Posted February 12, 2009 by Nicki Krawczyk
Ah, actually, not anymore. With the TSA’s launching of their new Engage! initiative (exclamation point theirs, not mine) every single TSA worker will receive training about how to think more critically, draw on each other's experience and, yes, make passengers more comfortable.
Huzzah! As a big fan of human decency in general, I applaud this effort. Believe me, I realize that things have not been easy for TSA agents. Between the constantly changing TSA regulations they’ve got to, um, regulate and an endless stream of people waiting in security lines who really don’t want to be waiting in security lines, it can’t be an easy job. And yet, oh, being a cancer doctor is a pretty tough job but they manage “please”s and “thank you”s.
Anyway, my point is to bring out a little often-overlooked travel tip: If you want better treatment, try being nicer. Before you protest, this is “common sense” that is waaaaay less common than you’d like to believe it is. Think about it: The last time a flight attendant asked you if you’d like a ginger ale, did you say, “No, thank you!” or just “No”? And watch the people around you: When the captain, co-captain, et. al are greeting passengers as they board, how many people greet them in return? How have the flight attendants on your flights actually gotten treated?
All I’m saying is that it’s human nature for people to treat better people who are nice . They’re more likely to accommodate requests, offer information, and make sure you’re comfortable. And I’m not just talking about being nice in regular circumstances. We’ve all got to learn (yes, me too) to dig deep and try to be nice during even unpleasant circumstances. Stuck on a plane on the runway for eight hours? UGH. However, guess who’s going to be more likely to get the flight attendants to bust out the free cocktails: a nice guy or someone who’s raging about the cosmic unfairness of having to sit inert and uninformed for hours. Who would you rather help out?
For the best travel and flight experiences, before we talk fees or meals or legroom, I’d encourage us all to take a page out of the TSA’s playbook (I know—can you believe it?): Use our head and be nicer.
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