After a regrettably unfortunate trip trapped in the belly of a giant- winged cylindrical pod carrying 321 human beings 35,000 feet above the ground at blazing speeds that shorten a week's trip by sea to seven hours by air, I thought Up the Ben should offer as does every other travel column, some Helpful Hints on Airplane Etiquette. The woman in the photo above has perhaps the best advice--begin your trip with a neck brace.
At the Airport:
1. If the security line snakes back through double rows and everybody is already late, think twice (or just think) about choosing Door A at TSA screening (the one with full body radiation which carries the large sign warning electronically implanted passengers not to use it if you have a heart pacemaker) and then scream halfway through, "Oh my god I have a heart pacemaker!"
2. Buy something before you board--anything. A newspaper, m and m's , book, martini, seaweed salad. Duty free has good deals on Johnny Walker which no one where you are going will want as a gift. Walk around a lot and look out windows. Watch other passengers crowd around the boarding call looking hopeful, wanting to be first to rush in to sit down and wait. See if you can figure out who got an op-up.
On the Plane
3. Try very hard not to spill an entire glass of water on your wife within a brief 30 minutes of takeoff. If you spill it anyway try not to insist that you didn't. If she has used her inflight fleece blanket to mop herself up, give her yours.
4. It is all right to kick the seat in front of you when its owner slams it backwards while you are eating dinner on your seatback tray. If the passenger in front of you retaliates and your dinner ends up on your husband give him back his fleece blanket.
5. If you are two parents traveling with one small child and one of you is seated in seats A and C so the child can have a window and the other is seated in D in the middle row across the corridor, thoughtfully avoid loud arguments about who does what when the child needs changing, feeding or entertaining nor, even more loudly, who is doing it wrong.
6. Keep in mind that if you choose to stick your metal -studded tongue out towards your co-parent across the aisle and then turn to your child to say nastily, "Daddy is in a mean mood" loudly enough for Daddy to hear, the rest of us will too.
7. If your child is fussy avoid filling him or her full of treats, even if you are desperate to be the parent doing it right.
8. When your child who has been filled with treats projectile vomits over the passenger in front of you who happens to be me, it is nice to apologize even if it means you will miss a moment of commandeering the entire crew of flight attendants attending to your personal needs.
9. If the child behind vomits on you and the entire crew is attending to its mother's personal needs, take the fleece blanket back from your husband.
10. If you are a person who likes to watch in -flight movies on your teeny tiny seat back monitor and you are seated behind someone who happens to be me and prefers to look out the amazing window while they are flying 35,000 feet above planet earth, it is not okay to lean forward to slam my window shade down so that you can see your monitor better.
11. When the rest of the cabin is trying to sleep and you sleep best with your seat back reclined into my stomach with your ipod turned to full volume, and your earbuds sort of get loose as you sleep-- don't expect them to still be there when you wake up.
11. When the plane has finally landed and the Flight Services Supervisor foolishly allows the use of portable electric devices, try not to use this as a public opportunity to call down your entire list of friends and relations to say,
"I'm here. Well, not really here yet. Still in the plane. No, we've just landed. Landed where? Oh didn't I tell you I was going? I know we haven't spoken in a while but...by the way what ever happened to that guy you were seeing?" and then keep them all updated on each stage as the seatbelt sign goes off, your bag is down from the overhead bin, you are in line to get off, you exit the plane and you are waiting for your luggage in the terminal.
"Yes, ten minutes now."
"Wait I think I see it."
"No, turned out it wasn't mine. How was I to know? Yeah, well I didn't know if the dent was from before I dropped it which would make it mine or after and the person's whose it actually was got really in my face about it. Why does everyone have to have black bags?
Hey, are you still there?"
12. Difficult as it is to ignore this behavior when it is happening all around you and you are jetlagged and tired, the screaming kid's tongue-pierced parents are yelling at each other about whose fault it is that his pacifier got left on the plane and you are holding on to the ragged ends of your good humor, remember that it is Highly Unlikely that these people will be on your return flight.
Have you had a similar flight? Care to add your own advice?