Alright people, some airline travel etiquette needs to be established. Here are a few suggestions that will make everyone’s life easier, so please… pay attention:
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Rule #1 - Security. Yes, it’s a bitch. Yes, the TSA employees they hired from the nearest clinic for the terminally stupid are an insult to anybody with a hint of gray matter, but com’on. Throw the rest of us a bone here:
You’ve been standing in line for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes you finally get to the table with the little gray bins. Now is NOT the time to hold up everyone else in line while you take off your six earrings, your 20 bracelets, your necklace, your watch and anything else you KNOW DAMN WELL will set off the alarm. The time to do this was sometime during the previous 45 minutes when you were standing in line complaining about how slowly the line was moving. Take all that stuff off and throw it in your carry-on BEFORE you get to the table.
For those of you with laptops, yes you need to take it out of the bag. The 8 signs you past while standing in the aforementioned line weren’t kidding. Have it out, put it in the bin and move along.
Rule #2 - Potty breaks. With certain exceptions, potty breaks are denied within the first hour of flight. It’s your own damn fault you decided to wait in line for 15 minutes at the terminal Starbucks for your daily non-fat chi extra-tall cup-of-crap instead of taking care of business (and by therefore compounding the problem). If you’re that bad at time management, or set your priorities such that you can’t take 2 minutes out of your busy day to take a leak, then it’s your own damn fault and you can just hold it. Exceptions would include: (1) you’re in an aisle seat, (2) children, or (3) you have a baby with a poopy diaper – and yes I can smell it. Yes EVERYONE within 10 rows can smell it. Feel free to do what you got to do but PLEASE don’t ignore it.
Ladies, if you’re pregnant, insist on an aisle seat. The airlines will accommodate if you push them hard enough. Old people, if you have a weak bladder, the same goes for you.
Rule #3 - Bitch. If I’m unfortunate enough to ride bitch (aka, the middle seat) then I automatically get both armrests. It’s called making the best of a bad situation. I don’t care how much you spent on your ticket – and if you had that much money you would be up there in 1st class with the rest of the I’m-so-important-I-need-a-curtain-to-shelter-me-from-those-coach-people crowd.
Rule #4 - Assumptions. When airborne, you need to make some assumptions. For those of you seated behind me, you need to assume that I am sound asleep in my chair trying to get a little sleep before my big presentation in a few hours. This means that you are NOT to use my chair to pull yourself up out of your seat, shaking it violently as you struggle for balance. I realize there isn’t a lot of room, but the solution is simple… use your armrests, slightly turn your body, and use YOUR chair for balance. If works for me, it can work for you.
For those of you seated in front of me, you need to assume I’m feverishly working on my laptop for that big presentation and EASE your seat back, nice and slowly, allowing me to make adjustments as necessary. This means NOT reclining your seat with such fury as to crack the lid of my laptop because it caught on the tray-table latch (I’d especially like to thank the lady seated in 19B on United Flight 920 on February 21st from San Diego to Dulles for that one). I don’t care if you want to recline your seat, just GO SLOWLY.
Rule #5 - Do Not Disturb. If I’m wearing headphones, listening to my iPod, it’s code for “please leave me alone and don’t try to engage in conversation.” I don’t care how excited you are to be visiting your 19-year-old niece who lives in Santee. I don’t care how pretty she is and that she’s pregnant with her third child from as many fathers.
If it looks like I’m sleeping, I probably am. It might be hard to tell as I often wear sunglasses when I try to sleep on a plane, but think about this – if I haven’t moved in awhile, I’m asleep. So please, use common sense if you choose to rouse me from my slumber (ie, something catastrophic happening like a wing falling off). The flight attendant serving drinks DOES NOT qualify.
Rule #6 - Parents, control your kids. I’ve traveled all over the US as a kid and I know how incredibly boring even a short flight can be. However, a cramped airliner is NOT the place for tough-love. If your kid is throwing a tantrum, GIVE THEM WHATEVER THEY WANT – PERIOD. If your child is kicking my chair I WILL say something – and not to the child, but to YOU. The other day I ran into a local 7-11 and they had portable DVD players on sale for $60. Seems to me like a pretty inexpensive insurance policy – otherwise I suggest adding a triple shot of Children’s NyQuil to their grape juice, also available at 7-11.
Rule #7 - You finally made to your destination. Congratulations! Don’t stop. That is to say, you just walked off the jetway and are now in the terminal - KEEP MOVING. Every single airport I’ve been to in this country has signs posted everywhere, so if you aren’t quite sure where you need to go, simply walk strait ahead to the far wall and figure it out from there. Stopping at the jetway door or in the immediate vicinity creates a hellacious roadblock that the second half of the plane has to navigate around. Some of us actually have the ability to walk and read at the same time – no problem if you’re not one of them, just please don’t slow those of us down who can.
This last part isn’t really about travel etiquette so much as it is about the Airport Nazis that patrol the pick-up and drop-off area at San Diego Lindbergh. I’ve been meaning to write something… suppose this is as good a time as any.
You guys are the biggest bunch of fucking assholes I have ever had to deal with in my entire life. When I go the airport and you guys are giving me shit, I say, “see kids, that man is why you need to study hard in school and get good grades – you don’t want to end up like him, right?” I can understand ticketing someone who parked out front and walked away – fuck tow it or even set it ablaze for all I care, but what you douche-bags do is downright harassment. News flash – me driving slowly, waiting for my passenger – WHO I CAN SEE AND IS WALKING OUT OF THE TERMINAL, is not the same as being as being parked or stopped. Here’s an idea, if my vehicle isn’t moving, why don’t you go stand in front of it while you write me that ticket? Yeah - that’s what I thought.
With that said, minus the KSAN Airport Nazis, I hope you found this beneficial. Please refer back to it as often as necessary.
Thank you and have a nice day.