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Travelers' Advisory

When going abroad this summer, a little advance planning can go a long way to help you sidestep disaster, diarrhea -- and sheer rage.

Complaining 101 continued...

The anger you feel is understandable, says Kaslow. "But getting out of control, becoming so frustrated that you take it out on flight attendants, on people who are not really responsible -- that's what's not acceptable."

The frustration escalates when people are stuck in the plane -- and especially if passengers have been drinking, Kaslow tells WebMD. "People become less inhibited, more impulsive. And I think they have a real sense of entitlement, a feeling that they're special and that these things shouldn't happen to them. Frequent flyers really seem to feel this."

To control anger, Kaslow advises:

  • Plan for problems. "Bring something to entertain yourself like a game, books, food," she says. "If you know you're going to need different clothes when you arrive, put them in a carry-on bag."
  • Talk to people next to you on the plane. If they can't relate, who can?
  • Do as much problem-solving as possible. "If it's possible to get rebooked, get your cell phone out or go to a pay phone -- even if flight attendants or gate personnel are offering to make the reservations for you," Kaslow says. "Sometimes they will even advise you to do the same thing."
  • Spend your time writing a letter to the airline, says Kaslow. "I certainly know plenty of people who have gotten complimentary tickets, had $30 taken off their next flight. It won't fix your current situation, but it might make you feel more in control."

Airline personnel could also be more forthcoming with information, she says. "I've thought about this a whole lot. People feel helpless. And if they don't know what's going on, the angrier they get. If they keep people informed, it gives them a sense that someone is trying to take care of the problem."

Words of Wisdom

Planning is everything, say the travel experts. And if making connections makes you crazy, here's one more tip: "Make your plans seamless," says B. J. Ferdinand of Wise Traveler travel agency in Atlanta. Example: "If you're trying to make a flight connect with a cruise departure, buy your airline tickets through the cruise line. Then if something goes wrong, you've got some support."

"For heaven's sake, buy travel insurance," she advises. "If your plane is delayed, the insurance can take care of you. And the airlines do have to take responsibility."

Then: "Once you've taken care of all the things that could possibly go wrong -- the ones you can think of, anyway -- just relax," she says.

"Remember," says Ferdinand, "this is a vacation. You don't really have to be there at a specific time. Just show up and relax."


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