Traveling gets you up close and personal with the world and the people that inhabit it. Even during layovers at airports, you’re bound to see and possibly interact with individuals from all walks of life. Such an experience affords you a wider perspective of the human condition. That is if your head and heart are open enough to accept such a life-altering lesson.
But before you get the privilege of learning from traveling, you must first commit to being the most considerate person you can be while you’re, for instance, at the airport lounge waiting for your next flight. Here are some unwritten etiquette rules to follow.
Eat at designated dining spots
Perhaps you do not want to pay for airport food. Either you have strict dietary restrictions or you are strapped for cash. So you brought your own food with you. There’s nothing wrong with that. But at least take your meal to designated dining spots such as the food court.
This is for those traveling in groups. When you’re with your trusted friends and family, it’s easy to forget about the fact that you’re in a public space where others might be stealing a much-needed nap. Do not be that person who deprives others of a chance to rest.
Keep the small talk to a minimum
Now this one is for those traveling solo. At some point, you might feel like you’ve had enough of your internal monologue, and you want to have a real conversation with another human being. However, not everyone at the airport lounge’s looking for their Before Sunrise moment. Be sensitive enough when to pursue small talk with a stranger and when to keep those internal monologues going.
Do not hog the power outlets
You probably have multiple gadgets with you. And there are multiple outlets at your disposal. Please charge one gadget at a time. Give way to others. Share public resources.
Do not hog chairs/benches
You’re so tired you just want to stretch your entire body on a flat surface. That’s okay if there are limited people at the lounge. If you see many travelers confusedly searching for a place to sit, be selfless enough to forget the grade school rule that says finders keepers.
Stop yourself from staring
At the airport lounge, you’ll see all sorts of people. You might even come across celebrities. No matter how interesting a person looks, remember that it’s not polite to stare. It makes people uncomfortable. You also do not want to be at the receiving end of it. Well, unless perhaps you’re a celebrity who’s ready to shower fans with autographs.
Put your belongings under seats or next to walls
There are people at airport lounges brisk walking to catch their next flight. Do not turn your luggage into an obstacle course they must navigate through. Tuck those suitcases under your chair or next to a wall.
Do not leave your stuff unattended
Airport lounges have CCTV cameras all around. If in case you lose something, it’ll be easy for airport staff to backtrack what happened. However, such an incident results in unnecessary commotion. Why not be responsible for your belongings instead? Do not let them out of your line of sight. That way, you also save those busy airport people from additional work.
Stop joking or horsing around
You do not want to be that person who makes bomb jokes at the airport. Save your SNL audition in front of Lorne Michaels, please. A bomb joke at the airport quickly escalates, and before you know it, everyone’s flights have been delayed because you could not help throwing a punch line.
Do not cut in line
This is elementary. But sometimes people forget. If you are in such a hurry because maybe the boarding gate to your flight’s about to close, at least politely talk to those already in the queue to let you cut in line.
Keep in mind that not all travelers with you at the airport lounge are traveling for leisure. Some of them are on business trips. Others are migrant workers on their way to a job overseas or back home. As soon as you are mindful of that, you will be more considerate of your actions.
The list here is by no means exhaustive. But they are the most obvious faux pas committed sometimes even by the most well-intentioned people. Have the self-awareness required to avoid those etiquette mishaps. You want your travel to be as fun and stress-free as possible.