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Things Travelers Should Know at the Airport

There are some things gate or ticketing agents at the airport — whether for job security reasons or to keep hundreds of anxious fliers happy — just can’t tell travelers. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to. In fact, many of these things could be to their or your benefit, if only someone would speak up.

So we asked some airline gate Customer Service Representatives to weigh in on the one thing they’d love to tell passengers but can’t. We’ve anonymously included some of the more constructive thoughts here:

‘Be honest’
“I’ve heard that made up excuse a thousand times and then some.”

‘No, we can’t just give you a free upgrade’
“Different airlines have different rules, but a change or upgrade can get you fired these days. And it’s not worth our jobs. The airline computer system tracks everything, and big brother is watching us.”

‘This job is more stressful than you know’
“I’ve been assaulted a number of times during my decades of working with the airlines. The stress of this job can be compared to working in any emergency room.”

“We are under a tremendous amount of pressure.”
“Many agents have been physically attacked by customers, including myself.”

‘Be more considerate of your fellow travelers’
“Cutting your toenails, flossing your teeth, putting on nail polish and talking loudly on your cell phone shouldn’t be done in public in the gate areas while you’re waiting for your flight.”

‘Just relax — deep breaths’
“Is your issue really as serious as the stress you are causing to yourself and others?”

‘Stop waiting ’til last minute’
“If you show up to the airport with 20 minutes to spare, you might miss the flight. It is not like taking the bus. Plan ahead.” “Take responsibility for your actions. Don’t be late. ”

“Travelers think we are being rude when we tell them, “No, you can’t do what you want to.” We tell them no because we are enforcing the rules that have been made up by our company, not by us personally. The rules are there for a reason — not to make traveling harder, but to generally make it safer.” ‘It’s not all about you.’ “You are not the only person here.”

‘We can not change the rules’
“Most of the rules were made for safety reasons. Travelers think the rules are a nuisance or trivial, but they are rules for a reason. It’s to keep the passengers safe.”

‘You need my help?’
“Treat me right and you will get the best I can give you.” “You get more with honey than with vinegar.” “If you are rude and yelling at me, do you really think I want to help you?”

“You do not need to pack everything and the kitchen sink’
“Inexperienced international travelers don’t realize the size of taxis and public transportation in the cities they are visiting. That extra large suitcase is not going to fit in a trunk of a cab. And you might often have to walk a distance to your hotel, which means dragging all your luggage with you. You really can get by with less when you travel.”

‘Stop blaming us for flight cancellations’
“No, we don’t have spare airplanes to use if there is an cancellation.”

‘We are doing a lot’
“We are responsible for ticketing, handling baggage, boarding, deplaning, dispatching flights efficiently and safely. We handle complaints, cancellations, lost luggage, weather delays, and travelers’ problems — all while trying to make our passengers’ process easy, efficient and less stressful for all.”

‘We can not control the weather’
“I kid you not, I had someone tell me that we had technology to control fog. I don’t know if they thought we had huge fans to blow the fog away… We don’t.”

‘Don’t keep bugging the gate agents with questions they have already answered in their announcements’
“They are working with a time crunch, and all those extra questions are keeping them from doing their work.”

‘It is a federal crime to assault (and that includes credible verbal threats) an airport worker’
“If you threaten us, you can be arrested. We will call the police and you will not fly. The punishment for assaulting us is a fine of up to $250,000 and up to 10 years in prison.”

‘We as airline agents and we as travelers all need to be more considerate of each other’
“We are trying to do our jobs as best as we can. We realize traveling isn’t fun and easy as it used to be. But we all need to try to make it easier for each other.”

“Do not go where the path leads, travel instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”   @wbbrjp / Phone   213 387-4345 / 3407 W 6th Street, Los Angeles CA

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