On the way back from a recent trip to Argentina (blog post to follow), it occurred to me that many people just don’t understand the basics of considerate air travel. While I understand that many people don’t have the opportunity to be exposed to air travel as I am, I think that at some point common courtesy should kick in. After all, we’re all sharing the same small metal tube in the sky.
This lead me to write what I consider to be the 10 commandments of Air Travel.
1. Thou shall not recline thy seat (unless thou hast permission).
Ah yes, the age old question. To recline, or not? While I am a bigger human being (being 6′ 2″ does have its perks in other places), I have no problems with you reclining your seat – IF YOU ASK ME FIRST. I understand that YOU need to be comfortable – but what about me? I’m all for doing Yoga, but sitting for 12 hours like a lopsided pretzel isn’t that enjoyable.
2.Thou shall not wear strong scents
Ok, this may only be because I’m particularly sensitive to scents but if I can smell you 17 rows back and across both aisles then we may have an issue. Yes, ok, no one wants to sit next to someone that doesn’t have the most pleasant body odour for a long time but I also don’t want to sitting beside Elizabeth Arden’s ACTUAL PHYSICAL Red Door either. ALSO PLEASE LEAVE YOUR SHOES ON – I DONT NEED TO SMELL YOUR FEET FOR 12 HOURS.
3.Thou shall share the armrest with thy neighbour
We’re all on this journey through a tiny tube in the sky together, lets be kind and share. Space is at a premium, and I’m sorry but I don’t exactly want to meet my future partner because you and your giant chicken wing arms forced me to sit in their lap.
4. Thou shall restrict seat exiting to a minimum
I’ll let you have your bathroom break. Thats fine. I don’t want you to explode. BUT WHEN YOU GET UP ONCE AN HOUR TO GO TO THE BATHROOM THEN WE HAVE AN ISSUE. As much as I’m all for getting up and walking around (who wants to sit down for that long) but PLEASE, for the love of everything good in this world – IF this is an issue for you request an aisle seat. Then you save both of us grief.
5. Thou shall pack thine carry-on in an organized fashion
I know that things shift around during travel. But when you need to put your suitcase in the aisle to root around for that book that you put in the bottom left hand corner of your bag, COME ON. If you think you’re going to need something right away, put it on top! OR BETTER YET – Take it out at the gate! WHAT A CONCEPT!
6.Thou shall place thine carry-on close to thine seat. (Thou may only break this if explicily told by a flight attendant.)
Its easy, folks! You have room above your seat AND under the seat in front of you! WOW! WHAT SPACE! Plenty of space for you and the 17 suitcases you brought on the plane! I understand that other people do place their things in the wrong spot. But PLEASE try and keep your stuff close to your seat. Its easier for all of us.
7. Thou shall always watch thine body parts and bags. Especially when walking down the aisle.
As a person of slightly larger stature this is one of my biggest pet peeves. I understand that planes are tiny and cramped. All I’m asking is that you don’t smack everyone with your bag as you walk down the aisle. This goes for kids too. Yes, they’re hard to control. However, they’re tiny! Plenty of space for them to walk down the aisle without acting like a human pinball.
8. Thou shall only use the space allotted to you.
Your neighbour is not your pillow, nor do they want to smell your feet. I know everyone loses muscle rigor when they sleep and flop like rag dolls. If you need to fall asleep against something – the headrest does this nifty thing where it folds out and you can rest against that (side note: that wasn’t actually sarcasm). Also, please don’t go all crouching tiger hidden dragon – especially if you’re in the middle seat. I don’t need your feet in my face.
9. Thou shall not push the call button unless absolutely necessary.
If you have an issue – use it! Thats what it’s there for! But please, don’t make the plane sound like Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
10. Thou dost always respect the flight attendants.
My last point. Flight attendants have one of the most thankless jobs ever. They’re across between a Waiter/Concierge/Mom all without being tipped and being cramped in a tiny metal can for 12 hours. Be kind. Be polite. Say please and thank you. No, Im not trying to be your mother – but a little bit of kindness goes a long way. Trust me.