If you were the guy sitting in 29F yesterday, I really hope you're reading this.
I'm generally unflappable and not easily annoyed by people, but that goes out the window when I'm traveling by airplane. I imagine the frustration to be the same as Gordon Ramsay might feel if I was his sous chef. I travel many many days per year and am very good at it, which is obviously not normal.
You may not travel as much, so let me share some suggestions from someone who's way at the end of that bell curve to help make the experience better for you and everyone else in the plane.
1. Know in advance how to go through security and prepare for it before getting in the line. Do you need to take off your jacket or shoes? Do you need to take things out of your bag? Do you still have liquids in there that you will insist you don't have until the TSA agent shows them to you? The x-ray machine is for minimal staging. Be ready in advance. If there is an empty space ahead of you on the conveyer belt, you messed up. The checkers are slower than anyone unloading should be. If I see an empty space I cut the line, drop my single bag, and go through security.
2. NEVER put your bag in a higher row's overhead bin. Lower is ok. The worst deplaners are the salmon who sat in 8A but put their bags above 15C. As a rule I do not let people get past me to go backwards when deplaning. Even one row back is somewhat offensive. Ahead of you is good because by then that area will be clear and you can grab your bag easily while walking. Ideally you should just have one small bag and put it under the seat in front of you, but that's not always possible.
3. If you are in the middle seat you get TWO armrests. If you are aisle or window you get one, and it's not the one towards the middle. Being overweight doesn't give you the right to take the middle guy's armrest.
4. If you are in the window seat, you get one bathroom break per six hours of flight time, and only one maximum when middle and aisle are sleeping. If you didn't choose the window seat on purpose, I guess you're exempt. If you know you will have to pee a lot, try to take an aisle.
5. You can always recline your seat, but try not to do it on a short flight unless the person in front of you has already done so. The benefit is so slight unless you're sleeping, but it makes laptop use behind you very difficult.
6. Do not take up anyone else's space. Look at where the breaks between the seats are. That's your zone, and that includes your elbows and knees. Airlines have made seats pretty tiny, we all put up with it, but it's only really bearable if none of your seat is taken up by your neighbor. This includes obese people. If you're obese, buy two seats, a bigger seat, or at least a window seat where you lean all the way up against the wall the whole time. I get that this isn't entirely fair, but it's less fair for your seatmate to have some of his limited space taken through no fault of his own.
7. Go ahead and eat on the plane. This is a little controversial, since the smells can affect others, but airlines don't give you food, so I get it.
8. When deplaning, let the person ahead of you out before you, but if they aren't ready and you have no overhead bags, just run past them and get out of the way. You should be trying to get off the plane as soon as possible but should never slow someone down who is in front of you by cutting them.
Seats on airplanes keep getting smaller and smaller, and airlines keep cutting amenities. We are obviously okay with this as we like the cheaper fares and don't mind the inconveniences all that much, but we can make the experience better for each other by being a little bit more considerate and efficient when we're crammed in that amazing flying tube together.
Oddly I had no photos of planes or inside planes!
Re: security protocols, I totally agree with the way it SHOULD work. But people are idiots. Hope they all read this. However, I think cutting the line is kind of an a-hole move. I'd do it if I'm basically at the conveyor as well and the person in front of me is futzing around and the entire belt is empty, but I certainly wouldn't jump ahead to fill a single spot. That's as obnoxious as the people who are idiots. I also disagree with part of #2 - if people think it's okay to put their bag in a lower row, then the people sitting in the lower row won't have a spot for their bag, thus requiring it to be placed in a higher row, exacerbating the problem. I think Rule #2 should be revised to say "put your bag above your seat; if you got stuck placing your bag in a higher row, you have to wait for everyone else to deplane (or slowly make your way upstream when slow people leave large gaps) - don't expect people to let you move upstream." As to #5, I hate when people recline. I don't as a rule because I think it's pointless and annoying. I'm also tall and often working on flights, so I'm extra annoyed by it. I try to get seats in exit rows where the row in front can't recline. I strongly agree with #8. Mostly, I just think society needs a huge dose of courtesy and logic bestowed.
And only recline your seat slowly not suddenly, to give the passenger in the seat behind you time to protect their belongings from damage. My husband's laptop lid once got jammed between the table and seatback when the passenger in front jerked their seat back in one sudden movement.
Been following your blog for a while, thought of dropping a comment to say hi. So, Hi! Also, I have wondered myself what's the bathroom break rule for a window seater as myself. 6 hours is acceptable.Will keep it in mind
The six hour rule would never work for me (though I try hard to always get an aisle seat so as to not bother anyone else.) Second choice, fly with hubby and inconvenience him, but no one else. But even if I didn’t need to pee very often, DVT is a thing and it’s necessary (for me at least) to get up and move around at least once an hour. In doing so, I give up my preference for a window seat, but dead people don’t see much anyway.In general, though, the idea of “be a good neighbor” is applicable here, and I don’t disagree with that at all.
Cannot agree more about the armrests for the person in the middle seat. I've been stuck in the middle seat more often than not over the course of my travels this last year-plus, and the number of people who seem completely ignorant of this rule astounds me. How isn't this obvious?
Though, on the food point: By all means, eat. But can you at least try to eat less fragrant and less messy food items? These are small, enclosed spaces, folks.
For the most part I agree with you on all these points. The one I might take exception to is the higher row overhead bin use. I've never done it myself mind you, but I've seen situations where people in lower rows crammed way more than they should have into the bins over their area and made it impossible for someone arriving later to put their bags anywhere near their own seats. IMHO the airline staff should do a better job of monitoring this but it almost never happens so sometimes people get stuck putting their bags further back in the plane...
Wait, what happened to buying yourself a plane? Did you sell it already?
I never got it. By the time I could afford one I lost interest almost completely for some reason.
I'm curious. When traveling alone, do you tend towards aisle or window? I'm always interested in frequent flyers' answer to this. I used to have a strong preference for window (and I still love the ability to look out the window and lean my head on the wall when I do get a window seat) but the more I travel the more I prefer being in the aisle seat.
It's 2002 and I haven't even heard of the pickup community. It's a shame because there is just about nothing I need more.
I get on my plane, headed back to Austin. It's a late flight and there aren't too many people on it. I have a whole row to myself. I'm not paying attention, and before I know it we're airborne.
The cabin lights are off, but some people have their reading lights on, creating small islands of light in the darkness of the plane. The island in front of my is inhabited by two girls.
A young woman boards a plane heading from Dallas, Texas to Calgary, Canada. She takes her seat and strikes up a conversation with a dashing young man in the seat next to her. The plane lands and they go their seperate ways wishing that they had left any form of contact to the other. If you have seen any romantic comedy in the last decade you can probably assume what happens next. By some miraculous stroke of luck the two meet again and as the saying goes "they live happily ever after". How about we put a 21st century twist on this story and investigate further the true love story of Erica Domeseck, @psimadethis, and Clauco!Up to this point my story is completely true except for the part where I mention the miraculous stroke of luck. You see, Erica Domeseck is practically a professional at Twitter. She is one of those rare breeds of people that knows how to use the power of social media to get what she wants as well as WHO she wants. Lets take a look at a conversation that is sure to go down in Twitter or love history. There is so much that goes right with this trail of tweets that it makes me giddy at the sight of it. Lets start with the initial tweet at the top. Erica tweets directly at American Airlines without sounding desperate asking for a simple favor, using her flight number as a hashtag. Genius! Thank God someone at AA was monitoring their Twitter account because their initial response although weak, was prompt. If I were in Erica's position, I would be a little disappointed at this point, but lucky for American Airlines she is a relentless Twitter force of nature. This is where the fun starts. Its at this point that American Airlines has a very important decision to make. They can shoot her down and be forever known as the company that turned their backs on love or rise to the challenge and change this girls life forever! Let's watch what happens next. She did it! Erica Domeseck a person, got a major airline (American Airlines) to help in her quest for love by posting Clauco's description to the world. What an incredible deed! Now as you can probably guess this string of tweets went viral as the search continued with an appropriate hashtag #FindClauco. Now lets step back for a second and realize whats going on here. Remove the wedding veil if you will. This was not just some string of tweets between Erica and an airline company. This was a sophisticated and well thought out strategic move on both ends. You see Erica is in the business of helping people with DIY (do it yourself) projects and has devoted her twitter account to it. American Airlines saw the opportunity to appeal to our most important human emotion. Now to be fair they may truely be interested in her love interest but think of this slow rolling ball up the middle they've been served up. All they had to do was give support, stay broad and boom we have national news! Both pages are going to receive thousands of new visitors and probably some business. You see at the end of it all she found love at first flight but AA found love at first tweet. How did it all end? Turns out someone found Clauco! Erica quiltely announced that she found her handsom man and has been hush about the details. I wish them the best and for the sake of love hope its happily ever after for them. Nick Echeverry