“Jetiquette:” Manners for the Refined Flyer.
A few years back, I was flying a charter from Acapulco to DFW. On board were 130-some passengers who had just disembarked from a cruise ship there in the Acapulco harbor. On climb out, I had the passenger address system audio feed in my headset mix just low enough to hear it, but high enough to understand what was going on in back. And I was so shocked I had to take a look for myself.
“I want all of the hitting, pushing and name calling stopped right now,” a flight attendant said firmly, as if talking to a kindergarten class on a field trip. But I saw it with my own eyes: 130 senior citizens, cranky and bickering about god-knows-what. Which proves my main point.
That is, the main hassle for air travelers is other air travelers. Seriously.
And the most important thing for you to remember about your own air travel is that for other air travelers–you are the other air traveler.
Still with me? That was a roundabout way to say that if everyone on board worried about their own behavior, everyone on board would have a better travel experience. What I’m talking about is “Jetiquette,” or proper manners on a jet. This it would seem is a lost art, but we can resurrect the basics and thereby rescue air travel from the cattle car experience it has devolved into.
Let’s start simple. Here is your on-board world.
Now looking at the spatial dimensions of this area designed for three butts, if you have one of these
don’t even ask, “Do you mind if I put the armrest up?” The answer is “Yes, I mind–I do not want your buttocks flowing over me like hail-damaged Naugahyde for the entire flight.”
Now, continuing with basic Jetiquette, how do you politely get out of your seat? Please tell me you use one or both of those armrests you see there. Because if you’re using the seatback in front of you to hoist your carcass out of your seat, you’re that rude guy on the plane.
The seat in front of you is not your handhold–somebody’s sitting in it and you disturb them rudely if you mess with their seat. Get it? Push yourself up using any part of your seat, don’t pull yourself up using someone else’s. It’s really not that hard–you just have to think about someone else for a change.
Face it, there isn’t much space but what little there is doesn’t all belong to you. So here’s a thought that seemingly doesn’t occur to many folks on-board the jet:
YOU’RE NOT AT HOME.
So basically, keep all of your clothing on–including your shoes. Nothing gets the galley mafia pissed off faster than seeing some slob with his or her feet up against the bulkhead. You will be “that guy,” the one they view with silent but distinct disgust, the one who will only get attention as a revolting example of poor public manners. And while we’re on the subject of bare or stocking feet:
Why do you suppose this guy is wearing layers of protective clothing? It’s because he’s servicing the lavatory where for some unknown reason, supposedly rational people are walking around without shoes. Now, we don’t mind you mopping up the lav floor for us, but it gags everyone on the crew to know you’re doing it.
That’s pretty much what you’re doing in an airline lav in flight. So don’t.
Finally, let’s talk about personal space. Well, there isn’t any in coach. So Jetiquette demands that you at least keep your bodily smells–especially your breath–either inside at all times, or at least wash before you board and not incidentally, brush your teeth. Those seated next to you will appreciate your basic hygiene–or especially, the lack thereof.
Okay, that’s the basics of Jetiquette and if you’re planning to be aboard for any flight, you need to consider at least this much of the fundamentals. If we all remember our manners, we can bring back the good old days of air travel that never really were–but the fable gives us all something to gripe about now.
And when all else fails: