Clean Trip

October 24, 2010
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Airports: a wonderful modern establishment meant to house the planes that easily transport people from place to place. These institutions not only house planes but in a sense house crowds of people as they wait for the departure of their flights. And these crowds of people are the home to thousands of germs. Airports are dirty places, and I honestly don’t know one person who enjoys going to the germ invested place. Making your way through an airport without one frustration is almost impossible, well at least for me it is.

Once my family parks the car in the dark eerie parking garage we make our way to the check-in to report that we have arrived and to get our seat assignments. Along the way there are choices to make. Should you take the elevator, the stairs, or the escalator? I would personally recommend the escalator, because most of the time the bag you have with you is not easily carried down stairs. If you do choose to take the elevator, expect to wait a while, and make sure you do not click the up/down button with your hand. You should kick the button with your foot, use a wipe, wait for someone else to press it, or cover your bare flesh with clothing then quickly press. Once in the elevator complete the pressing process to select your desired floor. After exiting the claustrophobic moving room make your way to check in. Although this can get confusing on where to find your designated check-in area, never panic, just follow the signs and ask airport personnel. Fighting the crowds without frustration is key in this process, don’t touch anyone, and don’t let anyone bump into you. And once you have finally made it to the counter don’t touch the germ filled table top. Quickly hand your information to the employee and keep an eye on your bags. If you can, make sure to try to ask for a window seat or an aisle seat, preferably an aisle seat. Never get stuck with the middle, if you do you may deeply regret it depending on the length of the flight. After the worker hands you your ticket and i.d. cards back, make sure to hand sanitize.

The next step in the airport process is the most frustrating of all. Security check point can get wearisome. You have to be extra cautious of germs and be able to make sure to keep an eye on all belongings. As you wait in line, security will yell a multitude of commands, sometimes making it difficult to take in all they say. “Put all liquids less than 3 ounces in a zip lock back.” “Throw out any water bottles or any other liquid over 3 ounces.” “Remove laptops from bags and place them in their own container.” “Remove all shoes, belts, jewelry, jackets now please.” “Have tickets ready to show.” The taking off of the shoes part has never really become part of my routine. I still try to go unnoticed through the detector with them on, but they always notice. Always have an extra pair of socks in your bag so you can conveniently slide them on and hurry through security and gather your belongings. After you collect your bag, shoes, etc from the revolving belt hustle away from the crowded area and towards your terminal area.
Once you have found your gate, sit down and take a minute to gather your thoughts, don’t forget to hand sanitize and to make sure you didn’t leave anything in security. Most terminals have shops and restaurants to keep the flyers occupied while waiting for their flights to depart. Buy a book or magazine to pass the time, but make sure to never leave your bag unattended. Depending on how long your flight is you may want to purchase a meal or snack. After the waiting time is over, make your way back to the gate, and wait for the airport employee to call your boarding group. Walking over the gap between plane and walkway can scare many people, just take a deep breath, don’t look through the crack and step over. Quickly walk down to your seat, and don’t make awkward eye contact with any one sitting in the rows. After you have found your assigned seat sit down and get organized. This means wipe down the tray table and cover the headrest with the small blanket that I hope you brought from home. I would recommend taking out an ipod or book before the plane takes off or before a random sits next to you. Hopefully you have your preferred aisle seat. Having the outside seat makes the space seem not as tight and you don’t feel as close to others as the middle seat would feel. If possible don’t sleep during the flight. You never know what the person next to you will take out of your bag, and you definitely don’t want to accidentally lean on them. On international night flights, you are recommended to sleep for most of the time, so you don’t fall behind the next day. But unless I know the person next to me, I don’t sleep.
Hopefully, for your own sake you used the bathroom at your home, because you should never use airport restrooms and defiantly never use plane washrooms. If you have to go, just don’t drink anything else till you’ve made it to your hotel or point of destination. Using public restrooms anywhere is unacceptable, but a plane’s washroom is just improper. I promise you will thank this tip later, after you didn’t risk infection by using an infested airplane washroom.
The plane will eventually land and everyone will think that they are the most important and deserve to exit the aircraft first. Wait your turn, but still be aggressive. If you’re not assertive you will lose your chance to leave the crammed space. Once outside in the terminal take a deep breath, you did it. Make your way to the stairs, without touching railings, and claim your luggage at baggage claim. Be careful not to take anyone else’s items by checking your claim tag. Once you have all your belongings make your way to the exiting doors and step outside. You can now take a breath of fresh air. Find your way of transportation and go to your desired destination.

Congratulations you now know how to make your way through an airport, fight the crowds, take a plane, and most importantly you accomplished the process without encountering any germs.

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