Friday, June 12, 2009

on how to fly

Not so much flying lessons, but passenger etiquette:
  1. Check-in. Tempting as it may be, don't feign ignorance or possession of a pram as a reason to use the priority check-in queue. Us frequent flyers have sweated for this privilege. And that "you're not really going to send me to the back of that queue over there, are you?" look is going to fall on suitably deaf ears. Or blind eyes, as the case may be. You knew you were trying to pull one.
  2. Boarding. Take out whatever you will need on the plane before you board. If you must spend five minutes deciding which books/magazines/ipods/drugs/entertainment you need to pull out of your bag, please step into your seat row and out of the aisle. Remember, you only need to make it until they turn off the fasten seat belt sign. Also, people put valuables and breakables in their carry-on - leave the violent baggage handling to the professionals on the tarmac.
  3. Seat pocket. You know how you can feel it when the person behind puts things in and out of the seat pocket? Well, you're doing the same to the person in front of you. Magazines and small items only, the seats are uncomfortable enough without an apple in the small of your back.
  4. Departure. Seat back in the upright position and tray table locked during takeoff. No need to test them beforehand. If you have a child, please inform them that playing with the seat back, tray table, and seat pocket is a no-presents-from-Santa-this-year offence. Bring restraints if the child is prone to kicking the seat in front of them.
  5. In the air. A simple check behind you before reclining is appropriate. Press the button while leaning forward, and then slowly push back into the seat. To get out of your seat, use the armrests and your seat back for leverage, not the one in front. I have been catapulted out of many a hard won nap by the forward grab and release method.
  6. Space. Aisle and window seats have one non-challengeable armrest each, plus other benefits, so a sandwiched person should have at least one armrest allocated to them. Your size does not give you automatic armrest rights. Feet should be positioned within the armrest boundaries, as should shoes, handbags and superfluous blankets and pillows. Where one seat is significantly disadvantaged by the entertainment system box, the passenger should be allowed some courtesy space beyond the armrest boundary.
  7. Deplaning. If you are from a row behind me, don't even try to leave before me.
By paying heed to these small rules, you can ensure that my, oops I mean your, next flying experience is at least tolerable.