Obviously, I love travel. I’ve built my own small business based on doling out advice and recounting the tales from my trips. From the outside, travel often appears glamorous, no matter the class of airplane ticket or stars associated with a hotel.
What’s often not seen on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or in my writing is the frustration of actually getting where I want to go. The airport drives, parking shuttles, check-in lines, security lines, frisking, rude passengers, late planes, missed connections, and lost luggage are often part of travel, but these unpleasantries are made slightly better when I walk into an airport lounge.
As a Star Alliance Gold Member, I’ve gotten to see a variety of airport lounges around the world. I’ve become accustomed to the United Clubs and their delicious bloody Marys and sub-par selection of food that includes carrots, ranch dressing, cheese, crackers, shortbread cookies, and fruit. I get excited when I have a layover in Frankfurt; Lufthansa has a wonderful variety of cold beer and warm food, including great-tasting sausages. Clearly, some lounges are much better than others, but they all serve as a haven from the airport madness.
Except when they don’t.
Since November, I feel like I’ve been traveling non-stop. Throughout that time, I’ve visited numerous lounges, so many that they tend to blend together. What stands out, however, is the bad behavior by fellow travelers within those lounges. By no means am I declaring myself the Emily Post of airport lounge behavior, but I’ve got a burr in my bottom about some of my fellow travelers’ actions. Here are just a few that left me shaking my head.
I get it, lovebirds. You’re on your honeymoon and headed to Paris for the first time. Yes, it’s a very happy time for you. Yes, you’re beyond excited. No, you don’t have to talk about your dream trip so loudly that every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the room know that you expect Champagne in your limo upon arrival.
Listen, Mom, I realize you really miss your one-year-old daughter, but Skyping your husband sans headphones and subsequently engaging in talk about the little girl’s bowel movements is not what anyone wants to hear.
Hey, Senior Vice-President of Sales, I think it’s great that you closed that $50 million deal in China, but unless you’re giving everyone around you a cut of the profits, then lower the volume or save it for the office.
And Grandma, I know you love your grandchildren beyond comprehension, but we don’t need to hear you shouting into your iPhone about all the wonderful souvenirs you’re bringing home.
I don’t expect complete quiet in an airport lounge, but I do expect my Bose noise-cancelling headphones and Spotify subscription to drown out the verbal pollution. I don’t’ think that’s too much to expect.
Every lounge I’ve ever visited provides plates, cups, napkins, silverware, and serving utensils. It’s a simple sanitation issue. Using bare hands to grab a muffin isn’t cool. Tongs are there for a reason. Use them.
While I’m on the subject of lounge eating, I don’t get people who hover over the food stations while biting into their apple. Are they so starved that they can’t wait until seated? People don’t graze—cows do. Get yourself a plate and load up on whatever your little heart desires. Then go to your chair and dig in. I don’t care if you guzzle from a milk carton at home, but hundreds of people pass through airport lounges daily. It’s not only a matter of manners, but also sanitation.
Please, please, please, do not clip your nails, finger or otherwise, in the lounge. Go to the bathroom, or better yet, groom yourself prior to the airport. Ducking flying nail clippings like I’m in an elementary school dodge ball game isn’t something that is fun for me. Plus, it’s just plain nasty.
And for the love of all that’s holy, keep your shoes on. In addition, please keep them off the table. The lounge is not your living room.
For the most part, people that are regulars in airport lounges are polite and considerate of those around them. Instead, it’s those few that either disregard or are ignorant to what constitutes common courtesy, that drives me mad. No, travel isn’t always as glamorous as it appears, but it’s always an adventure, even in the airport lounge.