This Is the Worst Thing You Can Do at the Airport

Tom Eversley / Shutterstock.com

This Is the Worst Thing You Can Do at the Airport

Please, please stop crowding the gate
This Is the Worst Thing You Can Do at the Airport

Tom Eversley / Shutterstock.com

It can be easy to be rude without even realizing it, especially in an environment that’s stressful and confusing, like an airport. There are plenty of etiquette mistakes you can make while navigating the TSA line, dashing through the terminals and grabbing a quick cup of coffee or bite to eat while you wait for your flight to board. But there’s one surprisingly common airport etiquette mistake that is not only inconsiderate of your fellow passengers but can also delay your flight.

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Oh yeah. We’re talking about all those people who crowd the boarding area long before their boarding group is called.

If you’ve traveled by air anytime in the last decade or so, you’ve seen this behavior. About 15 minutes before a flight starts to board, impatient passengers will gather their belongings, get up from their seat in the waiting area and start lurking right behind the queuing area where the boarding pass is scanned.

Whether they do this because they think it will expedite the process, because they want to get settled as soon as possible or because they’re worried they will need to gate-check a carry-on bag, this behavior leads to crowding and confusion. It can also slow down the boarding process as people in an earlier boarding group have to weave through the crowd and ask the lurkers whether or not they’re in line or just standing there.

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The basic rules of etiquette, no matter where you are, boil down to having respect for the time, space and needs of those around you. Yes, this even applies in line for boarding a flight. If you have purchased a seat on the plane, you’re going to get on board, and the first person who gets on the plane will arrive at their final destination at the exact same time as the final passenger. So, seriously, just sit in the waiting area at your gate until your boarding group is called, it’s the polite thing to do. And while you’re at it, brush up on these other rules of airport etiquette.