It's the age of entitlement – or so people feel entitled to tell us. Everyone, apparently, wants things for free. They demand benefits. They expect perks.
That probably goes for travellers as much as anyone. There seems to be an expectation among some people that their travels will work out a certain way, that they deserve luxuries that don't actually exist in the real world.
So for those who feel they're entitled to some of the following things, you're not.
A seat in front of you that doesn't recline
Photo: Adobe Stock
Aircraft seats are designed to recline. The option to use that feature is available to the person in front of you at any time that the seatbelt sign isn't lit, and when meals aren't being served. That's the way air travel works. You're not entitled to the space in front of you, where a reclined chair will go. You're not entitled to complain when the person in front tilts themselves back. What you are entitled to do is to book yourself into business class.
Do whatever you want overseas
Though they may occasionally feel like it, foreign countries are not the equivalent of international waters, where you can just do and say whatever you want and get away with it. The local laws and rules of etiquette still apply. You can't flash your bits or steal a car or wear someone's flag as swimwear and expect locals to turn a blind eye.
A quiet flight
No one wants to sit next to the screaming baby. No one wants to be beside someone who snores, or people who insist on chatting, or someone who has their overhead light on and reads the entire flight. But … all of those people are allowed to do those things. You're not entitled to a quiet, peaceful flight. You can only hope to be lucky enough to get one.
Complain that people don't speak English
As native English speakers, we get to be pretty lazy. We get to travel the world using only the language we've been brought up with, safe in the knowledge that most of the foreigners we come into contact with will be able to converse it in too. Sometimes, however, they won't. There are people out there who don't speak English, and you have no right to complain that they should. Sure, it makes things more difficult, and it can be frustrating. But wrong? No.
A smiley, friendly border guard
It's funny: the first person you often meet from a new country is the border guard checking your passport. You'd hope for a good first impression from this local citizen. You'd hope to be welcomed into their country with a smile and a greeting. But that's not the way border guards work. They're there to do a job, and smiling and being nice to people isn't part of it. It's best to just pretend they don't exist.
Oh, you're a frequent flyer? You fly with this airline all the time? You're dressed nicely? You're sitting next to someone you don't really want to be near? Yeah: you're still not entitled to an upgrade.
Hotel luxury on a hostel budget
Scan TripAdvisor or any similar review site and you'll find hundreds of salty travellers complaining that they didn't get the service or the facilities they felt they were entitled to from their hotel of choice. The truth, however, is that if you don't pay a lot of money for your accommodation, you probably won't stay anywhere amazing. There are exceptions to the rule, but generally if you pay hostel prices you'll get hostel facilities.
I'm sorry tall people, I can understand that it would suck being crammed into a plane for up to 14 hours with your knees glued to your chest – but still, you're not entitled to more room than the rest of us. Exit-row seats are great, and should go to those who need them most. And people in front of you who don't recline their seats are amazing. But you can't expect that you'll get either of those things.
Not be ripped off
It's no fun being ripped off. I've been ripped off by cab drivers, ripped off by market vendors, ripped off even by hoteliers. It's frustrating. But still, are you entitled to an overseas adventure where no one attempts to fleece you out of some extra cash? No. If you're travelling the world, you're rich. It can't be any other way. And the people you come into contact with are often not. Can you really blame the occasional person for having a shot?
A delicious in-flight meal
Again, this is something people complain about all the time, and it really would be wonderful if all in-flight food was healthy and delicious. But it's often not. Sometimes that's down to lack of effort on the airline's behalf, and other times it's down to the fact you only paid the equivalent of a week's rent to fly halfway around the world. In the latter case, you're not entitled to much beyond a safe landing.
Criticise other countries
Things work differently in other countries. The food is different, the roads are different, the accommodation is different, the customs are different, and the people are different. You can have an opinion on all those differences that you're free to voice once you've returned home. But when you're in someone else's land, just smile and enjoy it.
Do you think there's a sense of entitlement for some travellers? What are people entitled to? And what do they have to just accept?
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