Turn on the news and you will hear stories about planes diverting due to unruly passengers. Visit websites like Passenger Shaming and you will see pictures of inconsiderate travelers doing all sorts of outrageous things on flights. Whether it’s long lines, lengthy delays, overpriced food or lost baggage, airports are becoming a place of displeasure and no longer a place of enjoyment. It seems as though people have forgotten what air travel is all about and are now becoming more stressed, impatient, and downright rude at airports. So where did all the civilized passengers go? Have we become a society based on ignorance or have we just set our expectations too high? When did all the fun and excitement get sucked out of air travel?

Believe it or not, airports still represent a place of pleasure and enjoyment for many travelers. The only difference is, these people don’t let the bumps along the way ruin their trip. Although it may seem difficult at times, shedding the negativity and becoming a poised passenger will make your overall travel experience a better one. This not only requires a better understanding of how airports work, but also an effort on your part to be organized, flexible, and patient while traveling. Who knows, by changing your approach and entering the airport with a positive mindset, you might even have a good time!

Here are 5 stress-free air travel tips to help you become a poised passenger!!

#1 – Preparation:

The first step to becoming a poised passenger is learning how to travel as a prepared passenger. Being prepared doesn’t mean simply packing the right amount of underwear for your trip or showing up to the airport an hour prior to departure. It means that you have thought out all the little details in advance and are prepared for anything. If you have planned your trip correctly, the little glitches along the way won’t stress you out. Did you book a ticket that allows flexibility for connecting flights incase there is a delay? Do you require a passport or other documents? Did you check in 24-hrs ahead of time? Do you need to check a bag? Does your airline charge a baggage fee? Did you check your flight status before heading to the airport? Have you arranged transportation and parking? Have you given yourself extra time to get to the airport, check bags, clear security? Do you have a back-up plan incase your flight cancels or is delayed?

#2 – Expectation:

As crazy as it may sound, lowering your expectations and being prepared for any scenario will help to alleviate stress. A poised passenger knows that 90% of the time things will go smoothly, but they also know that delays are going to happen and bags are going to get lost. Never enter an airport expecting everything to go according to plan, because chances are it won’t. It may take an hour to get through security, your flight may be delayed, or you might just get stuck beside that annoying passenger on your flight. Learn to take everything in stride and know that you will eventually get to your final destination.

#3 – Appreciation:

As the well-known saying goes, treat others the way you would want to be treated. Yelling at the customer service rep when your flight gets delayed will not get you there any quicker, and it definitely wont get you better service. Being impatient with a TSA agent when they ask you to remove your shoes or go through additional screening is unreasonable as they are just doing their job to keep everyone safe. Leaving your trash everywhere on the flight or being rude to the flight attendant when your drink isn’t served quick enough is completely selfish. Learn to appreciate everything that airline employees have to deal with on a daily basis. By being a poised and cooperative passenger, the whole process runs much more smoothly and efficiently. Think of all the delays that could have been avoided if people were less demanding and more tolerant. Remind yourself, if you treat people with respect and kindness, they will likely show it in return! And who knows, you might even get a free drink or upgrade!

#4 -Relaxation:

Allowing yourself extra time to relax prior to departure is a great way to kick off your trip. Don’t be the person who heads straight to the gate just to line up an hour before the plane is even ready for boarding. Your seat on the plane isn’t going anywhere so go enjoy some of things the airport has to offer. Browse the boutiques, treat yourself to a manicure, or get a quick massage. Airport food is quickly improving too, so indulge in a great meal or enjoy a nice glass of wine while you wait. If the hustle and bustle of the main terminal is just too much for you, sign up for your airlines lounge program and go relax in a calmer setting. Airports are definitely working harder to make your travel experience more enjoyable so take advantage of this. By giving yourself a little extra time, you won’t feel so rushed and you’ll be able to relax a little before you even depart!

#5 – Observation:

Now that you are poised and ready for your flight, sit back, relax and enjoy the show! People watching is one of the best activities airports have to offer. When u are calm, cool and collected, you can sit back and find humor in those who aren’t. People do the silliest things when they get stressed out or if something doesn’t go their way. It isn’t funny when a flight gets canceled, but the reality is there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. So why get upset and cause a scene? It definitely isn’t going to solve your problems and its just going to make you feel even more stressed. If you learn to be positive and take everything in stride, you will quickly see the humor in airports. Watching people complain about delays, run frantically down the halls to catch their flight or loose their cool in security is actually kind of funny. But remember, airports still offer a lot of beauty and positivity too! Look around and observe all the people who are excited to go on vacation, or the families that are happy to reunite with their loved ones. Remind yourself why you are there and the purpose for your trip. Be grateful for the fact that you even have the opportunity to fly and don’t get stressed about the little things you can’t control. Look around at all the poised passengers who are actually having a good time and be proud that you’ve become one too!!