This may be a lengthy post. Let me begin by apologizing in advance if I sound lecturous, or as if I don’t understand the frustration of modern air travel. Trust me, I get it. Remember, I don’t work for an airline anymore!

But I have to ask you again. Did you really have to yell? I’m talking about a disturbing trend I’ve witnessed at the airport. It’s the tendency of passengers (and one or two airline employees) to basically lose their natural minds in public when things don’t go their way.

Travel is no doubt frustrating when things go south. Weather, air traffic control, aircraft maintenance, etc., etc., can interfere with your life. Missing little Johnny’s birthday because the plane is late or not operating at all is simply not a good scene. But these things do happen, always have, and always will. All too often of late, the result of the receipt of bad news is a expletive laced verbal tirade directed at the nearest airline employee about how much they suck, their employer sucks and how the traveler will have the employee’s job, etc.

Now…stop and imagine with me for a second. You are driving down the road, your car stalls, and you are parked beside the road with your dead car. Roadside assistance shows up equipped with the tools need to get you moving down the road again. Do you yell at roadside assistance? I don’t think so! Then why do so many travelers yell at the one airline employee who has the tools they need to get them moving down the “skyways” again?

Stop the yelling! When things go wrong, the one person you want to be nice to is the agent who holds the keys to the kingdom of getting you rebooked on another flight. Keep that in mind, have a backup plan to suggest to the agent if you can, and most of all…be nice. Trust me, speaking from some experience on the subject, two things your average frontline airline employee dreads the most are a delayed flight or a cancelled flight.

Believe me, I know there are some really bad apples out their in the barrel of airline employees. And I know that they can sometimes take a normally meek traveler to the madman zone just by opening their mouth. But they are fortunately the exception, and not the rule. If you happen to run into one of those bad apples, do yourselves and the folks who travel after you (and probably this person’s fellow employees) a favor and let the airline know. While one complaint won’t generate any real action, a chain of complaints that demonstrates a real trend in bad customer service will certainly get the attention of airline managers.

I know it’s hard to do, but keep your cool out there. Getting mad won’t get you home any quicker. So, I’ll ask you again…. did you really have to yell?