Look. I’ve been doing far too much airplane travel recently. Like most of us, I’m not traveling on private jets; I’m flying “economy” on commercial airlines. Airplanes, airports — it always sucks. At best, the experience isn’t complete bullshit. At worst, the stench of airline food will make you beg for death.
Here’s my advice on how to be a decent person throughout your air travels. If we all follow these simple rules, the entire airline experience will suck a lot less for everyone.
Follow along and take notes.
- The rules are usually posted all over the place, so don’t hold up the line because you forgot to take your shoes off or throw away your water bottle.
- Yes the security can be demeaning in the United States. If you want to opt out of the scan, just say so. But you don’t need to be a dick about it to the employees. Harassing the security staff will make the other passengers think you’re an asshole — and they’ll be correct.
- Check in your luggage. Don’t be one of those carry-on abusers who brings a giant suitcase on board that takes up half an overhead bin.
- You can board at any time after they call you row. So why rush to be the first one on? Unless you’re one of those aforementioned carry-on abusers, spending an extra 30 minutes on a stinky airplane isn’t an advantage. Don’t wait in line, just walk in when everyone else already sat down.
Sitting in coach
- Squirming wildly the entire flight is not fair to the person behind you. Letting your child repeatedly kick the seat is not fair to the person in front of you. Don’t be a dick.
- Here’s the rule for armrests: if you take one, you can use that space and no more. Armrests are not an excuse to elbow someone in the gut.
- As for who gets which armrest, it’s simple: the person squeezed on the inside gets it. If there’s four people side by side, only the armrest in the center is in play.
- If the person in front of you wants to lean back, that’s their call. Need the extra space? Tough luck, cheapass. You should have shelled out for extra space.
- Does your baby scream and cry repeatedly for dozens of hours on end? If so, have the decency to cancel your flight. I’m sure your “family emergency” or whatever is important, but that doesn’t give you the right to make the next 10 hours of a bunch of stranger’s lives completely miserable.
- Nothing wrong with talking to your neighbors, but being extremely chatty is obnoxious. I don’t need a 10 hour lecture on collecting flowers. Know when to STFU.
- If you’re sitting next to a young child, you probably should think twice before watching Ultraviolent Sex Horror III.
- If you sit there with the map open the entire flight, it’s like shouting “ARE WE THERE YET” the whole time.
- For fuck’s sake, bring your own headphones. You won’t be able to hear anything with the piece of shit ones they hand out anyway.
Food and drink service
- Bring your own. And you’d better eat before they start microwaving the airline food, because the entire plane is going to smell like rotten farts for the rest of the flight, and the bathroom will smell like death.
- If you’re going to order a bunch of coffee or booze every time they offer it, take the extra five seconds to request an aisle seat. It’s the least you can do.
- You went before getting on, right? Don’t be one of those dumbasses who does the “I have to pee” dance behind the food cart.
- Just because the seat belt sign turned off doesn’t mean you have to go mob the bathrooms with everyone else. Have some restraint.
- You know that whole “captain has turned off the seatbelt sign” thing? Follow it, or risk getting knocked on your ass. It’s there for a reason.
- Just like boarding the plane, there’s no reason to be the first one off. If there’s no room to stand up, then don’t. Wait your turn.
- Airplane seat pockets are not garbage cans. Leave a magazine here if you want, but not gum or burritos.
Photo by Wildhaber