If you have followed all of my previous travel advice, you have successfully booked your airline ticket, acquired an amazing seat, successfully maneuvered security and are now preparing to board. In this episode, we will discuss how not to piss off your fellow travellers. This is more important than, well, anything so please pay attention.
Getting onto an airplane with a hundred other travellers is one of the most extreme invasions of personal space known to man. If my following list was mandatory reading and breaking these rules was punishable by death, this would still be an unpleasant experience at best.
Airline Passenger Etiquette - A Life Lesson
1. Put your Overland Steamer trunk into Checked Baggage. Those guides that the airlines provide with the carry-on baggage dimensions are meant as a maximum allowed, not a goal to be reached. The overhead bins are for storing your fragile items and things that you may need while on the flight. They are not meant to hold everything you are travelling with because you don't want to drag your lazy-ass to the luggage carousel following your flight.
2. Think of the Seat Armrest as an Invisible, Impenetrable Barrier. If any of your body parts have ventured beyond this invisible line, immediately correct and apologize. That includes, but is not limited to, shoulders, elbows, knees, feet and abdomen. If there comes a time that you need to impose on someone's personal space because you forgot to pee before boarding and you have had a steady infusion of fluids, you must ask the victim to please excuse you. You must never assume that the passenger on the aisle would rather remain seated and have you lap-dance your way out, even if said passenger appears to be sleeping. Also, when standing up, use your own seat to maintain your balance not the seat and hair of the person in front of you.
3. Shower. Seriously.
4. Just because your Seat can Recline, does Not Mean that It Must. Fully reclining your seat is a huge intrusion into the limited amount of space that the person behind you has available. If it is a long, overnight flight and the Flight Attendants have turned down the lights, acceptable. Short flights, food or beverage service times, middle of the day; act like it's the middle of the day and sit up.
Exhibit A: This picture was taken prior to taxi (yes, before the flight) around noon:
Is this really necessary?
5. Children...*sigh*. If they are your children, they are your responsibility. Take control! Do not feed them every piece of airport sugar available prior to the flight. Do not allow them to make faces and yell through the crack between the seats. Do not allow them to touch people as they run up and down the aisles. Do not ask your childless neighbour to hold them so you can eat your meal. Do not fly with more children than you can handle; I strongly suggest no more than a 1:1 ratio. Please consider flying during their regular sleep time and feel free to discuss mild sedation therapies with your family doctor.
6. Conversation with your Flight Neighbour. Really not mandatory. Pleasantries are fine but, if your neighbour answers with one word, smiles politely and then goes back to her reading, you likely should not be asking about her job, children, home address and political views and it's probably safe to assume that she doesn't want to know about yours. We are all forced together in our assigned seats so, please, do not consider a flight as a place to make business contacts or find a date.
Enjoy your flight and try to let others enjoy theirs.