Tag Archives: travel etiquette

Flying Etiquette for the Holiday Traveler

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Perhaps you remember a time when traveling by plane was something you looked forward to. Flying etiquette prevailed. People dressed in their “Sunday best”. Passengers didn’t bite, claw and scratch their way through lines. Seats were spacious and comfortable. You chose a window or aisle seat based on whether or not you wanted to check the landscape below, not in order to gain a few extra inches of leg room. Flight attendants were friendly. Airlines served real food. There were sky caps to help you with your luggage, which managed to arrive at your destination when you did.

I could continue reminiscing about the “good ole days”, but they are long gone. Flying today is an ordeal which most people dread. When I fly, I worry if my flight will be on time, if I will make my connections, if my luggage and I will arrive at the same time and place, if my seatmate will be an oversized person who  should have purchased two seats, or if I will get stuck on the tarmac for hours on end without food or water.

Over the next two weeks more than seven million people will be flying the not-so-friendly skies. There will be the usual mix of business and leisure travelers—most of whom will be in something akin to combat mode. You can’t control what others do, but you can manage your own behavior. Let me suggest nine rules of flying etiquette that, when observed by all, could transform the travel experience.

Don’t hog the overhead bin. Although you are allowed one carry-on plus a handbag or laptop bag, you should only put one of those in the overhead.

Middle seat gets the armrest. That seems fair since the people on either side can lean right or left for more room.

Be considerate when reclining your seat. Notice if the person behind you is using the tray table and alert them that you plan to recline so neither their laptop nor their snack ends up in their lap.

Resist the urge to chat. Everyone should acknowledge seatmates with a smile and a greeting. Once you do, you’re done. Leave your seatmate to fly in peace.

Try not to be a jack-in-the-box. That’s the passenger who hops up and down repeatedly during the flight and crawls over everyone in his path.

Control your kids. Noisy, whiny, loud children ruin the flight for everyone except the parents—or so it seems. Anyone who has ever had the child behind them kick their seat understands the urge to kill.

Leave smelly food in the airport. Seatmates’ noxious food is one of the top peeves of air travelers.

Move as quickly as you can through the security line. Be prepared to remove your shoes, take out your laptop and toiletries and shed your jacket or sweater. Don’t wait until it’s time to place your carry-on luggage on the conveyor belt.

Be considerate of people with close connections when the flight has landed. How often have you heard a flight attendant on a late-arriving flight request that people with time to spare remain in their seats and let others in danger of missing their connection disembark first? Few people honor that request.

Good manners won’t make planes any less crowded, seats any more comfortable or security checks any less stressful; but they can help you and your fellow passengers arrive at your destination in a much better frame of mind—ready to go to work or enjoy the holidays.

Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, keynote speaker, trainer and author. Contact her at 912-604-0080 or visit her website: LydiaRamsey.com. Find out how her presentations, workshops and resources can help you and your employees add the polish that builds profits.

 

 

Ouch! Flying Is Painful!

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Carry-on luggage in overhead storage compartment on commercial airplane.

Carry-on luggage in overhead storage compartment on commercial airplane.

When was the last time you flew? I just returned from a cross-country trip from Savannah to Spokane where I presented a four-hour seminar to an engaged and engaging audience of paraeducators. I flew diagonally across the United States.

To get to Spokane from Savannah is a challenge at best. You have to change planes twice–no way around it. Or I couldn’t find one. I changed planes in Atlanta and again in Salt Lake City. In the course of three days, I flew through six time zones on six different planes. That may seem like the hard part, but it wasn’t. The hard part was surviving the thoughtlessness of my fellow passengers.

I am sure many of you can relate to my experience. Given that I was graced with long legs, I prefer to have an aisle seat. This particular choice has its advantages and disadvantages. Once in the air you can stretch out your legs, assuming that the flight attendants are not coming through the itty-bitty aisle with their food and beverage carts.  Another advantage is that you have at least one armrest that is all yours.

Here’s the disadvantage. You expose one side of your body per flight to attack from passengers who board after you. You know what I am talking about, don’t you, fellow aisle-seaters? There are more than a few people who board looking like they are going on a month-long camping trip. They have suitcases, backpacks, purses and other paraphernalia that they wield like weapons.  Therefore compelling me to say, “Ouch, flying is painful.” After a week in recovery my arms are still bruised from all the hits I took during six boardings.

I try to protect myself and keep arms and elbows out of reach. Nothing works. Some of those bags and especially those backpacks can cover a large area and land a strong blow. The folks who are lugging them on board are completely oblivious to the pain they are inflicting on the aisle-seaters. Okay, I want to think that they are oblivious. Would anyone knowingly be so violent to a stranger?

I have two solutions: one that I can control; one that I cannot.

Here’s what I can control. I can protect my arms by keeping them close. I can switch sides of the aisle on connecting flights so I level the bruising.

Here is what I suggest to the airlines. When the flight attendant is reminding people to take their seat as quickly as possible to allow other passengers to move through the aisle in order to have an “on-time ” departure (what is that?), the attendant could recommend that people be mindful of the pain their bags might be inflicting on those they pass.

I know that is a dream.  People rarely, if ever, listen to or follow the requests of the crew.

On second thought, maybe those of us on the aisle could carry signs that say, “Please be careful with your carry on. Don’t hurt me.”

Ouch, flying is painful…

Photo from Savannah magazine

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com

Travel Tips for The Tipping Traveler

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HousekeeperEarlier this week A Woman’s Nation (AWN), together with Marriott International announced that Marriott International will be the first partner in AWN’s The Envelope Please™ initiative. The plan is to leave clearly marked gratuity envelopes in guest rooms each day to remind people that some hard-working person, who probably doesn’t get paid very much, cleaned their room.

For the most part, these room attendants go unnoticed. Hotel guests may never encounter or even lay eyes on the housekeeper assigned to clean their room. For that reason, these dedicated souls are often overlooked when it comes to tipping.

As one who travels often to offer my programs on business etiquette to individuals and organizations, I try to be thoughtful and aware of those who work to make my days and nights away from home more pleasant.

Tipping can be challenging and confusing. The first thing for people to do when they are on the road or in the air is to have a sufficient number of one-dollar bills to handle the tipping process. I check that before I leave home—it is on my traveling and packing to-do list. Then I keep an eye on how the flow is going. If I am running low, I get change for larger bills in a gift shop or at the hotel desk.

If my system fails me, as it sometimes does in spite of the best intentions, I get the name of the bellman or other service individual. When I have the correct change, I leave my tip in an envelope with the person’s name on it at the front desk.

The next thing to do is to be clear on how much and whom to tip along the way. For that reason I have compiled a short list of those people. Keep in mind that in upscale environments and urban areas, tip at the higher level.

Let’s start with the housekeeper. I like to leave the tip, given that an envelope is not already provided by the hotel, on the bed or on the bathroom counter with a note addressed to the housekeeper saying, “Thank you for cleaning my room.” Occasionally there is a card in the room with the attendant’s name on it so I can personalize my message. I prefer to do this each day since the same person may not be cleaning my room every time.

How much should you tip the housekeeper? The amount may vary depending on your length of stay. Generally speaking, you should tip in the $2-$3 range per day. When you follow this practice, you might sleep better and so will the housekeeper who just made a few extra dollars.

Other people to consider tipping and the amounts are:

The doorman who takes your bags from the curb to the lobby – $1-$2 per bag

The bellman who takes your bags from the lobby to your room – $1-$2 per bag (If he offers to get you ice, he deserves another dollar or two.)

The concierge who goes out of the way to provide extra help or special service – $10

Room service – the tip is usually already added to your bill. If not, 15% of the total is standard. (You can always tip more if you are inclined.)

Others to tip during your travels are the skycap who checks your bags, the taxi driver who delivers you to and from the airport. The skycap gets the usual $1-$2 per bag. The standard for taxi drivers is 10-15% of the fare.

Now you know why I say to keep lots of one-dollar bills in your pocket at all times. If you feel that all you do on your travels is reach for your wallet day and night, you might be right; but these hard-working people who make your trip more pleasant deserve a show of gratitude.

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

Anger in the Air – The Height of Rudeness

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Rudeness is rampant even in the air.  But you already knew that didn’t you? If you travel at all these days, you and others are exposed to incredible behaviors. People say and do things that would have been unthinkable even ten years ago. Of course, those who behave badly at 30,000 feet blame their actions on someone or something else.  Usually they say that it’s the airlines that are to blame  for this new height of rudeness. Didn’t their mothers tell them that only they are responsible for their behavior?

Just last week a young woman was verbally and  physically attacked because she boarded a flight with a cough.  As it turns out the cough was allergy related, but a fellow passenger accused her of thoughtlessly spreading germs to everyone on the plane. When words failed him, he resorted to bodily assault.

Whatever happened to good manners, kindness, courtesy and respect?  When I began my career as an etiquette expert over three decades ago, I was training people in the finer points of etiquette.  Now I am into basics and  below.

Since I focus on business etiquette, I want to caution business people in particular to watch their behavior not only in client situations, but also when they are traveling.  You never know who is going to be in the gate area or on the plane with you. It may be the client you are going to meet or someone in the audience you will be addressing.

Anger in the air will not help you create  profitable or productive relationships when you arrive at your destination and come face to face with the person who witnessed your anger in the air.

Do you have a horror story about airline travel to tell?  Chances are you do.  Consider sharing it in the comment box below.

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.