Airline Etiquette

Read the fine print on your next airline ticket.  There’s a lot of it.  These are the written rules of modern airline travel… short version:  the airlines aren’t responsible if shit goes wrong – suck it up.

As if these weren’t enough?  There are the verbal instructions we get from gate agents and flight attendants!  “Board only when your zone is called”.  “Don’t you listen?  I said sit down and shut the fuck up – we’re not boarding yet!” and “Please put your seat back in it’s upright, locked and most uncomfortable position….”.

There are also unwritten rules.  Polite travelers – hell, polite humans – just know these things.  One that i abide by – not only in the interest of karma – is that the person in a middle seat has rights to BOTH middle armrests.  They’ve already drawn the short straw by being in a middle seat, so the least that can be done if for the window and aisle passengers to cede this often disputed territory to the monkey in the middle.

Outbound yesterday, en route to my latest adventure in drunkeness and debaucheryanother gruelling business trip, i had a window seat.   Row 42 of a Boeing 757* SardineLiner.  On a completely full flight, i was certain that there would be no vacant middle seat – and my seat mate arrived just prior to the door closing. 

She was a youngish thing – pony-tailed and carrying a lot of crap.  Took her awhile to stow her gear, but she tucked into her seat, and i curled up against the window.  i was soundly asleep before we even took off…

Until the gymnastics started.  As i stated above, i’m quite willing to concede the armrest territory.  i am NOT, however, willing to extend that turf 4″ into my personal space.  i was awakened by her elbows about 10 minutes into the flight.  Popping on my headphones, i re-settled myself and hoped she was settled in as well.

Nope.  The next thing to come my way was her pillow.  The goofy kid was trying to sleep in a middle seat, and had her left leg up and over the other armrest, a foot pushed against the back of the seat in front of her, and her head within inches of mine.  If this were a long haul flight, i’d be a bit more sympathetic – but it was a fucking HOUR!  You can’t sit upright and stay awake for an HOUR? 

More aggravating?  She kept sighing and re-adjusting herself – such an invonvenience to be stuck in a middle seat.  Poor dear.  Sucks to be her.  Especially when i took back my armrest. 

Trying to sleep sideways in the narrow seat of a 757?   Not a good idea unless you can put your feet behind your head, honey…

You ought to see what i can do on a regional jet, baby!

You ought to see what i can do on a regional jet, baby!

*One of my least favorite planes – crowded, uncomfortable seats.  Although these days, a plane that gets successfully from point a to point b is winning my crusty travel heart…

16 thoughts on “Airline Etiquette

  1. Daisyfae

    It could be worse … she could have had flatulence. It happened to me on a recent return flight from DCA (Reagan Airport in DC for those who have not memorized or visited many airports) to home. Very poor consideration for your fellows.

  2. I make it a point to eat two…no three…cans of brown beans just hours before my flight. Ahhhhh! Anticipating the aroma!

    Re: the above pic? Is that a human female “presenting”?

    I’se jus’ wonderin’…

    Seriously, though, air travel has become sooooo unattractive. Don’t you fly enough to get gold status? And upgrades? Oh, jebus….you’re prolly flyin’ Southwest or something aren’t you?

  3. I didn’t know that unwritten rule about middle seat rights to both armrests. I’ve always worked on the principle that both armrests are MINE no matter where I’m sitting 🙂

  4. Reading this makes me so look forward to my trip to the US later this year. That’s Cape Town – Johannesburg – Atlanta – Florida. In one go. That’s about 27 hours straight travelling time, excluding the five hour transit in Atlanta. Can I take a gun?

  5. Pingback: PS « The Ultra, the Fabulous, the only, Miss P!

  6. unbearable banishment – the only thing to do on a plane? sleep. you need headphones, a neck pillow and a book in case you can’t sleep. if you can’t sleep? fake it…

    BLT – i learned an interesting nugget a few years ago… when a person has gas on a plane — and is travel savvy — the best thing to do is release the gas as you walk down the aisle to the lavatory. The flight attendants call this “crop dusting”. No way to pin it to an individual… brilliant!

    KJ – you’re too hot to keep under wraps! i’m tellin’ you sister, you need to get out there…

    dave – agreed, but there has to be a mutual consent of some sort. personal hygeine is a substantial variable, here, and i don’t want some gnarly dudes headgrease mucking up my blazer…

    rob – i’ve flown next to you. and apparently? so has the BLT! i log 50K miles/year on average – just not always on one airline. And living in a ‘medium’ market? regional jets are the norm – which have NO UPGRADE potential. which sucks hard and out loud. i get upgrades on flights that have the seats about 20% of the time. this year? on track for maybe 100K miles, so maybe my odds will improve…

    alex – because the photo was taken on a friday, of course!

    nm – you can have armrests, legrests and headrests. you are a goddess. all bow down in your presence…

    annie – i hate the ‘almost touching’ clothing contact that is inevitable when in a middle seat… makes me sort of itchy, and i curl up and withdraw as far away as possible…

    uncle keith – what? did i write something?

    Miss P – several recommendations, starting with this: Knee Defender – it’s cheap and can save you many headaches. keeps the guy in front of you from reclining… typically, you put them on the tray table of your seat shortly after take off – but want to give the guy in front of you a little room so he doesn’t realize he’s being ‘jammed’. you want to pick your seat as far forward in the cabin as possible – if you have a choice. you also may want to be heavily medicated and in a window seat for the long haul portion of the flight. i find that an antihistimine and a beer in the airport prior to take off work very well. good luck…

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