The boarding time usually starts 30 minutes prior the scheduled take off, for the longer flights could be 50 minutes.
- When the invitation to board is announced, doesn’t make any sense to stay on the long queue, waiting for jumping on board. Anyway, if you are first on line, you should wait for all other passengers to be boarded, as the plane won’t make it without them. It’s pointless to prolong your sitting time in the plane, anyway you have to spend long time sitting during the flight.
- Better make your boarding one of the last. What do you gain? You are not waiting on a long queue, accelerating your anxiety.
- Being nervous before the fight doesn’t help. Take your time to walk the airport, check the shops (even if you don’t have money) hang around, make new memories. The walking will calm you down. Take pictures, post on Facebook or wherever you want.
- Don’t speak too loud, being proud that you are flying to this maybe exotic or exciting destination. Remember, all people on your gate are flying the same direction. Your public demonstration just will show them you are pretty new on board and probably it’s your first flight.
- If you don’t know something or you need anything, push the button above your head. The flight attendant will come to you. Don’t shout, don’t yell, don’ whistle.
- Don’t play with the buttons over your head if you have no idea what they are for. This just will make the flight attendant extremely intolerant to your needs.
- If you have a long flight ahead and need to rest, be careful when you release your seat, setting it in more comfortable position. The passenger behind you may still consume their meal, you don’t want to cause troubles to your neighbor.
- When the plane is landing, follow the instructions and keep seating till the full stop of the aircraft. Unfortunately the Eastern Europeans are recognized by their impatience to get their bags before plane is at the park position. Don’t rush, you still have to wait to leave that cabin.
Next time when you jump on a plane or just plan to book a ticket, just bear in mind you are already not a beginner, because you are so well prepared for the first flight:))