Few things will jack up a traveler's day more than a flight delay and they aren't always the result of weather like Hurricane Sandy or last weekend's snowstorm Nemo. Sometimes travelers themselves can cause a plane to sit on the runway longer than necessary, so today we're taking on that challenge.
I've had years when I've traveled just four times and other years it's been more like 24. Regardless of the frequency, I sincerely do my best to be uber-conscious of manners, courtesy and try to avoid annoying or inconveniencing others. If you aren't a frequent flier, you may not even be aware that some of the things you do may incite the unspoken wrath of those around you. I acknowledge I'm not a perfect human, but I am happy to share these eight tips to help you be prepared, stay organized and be a more courteous sky traveler.
1. Don't try to pretend your refrigerator-size rolling bag is actually a carry-on. We all have eyes and can see you've packed half of everything you own. So here's an idea... suck it up and pay the baggage fee or learn to pack lighter. (As an aside, I'd also like to know why flight attendants don't proactively lasso those ginormous bags and gate-check them.)
2. Ladies with purses (and gentlemen with shoulder-strap briefcases): Please set it on top of your roller bag or carry it in your hand, rather than on your shoulder as you come down the aisle. Nobody enjoys getting smacked in the face with your "personal item" even if it is Louis Vuitton and made of leather as soft as a suckling lamb's behind.
3. Here's a biggie: Assume everyone gets ONE SPOT in the overheads. If you have two bags, put your smaller item under the seat in front of you, so the rest of us who would also like to stow our bags may do so and don't end up standing in the aisle desperately seeking overhead space and holding up take-off. One bag up, one bag down. It ain't rocket science.
4. Pull your Chapstick, a pen, phone, iPad, earbuds and anything else you think you''ll need during flight out of your carry-on bag before you get on the plane. Standing in the aisle rummaging through your bag while people line up behind you isn't ideal if you want an on-time take-off.
5. Your seat back does recline a full three inches but bear in mind the person behind you might have a drink or a laptop on the tray table (which is connected to your seat) so how 'bout you eaaaase that seat back into the recline position instead of slamming it backward, eh Cowboy?
6. Don't hog the arm rest. Seriously dude. I know I'm a petite woman and I'm smaller than you but if you insist on taking the entire armrest, we're gonna have the "Armrest 101" conversation where I'll explain to you in a voice loud enough for those around you to hear, that you get EITHER the front half OR the back half and not both halves. Yes I have done this.
7. When the flight attendant asks you what you want to drink, don't blink in surprise as if you just now noticed the rolling mini-bar coming down the aisle. If you aren't a frequent flier, you may actually not know which sodas, juices and cocktails are available in the sky. But here's a hint: It's not a restaurant. Don't order an Old Fashioned. When the flight attendant says "Check the back of your in-flight magazine for a complete listing of of soft drinks, juices and cocktails" it's a good idea to do that. In advance.
8. Am I the only Crabby McCrabberson who is annoyed when the people from row 27 suddenly appear beside my seat IN ROW 12 before the folks in business class are even standing up? Listen champ, we all want to rush off the plane and hit the nearest airport Orange Julius, but chill out. Just ONCE I'd like to experience a plane emptying in an orderly fashion from the front to the back just like you file out of the church at a wedding. Is that really too much to ask? *
* In the event you're making a tight connection, of COURSE you can run out of the last row like your hair was on fire and I'm MORE than happy to stay seated and wait for you. We've all had tight connections to make. But those of you who fake that you're connecting and really aren't? That's just wrong. And you know who you are.