Airlines Are A Pain But We, The Travelers, Have Potential For GreatnessMary Traina

Let’s not point fingers. We all, within our puny, humanoid frames, possess the ability to be obnoxious monsters when traveling. I’ll start with myself so as to make everyone more comfortable. One time, I poured a full glass of water, set it on my tray table untouched, then settled in for a nap during which I jerked and knocked the water all over. I should say two times. I have done this twice. So you see? We are all terrible sometimes. But from now on, let’s leave terrible to the airlines. We can do better! I thought it might be useful for us to put our heads together and think of ways to improve conditions for each other in flight. It is time for summer vacations, after all! I’ll start.

Don’t paint your nails while on the plane. Once a person next to me did this and then seemed very put out that the flight attendant asked her to stop. Words were exchanged. I pretended to be super engrossed in a Friends rerun.

Don’t try to keep a conversation alive with the person next to you. Maybe you feel you’ve made a new best friend or love connection or grandma figure for yourself, but if they seem laser focused on their knitting, I’m sorry, buddy, it’s just not working out.

“Dance as though no one is watching you. Love as though you have never been hurt before. Sing as though no one can hear you…”
is great life advice from Mark Twain that you should absolutely not follow while on a plane. During airline travel, you do none of these things and you look indifferent while doing it. You live life to the “meh”-est for the sake of the weary travelers around you.

Don’t steal certain people’s assigned window seat that they were looking forward to and then act like they are a little nerd and it’s not a big deal for them to sit in the middle seat. I’m not crying, it’s just dry in here so my eyes are watering!

Don’t fight with your boyfriend or girlfriend in a row where it’s just you, your boyfriend or girlfriend and one lonely stranger who feels awkward. I was that lonely stranger one time and… actually, I was pretty entertained. That’s a DO!

Try to cover your thighs and maybe even armpits. When I’m in close quarters with strangers, trapped thousands of feet above the ground, I become a total prude. Ugh, I know. Who brought grandma, right? Usually I’m totes chill. It must be the high altitude, guys. Science.

Share reading material with fellow passengers. Magazines are expensive. Celebrity gossip is meant to be shared. Just finished reading something classy like The New Yorker? I will gladly find the caption contest.

Don’t let your toddler goad you into a conversation that is terrifying to other passengers.
Conversation between a child and her father on my last flight:

Daughter: Open the window, daddy?

Father: We can’t open windows, honey.

D: (tugging at the window) Why not, daddy? Open the window.

F: The plane needs to maintain pressure. Opening the windows would throw off that delicate balance and we wouldn’t stay in the air.

D: (tugging at the window) We wouldn’t stay in the air?

F: No, so we leave the windows closed.

D: (clawing at the window) Delicate balance, Daddy?

F: (quietly reading Entertainment Weekly)

D: (clawing becomes more and more determined)

Me: Stop it! YOU’LL KILL US ALL!!!

So there you have it. If you see me on a plane, please follow these tips accordingly. Or maybe I’ve just invited you to antagonize me. Either way, my reaction will be meh and indifferent because I am a woman of my word (blog).
Image via Shutterstock

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  1. love this list! I’m going on my first solo international flight next week and I hope that everyone abides by these guidelines for the long 10 hour flight!

  2. Great list! I’ll add another, not as humorous as yours, but: respect the fact that people are sitting in the chair behind/in front of you. Keep your knees out of their back and remember everytime you put your chair pack you are potentially squishing someone behind you. Just because you can’t see their face doesn’t mean they aren’t silently cursing you.
    The last flight I flew was FULL of children. Kids who screamed, kids who ran unsupervised in the aisle.. up and down, up and down, laughing, squealing, interupting my nap… kids who played with iPhones with the volume all the way up so the whole plane could enjoy the sound of gunfire or cartoon death. So at the end of my flight I took the time to praise the family next to me, who kept their kid amused/content (ok he slept most of the way, but still..) for having a well behaved child. Praise is as important as silently cursing people :)