Don’t get caught up in the moment, make one…

Where did it go? You know, the initial dream and excitement of traveling more, traveling better and discovering new places? If you look around the internet these days, particularly travel forums and comments sections, all you seem to find are angsty, antagonistic and condescending comments, regardless of how well intentioned the topic. From complaints about champagne temperature to eye rolling comments regarding destinations, it’s hard to understand where it all went wrong…

Support Group

Someone recently said to me, “it seems like every frequent flyer forum is a support group for people who’ve been served champagne at room temperature, and need therapy”. They’re right. To borrow sentiment from Louis CK, people forget that for a plane to take off, thousands of things must all go right. A metal or composite tube carrying hundreds of passengers, tonnes of cargo and highly sophisticated systems hurdles into the air, bringing you to new and truly exciting destinations and all you can think about is why the wifi is slow? Or why the drink temperature isn’t perfect? Hello! You’re flying. A satellite, which launched into space is communicating with this vessel you’re on, while traveling at 590mph at more than 5 miles above the surface of the earth.

Chill Out

People need to chill out. Like, seriously. You went to said travel blog, or travel forum seeking information and insight. If you gained any information or insight, say thank you and leave. If you didn’t, just move on. If 30,000 people read my site in a day, I get roughly zero “great article” comments, but always an endless sea of complaints, either about the article, the airline, the hotel, the app, the destination or the piece of travel gear. This coincides with the biggest mistake travelers make. They only discover their voice when it’s time to complain. If you actually wanted travel to be better, you’d speak up when GOOD things happen, so that the people who make the good things happen get promoted, and make more good things happen.

Shut Up

I can’t help but laugh when you think that people part ways with $5 bucks a day at Starbucks mega corp, yet find time in their supposedly busy lives to complain about the free information, which could potentially save them thousands of dollars, or take them to the best places on earth. The outrage people find with bloggers who find a way to make a living through their content is comical, if not downright painful. How dare this person make money off the free information they gave me that took me on the best trip of my life! How dare they. Grow up, shut up.

Better World

For the world to become a better place, and it could definitely become a better place, people need to remember why they got into travel. It’s because the world is beautiful, even if the people that inhabit it are not. There’s so much to see. Even as a “full time” traveler, there are too many things I haven’t seen, and my only fear in life is not getting to see them. Seek information, seek fun and make the internet a better place by remembering why you’re there in the first place.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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28 Comments

  1. There’s definitely some merit to this article, so well done with that. People just like to complain–especially when they can do so anonymously and through text.

  2. Seriously Gilbert, I read your site more than any other, and I do try to give you the props you deserve, although sometimes I may slip and forget. Anyway, I rarely gripe about anything I read on travel blogs, although with some click-baitey sites (cough*pointsguy*cough) it’s difficult to resist a barb now and then.

  3. Yeah a lot of forums like FT are filled with so much complaining and arguing. I guess it’s human nature to complain and to lose perspective. I think about seeing articles regarding big-name actors or pro sports players negotiating salary contracts and how they argue over a million dollars here and there, when people are out there scraping by on minimum wage.

    It’s not just forums and not just blog readers, either – some of your BoardingArea colleagues are quick to whine about minutiae in their trip reports, too…an FA handing them a tray rather than placing it on the tray table for example.

    But I can’t claim to be immune from the phenomenon and don’t think anyone else is, either – just that the things we complain about vary! I do try to work on it though – that’s about all I can do as none of us is perfect. That, and trying to ignore others’ complaints rather than letting it impact my mood – sometimes easier said than done!

    Personally, I think this stems from a lack of real fulfillment deep in the human spirit that people are lacking in the modern world. Instead we look to the fleeting things of this material world, which will always disappoint us in the end.

    I work in a field where there is little love from the general public (although I don’t work directly with the public) and it’s an important but very thankless job – but one that I very much enjoy. Growing up, my family ran a small business. Both of those things have taught me that running any sort of business or similar enterprise, people will complain much more readily than they will compliment. Though what really has taught me that lesson, is being a father (to a now adult child) – talk about endless complaints and never any thanks!

    You have to just keep plugging away. If you’ve done the best you can…at the end of the day, that’s all you can ask of yourself.

    Just my two cents! Best wishes,

  4. Perfect!!!! I go to all these articles for info and 99% of the time get something out of them. But God the complaining (ie someone was denied entry into a lounge by accident and the outrage! The gall! The temerity! A sincere apology wasn’t enough because the aggrieved was not told what would happen to the employee…I’m sure a public flogging was in order)

    Anyway keep it up

  5. There’s so much information available now it does create high expectations in advance of travel. I remember a time when you would board a flight and have no idea what the in flight entertainment system would be or exactly what food you would be served.

    I also agree that some bloggers can be the worst. I see some social media feeds with constant complaints about being called to board too early or not getting pre-departure beverages and wonder why they bother with flying.

  6. I will roll every item in my carryon on my next Paris trip. I’ve heard that before, but you convinced me. And I can get a week’s worth of clothes into a carry on already. I learned my lesson when Delta lost my bag on a trip to Orlando. They suggested I fly to Chicago and search their unclaimed baggage warehouse. Not even the minimal help mandated. Oh I also learned never to put your prescriptions in a checked bag.

    Thanks for the carryon advice!

  7. Thank you for bringing this subject to the surface!
    All the negativity and complaints never stop coming it seems, and who ever is criticized, we should remember they have feelings too.

    As someone who is not a frequent flier, but someone who does love everything about flying, your blog brings much joy and insight.
    So please keep up the great work, always with a great mix of topics!

    Thank you!

    Pontus
    Sweden

  8. LIVE DEMONSTRATION OF YOUR POINT: I and several others did not find our luggage on the carousel and went to the airline’s baggage office. One man already there was shouting complaints and insults at the patient attendant behind the counter On man in line went forward to the counter, looked the complainer in the eye and said. “This lady did not lose your bag but she can find it for you. Stop griping and give her your information so she can help you quickly and then help the rest of us.” The complainer hesitated a moment and then mumbled “Sorry’. I was among those who applauded.

  9. Oh, this is such a wonderful article. I am so sick and tired of seeing complaint after complaint after complaint about the most insignificant or trivial things. And the …”how much compensation should I ask for….”. Oh my goodness, people! Just because your bathroom was missing a facecloth and you only had 3 instead of four, or just because your pre-departure beverage didn’t have ice in it, doesn’t mean you need to be compensated thousands of points or miles. Or $.

    I love traveling. I love exploring new parts of the world. I love reading about travel. I love interacting with other travelers who have the same passion. But, truth be told, I am getting jaded and impatient with all the blogs and FB pages that are just one long complaint all the time.

    Thanks for this article! So good to see someone finally saying it as it is!

  10. Exactly. I do value travel bloggers’ reviews of flights and airplanes seats with the different airlines, but really – the main point of travel is to spend time at our destinations, not to drink champagne getting there. With back-to-back ten hour flights, not being, ahem, 25 any more, I really appreciate a lie-flat bed. But the rest of it? All gravy, sometimes to my taste and sometimes less so. Complaints? Life happens. Why make it all harder? A flat bed in the skies is an amazing luxury, brought into my life by credit card tricks, thanks to travel blogs such as this one. Thank you, GSTP.

  11. Read, read, read. Apply what you learn that works for you and be happy. I’ve been in the travel industry my whole life and I learn new tips and tricks everyday on these sites for points/miles. I’ve been working in travel IT for the past 30 + years and I learn new things everyday about IT and systems and computer languages.

    Thank you Gilbert and others that I frequent for providing advice and tips that I would not normally find on my own.

  12. Excellent article. One more pet peeve: keep politics out of the travel forums/blogs/comments as much as possible. Occasionally it’s inherent to a story and I understand the need for its inclusion, but that’s an infrequent occurrence. This site does a pretty good job at staying apolitical and I appreciate it. Commenters and other sites, less so. Do commenters like Paolo think that ANYONE is looking to THEM for advice about ANYTHING? Most of them can barely form coherent thoughts. Keep up the good work.

  13. My good news story.
    Booked flights to New York from London (but from Inverness to save £££) first class – the Inverness leg of the trip was going to be a pain, but for £1800 each return it was worth the sacrifice.
    Got a text from BA cancelling our return leg to Inverness, and booking us on the next day.
    Thanks to this site, I knew that gave me permission to get a better journey.
    Now I’m Flying from Leeds-Bradord (30 minute drive) to LHR to start the trip off. And for an added bonus 2 extra hours in the Concorde lounge.
    Many thanks. Keep the tips coming.

  14. This is truly a great article and you’re so spot on… when this hobby first started everything I read made me giddy and excited. Now the commenters are trying to pick each other apart.
    I even stopped reading this site for some reason because I fell into this dickish pattern; but, this article brought me back!
    If you become an expert, know your stuff and move on. No reason to bring others down.
    Thanks Gilbert.

  15. Great Article! I was looking for some travel forms and all I saw were people complaining. I was surprised there were no forum members sharing their experiences. Don’t get me wrong there are some good forums out there. But mostly I see a good question answered with some right answers and the rest is something else I don’t understand :).

    I find it very funny that most of the forums usually complain, they actually complain about the same things every time you read or listen to them. I’m guessing that most of these guys are making money from advertisements and they need you to keep coming back.

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