Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Guest Blog - The Traveler

Top 10 Etiquette Rules of Flying by The Traveler

So based on my comment to a blog regarding the bush league practice of requesting to swap higher quality airline seats for lower quality seats, it was asked of me “Hey Traveler, you should totally write a guest blog on this matter”. Ok, he didn’t say it like a 16 year old girl, but it sounded funnier and hey I got to make the whole “16 year old girl” joke. On to the rules!

Now these are in order of boarding to deplaning and not necessarily importance.

10. Pre-boarding: Look at the little card in your hand and use common sense. If it says Group 3, you do not board first. First Class always boards first, then Status members, then everyone else. If you are on an Embraer where everyone is First Class and there are three groups to board starting from Group 3, YOU STILL DON’T BOARD FIRST! The people who fly week in and week out board first and then Group 3 boards and 2 and so on. This has two parts:

A. Don’t try and sneak on to get your luggage on board. This is very poor form.
B. Don’t stand at the entrance to the boarding line like they may magically call group 4 before they call group 6 or 1 (or First Class or Status). All you are doing is blocking the way and angering people. This, by the way, should be punishable by a public slapping.

9. When you get on the plane, stick your roll-aboard in the over head compartment and move in to the aisle to take off any extraneous garment you don’t want on your person during the flight. This is not Paris, Milan, L.A. or New York. This is not your personal runway. Other people are trying to board and you essentially are holding up the process of taking off.

8. Luggage stowage: If you have two items. One goes under your seat. If you have a small item only, THIS STILL goes under your seat. Taking up precious overhead space is bush league. If you are sitting in Row 28, your luggage is not that heavy. You have lugged it around all day and another 50 feet will not kill you. DO NOT put your luggage in the bin above aisle 10 or so help me… All this does is slow the boarding process because the people in Aisle 10 have to find a place for their belongings and inevitably it will slow the deplaning process.

7. Sit in your assigned seat. Again look at that little card in your hand and do the math. Oh and don’t try and sit in the exit row seats (the poor man’s First Class) and think the frequent flyer who got that seat will just see you and say “Oh I better find another seat”.

6. Flight Attendants: Be nice to these people. Do not refer to them as stewardesses. This is not 1950. These people are there to ensure your safety (As much as anyone outside of the cockpit can). They are not there to wait on you hand and foot. If you are rude to them then that puts them in a foul mood and the rest have to suffer. Oh and don’t be surprised if you get a sneezer.

5. Seat positioning: If you have the bladder of a new born puppy, don’t choose the window seat. In fact don’t choose the middle seat unless you can not help it. If you are not able to help it you are to be on a liquid fast 3 hours prior to take off and during the entire flight. Because the first time you get up to go to the bathroom people will understand. The third or fourth time, you may get lynched.

4. Swapping seats: Don’t ask to do this unless the swap is equitable. (See my Comment on Airline Etiquette Lesson #1). If you are traveling for pleasure and you book far enough in advance you should be able to sit next to your companion. Go online to the airline’s website and make this happen. I know you can do it! If the airline screws up and moves you to another flight then my apologies but don’t make me suffer for their mistake. If you book a Super Saver seat and end up having to take the left-over seats then that is your bad.

3. Leaning back: Don’t lean back if you don’t plan on sleeping. I and many others on the plane are trying to work. We have laptops and it is very difficult to work with our laptop screen in our Adam’s apple. I don’t mind if you are sleeping but don’t sit there and have a conversation with another person reclined like you are in a Laz-y-boy at your house.

2. I don’t want to talk to you: Nobody wants to talk to you. Question: Do I come to your car and sit there and talk to you while you are going to work? That is exactly what we are doing. There is a 90% chance that if you see someone in a suit or dress slacks and shirt on Monday morning, the same attire on Thursday evening, or wearing jeans and a haggard look then there is a good chance that person is going to or returning from work. I may chit chat with you. You know, “price of tea in China” type conversation. This is mere politeness. It is not an invitation to yap for the next three and a half hours.

1. Deplaning: Ok here are the rules. They are simple. Do not chit chat. Each row on the plane leaves. If you have issues getting your roll-aboard down move inside and struggle there. Let the other people off the plane. I am finally getting home and don’t want to have to sit there and listen to your conversation or determine that you need to hit the gym. Do not try to get your briefcase to connect to your roll-a-board before getting off the jet-way and clear of the entrance. This is still blocking everyone and you are not nimble enough to maneuver your luggage as so. This is the airplane equivalent to rubber-necking in traffic and it angers others.

So you ask what give The Traveler the right to make these bold statements. Last week, I was in another city and The Airline calls me. “Mr. The Traveler, we noticed that you did not fly with us during the month of December and we wanted to check in and make sure everything was ok, and that there was nothing we did to discourage you from flying with us.” To which I responded that everything was fine and that I had a slow month. I also find it ironic that they were calling me in March about December when I had flown 20 times or so since then. Oh well just goes to show how “important” I am.

The Travler


Abby said...

I have an uncanny knack for being behind the habitual recliner especially on international flights. Being an insomniac, this also makes it difficult to watch the movies or eat off the tray. I even had one trip where the seat infront of my wasn't taken and the guy on that row reclined his seat then moved to the one infront of me and reclined it too. In that case, we asked him (nicely) to pick one. It was either that, or attack him in his sleep :P

palomita said...

I think I recently broke rule #6. I had a brief but tense encounter with a flight attendant, but for the record...she was rude first. Or terse, at the very least. Nevertheless, I decided not to eat any food for fear of the potential for a 'sneezer'.