I had the misfortune to be caught in an airport during the snowstorm that just hit the U.S. northeast. Fortunately, I was able to put the time to good use by compiling this list of handy tips for airline passengers who are unable to notice the blindingly obvious.
First, when the ticket agent announces that boarding has been delayed, don’t immediately walk up to the desk and ask if the flight has been cancelled. If the flight had been cancelled, she would have said that the flight had been cancelled. The ticket agent is not trying to keep these things secret from you, and even if she were I think your interrogation technique would have to be a lot more sophisticated if you want her to spill her guts.
When they announce that boarding has started for first-class passengers only, do not get in line if you are not a first-class passenger. Doing so just makes you look stupid when they kick you out of line. Similarly, when they announce that general boarding will start from the line on the left, while executive club passengers will board from the line on the right (you know, the line with two different signs saying “Executive Club passengers only”), don’t get in the line on the right if you aren’t an executive club passenger. This also makes you look stupid. Bitching at the ticket agent when she tells you to get into the correct line makes you look like a stupid asshole.
You may notice when you get on the plane that one of the overhead luggage compartments is locked, has red crosses on it and labels saying “Emergency medical kit” and “Not for passenger use; flight attendant use only”. This means that…wait for it…the compartment is not for passenger use. Do not attempt to put your luggage in there, you great twit.
When the flight attendant asks you to put your tray and seat in the upright position and to stow your personal electronics, you may wish to consider putting your tray and seat in the upright position and stowing your personal electronics. Keeping your portable DVD player running on the tray table does not count, and is in fact an example of what is technically called being a deliberately obtuse shithead. Especially after the flight attendants have asked you twice.
On the customs form, the line labelled “Country of citizenship” should probably be filled in with your country of citizenship, and not left blank. Although I’m sure customs agents enjoy the occasional guessing game, such games slow down the customs process and make the 50 people behind you who are already four hours late because of the weather very, very sad.
And finally, when waiting for ground transportation you may notice that the occasional public transit vehicle has the words “Not in service” on the sign where the route is normally listed. This indicates that the vehicle is not in service. Do not attempt to board such vehicles. Not only will you be denied entry, but the driver will show a marked indifference to your angry complaints afterwards.
If you follow these tips, I’m sure that in a few short months you too will be able to recognize the blindingly obvious. Then when I finally snap and go on a murderous rampage (possibly involving rabid weasels) the next time I’m surrounded by the mindless sheep that pass for human beings in airports, you will be spared. Congratulations!