Air Travel Etiquette for flyers and airlines….

I thought I’d share a few ideas on airline travel after my recent coast-to-coast trip. Let’s all check our list of the do’s and don’ts when flying. You’d think we should know them by now, but judging from recent experience, we don’t or, rather, YOU don’t.

1) If you have an aisle seat or window seat, do not, do I really have to repeat this-yes-I do-do not hog the armrests! The person in the middle cannot lean against the window, cannot lean out in the aisle and does not have an armrest to herself. So why is it so hard to understand, big guy or skinny lady? That armrest is the least you can do, back away and enjoy your ONE free arm rest!

2) If you are on the aisle, do not be a deep sleeper unless you don’t mind, a)being walked on or b) being peed on, nuff said. Not, not really enough, do no huff and puff like the person with the need to go, should not bother you-try being gracious. If you don’t know what that means, just visualize Michelle Obama (and you don’t have to like her politics to see how much she puts up with).

3) Even though your seat can go way back -all the way into the lap of the guy behind you, does not mean you should do it.

4) Just because you have headphones on does not mean the person next to you, or across the aisle, or a couple of rows back (or in the town over which you are now flying), cannot hear your heavy metal or whatever those tinny and thumping sounds are which are bouncing off everyone else. Sometimes those box cutters would come in handy, FAA folks, just sayin.

5) Falling asleep does not give you license to lean on the next person much less stick your bony knees into their calves on top of exposing them to your seaweed, yuck. I’d prefer the decaying smells of a real beach to eating that slime, and I sure don’t want to smell it while experiencing turbulence for 6 hours.

6) If you’re going to sleep in your window seat, please check first whether your seatmates want the glow of the window while they sleep or want to gaze at a darkened hole when the co-pilot announces the wonderful view of the Grand Canyon, try asking first.

7) Don’t insist on standing up as soon as the plane comes to a halt after which there will be a 20 minute disembarkation wait. If you must get out fast and believe that you somehow will, in spite of the obvious physics of 75 people and their luggage in front of you, ask to change places with the passenger who is more patient (or on better drugs).

8) This one may not be that obvious, but if you have running-of-the-mouth disease, try forcing yourself to shut up for a few minutes every hour or so. Yes, the people in front of and behind you really can hear you droning on; even your listening “partner” might enjoy a moment of silence.

9) Oh, by the way, we all realize that traveling can wreak havoc with bodily fluids but don’t pretend you’re at home where you have your very own bathroom. And, while we’re at that one, don’t hang on the poor schlub’s seat who’s stuck in the back and you’re just leaning over her while you’re waiting on the loo. You are not the only who will be dong that and, one more-remember, when you turn around with a full back pack in the aisle, someone has just gotten a dislocated jaw and needs your sympathy.

No, I’m not going to list all the complaints everyone’s already registered about other people’s children. I was once a parent of young, darling babes. My daughter was a particular joy on a plane and, to this day, I’m still afraid someone will track me down.

However, I don’t think we should forget to leave our suggestions for the airlines who we surely trust as much as we do someone elses politician or tax attorney ; and yet we put our lives and our credit cards in their hands. Just a couple of little suggestions:

1) Somehow, those airline seats have not been redesigned since Neanderthal or Cro-Magnon man whichever one preferred that head jutting forward back slumping position.

Maybe the point is to promote all the travel do-hickey businesses which sell lumbar support pillows plus little support pillows for your head since your seat mate would prefer it not rest in her lap.

I have bought or researched most of them. Back in the day when airlines furnished something to make the experience of  shoving yourself into a little tube where there is no air to breath-except your neighbor’s-and your hope of survival depends on the type of drugs you can procure, they offered you the use of pillows and blankets while they taunted you with temperatures which soared from too hot to allow air intake to too cold to feel your feet. So okay, they were unhygienic. In those days, we didn’t sanitize ourselves from head to toe we just wanted to come out of the little tube with our joints in tact.

So there are all those devices to sort of make that chair into something tolerable for up to 30 minutes, but you would need an extra suitcase to lug them along which the airlines will surely charge you for.

2) The other thing about airline seats besides being designed to push and pull you in every direction that can cause pain, lack of sleep and hip bruising (I must confess, Jet Blue has seats for real women who have hips, even those my age who have little coffee tables built into them) is that every bus, every train, every amusement park ride knows that people want a footrest. A foot rest, folks, is a necessity when riding anywhere longer than a ride at Great America.

Why can I find one on the Capitol Corridors, buses in almost every country I’ve been to, excluding chicken buses (there you have a chicken at least) and not on the freaking plane tube??! Is it so you can stuff more crap up under the seat since the guy with the overstuffed “carry-on” already took the overheads? So design the thing to move like they have on Amtrak and everywhere else. Hire a freakin engineer, fercryin’outloud. Didn’t you just write them an immigration bill?

We’re not complaining about the lack of tiny little airline meals with iceberg lettuce and jello anymore. We’ve gotten used to the abuse and larceny of your ticket pricing game and the change fees that would make a mafioso blush with shame. We’re almost glad that you charge for the movies-because how often can we watch a film where Clint Eastwood is trying to be cute? Krissakes tho’, get someone to design comfortable seats with footrests in front of you, and, by the way, it is possible to serve real orange juice? What the heck is in that stuff anyway?

Tell us your suggestions? We’re all ears, at least, while we’re still in the air.

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