Emily Lund: Travels with Emily, Series 2: On An Airplane (Next week…In a Hotel)

1. Do not assume that you can move seats (unless you are flying Southwest). I have arrived at my assigned seat on 3 separate occasions only to find someone sitting in it.  These are the responses I received when confronting “person in my seat.”

a. “I am going to sit here so I can sit across the aisle from my husband.  I am afraid to fly and need him to hold my hand.”

b. “I prefer sitting next to the window.  You can sit in my seat; it’s the middle seat.”

c. “I’m a (gold, platinum, diamond, sapphire, ruby- emerald, sequins) member.  She couldn’t upgrade me to economy plus, but I’m gonna sit here anyway.”

Shockingly enough, my response in each occasion was, “Oh HELL no!”  There are certainly occasions where I have moved seats to accommodate other people’s’ phobias or familial separations.  However, each of those times, someone asked me before he/she just occupied my God given seat.  If you got screwed on the seat assignment, do not just plop yourself down anywhere you feel looks good.  Ask before you move and if the response is no, deal with your shitty seat and do a better job of checking-in and selecting your seat next time.

2. Give the people in the middle seat the arm rest. It is bad enough that you are seated in the crappy middle seat.  You can’t easily get out to go to the bathroom, stretch your legs, or rest your head on the window.  You’ve got nothing.  You are humiliated and feel like a lesser passenger. The armrests are the only thing that gives the middle seat person a small sense of normalcy, of humanity.  If you are fortunate enough to have one of the other two seats (aisle or window), do your civic duty and give the middle seat the armrest.

3. Get up out of your seat when letting someone else get to his/her seat. There is barely enough room for your knees in the aisle of an airplane seat row.  Do not kid yourself into thinking that just squinching up your legs a little is going to be enough room to let anyone (even an anorexic) pass.  Get up out of your seat, move to the aisle and let the person in.  I am not sure why this is so difficult for people sitting in the aisle seat to understand but I am 100% sure those are the same people who won’t get up to let people pass at the theater or at a sporting event.  DICKS!

4. Do not assume people sitting next to you want to talk to you. I like talking just as much as the next person, but I also really like sleeping or not thinking about anything.  I don’t know you and I don’t really want to make a new friend for a period of 1 hour and 53 minutes.  I really don’t want to hold your hand or talk about the scary flights you endured over the last 56 years of your life.  If you see someone with headphones on, engrossed in a book or a Sudoku, or looking out the window, he/she probably does not want to chat it up.  Find another distraction.

5. Turn off your electronic devices.  Okay, fine, you are not going to crash the plane if you don’t turn them off.  However, the flight attendants go crazy for this rule and you should at least hide your electronic device if you aren’t going to follow the rule.  Also, when it’s dark on the plane, it is painfully obvious that you haven’t turned off your electronic device; we can all see the glow on your forehead.

6. Do not have sex in an airplane bathroom. Also, don’t take your bare feet to the bathroom to have sex.   You really truly do not want to expose more than you have to in the airplane bathroom.  If you can hold it, I would recommend not using it at all.  Doing anything in that dirty, germ infested, stale aired, micro-toilet capsule is disgusting.  Having actual sex in there is not only vile but much too physically demanding for something that is supposed to be enjoyable.  Gross!

7. Don’t bring your smelly food on the plane. Please don’t pull out your extra spicy beef jerky, or crack open a fresh can of gefilte fish. Yes, my husband did sit next to someone who did this.  We are all sitting in very close quarters.  Some occasions, there is turbulence.  Having smelly food on the plane just adds to the nausea that we might all be experiencing.  Please stick to saltines and water.  It makes the experience better for all of us.

8. Don’t clip your nails or floss your teeth. Please do not do this in your seat.  I had a woman clip her finger and toe nails in the seat next to me.  DNA was flying across the plane and directly into my eye.  There was not enough Purell in the world to protect me from what was being sprung across the plane.  The airplane seats are not your bathroom.  Please don’t perform activities you’d normally perform in your bathroom in your seat.

9. Don’t fart. Just because planes are loud and we normally can’t hear your farts, doesn’t mean we can’t smell them.  Air on a plane is 50% recycled so we get to continue to experience your stank ass over and over again.  If you wouldn’t fart in front of a bunch of people in a quiet and small room, don’t fart on the plane.

10. Be aware of your backpack or bag.  I have seen many people get smacked in the head with a passing backpack.  When you are walking down the aisle, your backpack is right at face level of those people sitting in the aisle seat.  If you turn slightly or reach for an overhead bin, you could very possibly take an eye out or knock a baby to the diseased airplane floor.

ADDED BONUS ADVICE!  Do not assume that someone dating or married to a pilot is a flight attendant. WHAT IN THEEEE HELL!???  Frequently, when I travel with my husband, he wears his pilot costume.  On the plane (while a passenger),  everyone seated around us loves to talk to my husband about his awesome job, ask him questions about what noise the airplane is making, the scariest thing that has ever happened to him, and how many ladies he’s banged in Sioux Falls, Iowa.    Those same people turn directly to me and ask, “Are you a flight attendant?”  This offends me to the core.  Flight attendants are primarily there for your safety and have to take a lot of abuse and deal with adult children all day long.  I am not discrediting the work they do.  However, I am not, nor ever will be a flight attendant.  Why couldn’t I be a pilot too; why would I have to be the lesser status member of my marital union?  When I tell people I am an IT director, no one turns to my husband and says, “Are you her administrative assistant?”  The year is 2013, travelers.  Get with it!

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