Depending on where you live, the metal sky tube that serves alcohol and charges for leg room is your link to another country/culture/opinion of what is acceptable hygiene practices. I was born in the South Pacific and have lived, for almost equal time periods, in New Zealand and Australia during my formative years. There was no other (time effective) option for visiting foreign nations. My Dad once took a ship from Australia to England when he was in his early 20’s. This took something like 3 weeks from start to finish and those days are LONG gone.
Thank fuck for that.
Even if your country is just a short skip and hop away, air travel is so cheap and convenient, it has a habit of coming up trumps. Why I chose to take a Greyhound Bus from San Diego to Vancouver when I was the tender age of 20 still haunts me.
Anyway, I digress. Airplanes. Do you even!?
For most of us, yes. It’s the other’s that are still figuring out the etiquette of sky travel that crack me up/have me considering murder in the first degree with enough witnesses that the prosecution of this pedigree couldn’t lose.
If you’re drunk, have somehow convinced the gate staff to let you board, and find yourself sitting next to me for the next 6 hours, I can assure you that I don’t need a hug as we play the dance of who has priority on the shared arm rest. Further to that, my shoulder is most definitely out of bounds when it comes time to rest your head and sleep off the last 10 cans you drank in the airport lounge.
You know who does airplanes best? Les petites femmes. Not only can they curl up in a ball in their seats, but they seem to fall asleep within seconds of initiating their curl. Imagine going to sleep in London and waking up in Tokyo. The only downside could be that you miss breakfast/lunch/dinner, but if you’re like me, you’ll have the food cart rammed into your knee just to make sure that you don’t miss it.
For those of us that are 6’3 and all arms and legs, forget about a full flight of sleep. You probably even have that girl (or airport lounge enthusiast) resting her head on you just to remind you of how these seats weren’t designed for you and your gangly dimensions. Never mind the jet lag that has you questioning whether it is actually daytime and that up is really up.
I’m surprised that I’m continually surprised when the directions of the flight attendants and every single monitor are completely ignored and flagrantly disregarded. Impulse, and the attitude that rules are only applicable to everyone else, reign supreme. Watching a nearby passenger get up and rummage through his bag in the overhead locker as we begin our ascent is nothing short of amazing. Language barriers aside, the message to SIT DOWN during take-off is pretty clear. Astoundingly clear. But there go those damn impulses again. Oh shit, I must have my iPad/magazine/sleeping pills/blankee THIS SECOND.
Sit down mate.
While I know that not everyone handles air travel well, be it anxiety, fear, of just plain ignorance, I do try to be a good passenger for the sake of my fellow travelers. We’re pretty much sitting in each other’s laps for the next 14 hours, so we may as well make it as pleasant as possible. Excuse me flight attendant, when does drink service start?
Enjoy the ride
After you’ve suppressed your impulse to explore the contents of luggage during take-off, it is nice to have all your travel books and gadgets handy for the the ride ahead. I generally have these out and in my hands ready for when I first sit down. If you can’t decide what you’ll need and are sitting window, for the love of god, just grab everything you think you might need from the start. If you find you need to access the overhead compartment more than twice, you’ll find my knees aren’t going anywhere. There is a limit to my politeness, and you just found it.
I’m pretty easy going, but if you have me constantly unplugging earphones and juggling my dinner and 3 cans of cider while waiting in the aisle for you to prioritise what you will need in your seat for the next 20 minutes, we’re not going to get along. We’re going to be sitting next to each other for a while, so let’s be courteous to each other.
Yay. Now we’re friends again.
However, I will never be friends with the passenger in the seat directly in front of me.
I’ve had my knees crushed, drinks spilled, and forehead hit too many times for us to ever be friends. If you thinking of reclining your seat at maximum velocity, I can assure you that my knees will be firmly pressed against your lumbar vertebrae 1 through 5 for as long as they need to be. Message received chief?
Wheels are down, land safely, taxi to the air bridge. The moment that seat belt sign flicks off, it quickly turns into Lord of the Flies, everyone for themselves. I’ve had people pull their luggage down directly into my face more than once so they can ensure they will be waiting exactly the same time as me for all the passengers ahead of them to disembark.
I truly marvel at the audacious traveler who pushes through the aisles to secure a podium finish at the the exit door of the aircraft while everyone around them is either waiting patiently or finding a landing for their luggage with someone else’s face. It takes a special kind of confidence to prioritize yourself and your needs over 300 other passengers who are more than likely in the same situation as you. Hats off to you!
So I would like to thank the airline staff that put up with this kind of circus on the daily, the fact that you can still greet me with a smile after all you are put through, warms my heart. I completely understand any surly looks that might be pointed in my direction because I’ve seen what you’ve had to put up with for the last 10 hours. I promise I will only push the attendant button when I really REALLY need a drink.
So my friends, do you even air plane? What has been your funniest/worst/weirdest/most enjoyable experience while flying through the air to nearby and foreign lands? Has someone tried to hug you? Have you been the one hugging? What’s your ideal setup in the home base that is your assigned seat?
I want to hear it, share it and laugh with you.
Fasten your seatbelt and happy travels.
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