Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Urban etiquette: Modern Air Travel

Lo, we are here in Peak Travel Season. You know what the busiest travel day of the year is? WHATEVER DAY I'M FLYING. On the one hand, the availability of reasonably-priced airline tickets has made the convenience and speed of air travel available to Americans of all income classes. On the other hand, the availability of reasonably-priced airline tickets has made the convenience and speed of air travel available to Americans of all income classes. Now that I have seen (1) a guy spitting tobacco juice into a bottle, (2) mouth-breathing mall rats loudly comparing their sexual and alcoholic misadventures, and (3) people wearing what appear to be their pajamas and taking off their shoes, all within 2 rows of me, the Ship of Air Travel Decorum has long since sailed, crashed into an iceberg, and come to rest at the bottom of the Southwest Airlines Ocean.

Perhaps if we all agree to follow a few simple tips we can make the experience more palatable for all of us.


Here is our first chance to get a look at our fellow passengers up close. Ew, that's enough. Say, could we maybe silence the feature that makes your cell phone keyboard audibly CLICK every time you type a letter? Because your CLICK CLICK CLICK is slowly driving me insane. Otherwise, go to town: this is your chance to get the ya-yas out of your system before we're all imprisoned together in a metal tube at 39,000 feet.


No issues here! Just sit back and enjoy the complimentary gourmet meal we will be served.

Not really. What I need you to do is sit quietly in your seat.

Unless you're Miranda Kerr or Freddy Sanchez, I probably don't want to talk.

If you're in the window seat, you get one trip to the bathroom per flight, so plan accordingly. I would go in the airport right before you board and then think dry thoughts.

It's fine to carry on your luggage - fuck, since it takes a minimum of 30 minutes at SFO for them to get the luggage on the goddam carousel, you should always carry on unless you're going to Tibet or something - but if you somehow manage to sneak one of those sarcophagus-sized rolling monsters past the gate agent and then fill up an entire overhead bin with it, there is a special place in Hell for you where you keep getting bumped from your flight over and over again for all eternity.

Are you trying to have a conversation with the person across the aisle from you? Do you know why you have to YELL? Because you're 35 feet away from a 40,000 horsepower Pratt & Whitney jet engine. You are not going to win this fight. STFU and talk about it when you get to Raleigh-Durham.

Did you just laugh out loud to something you saw in "Mr. Popper's Penguins"? Now the whole world knows. That's sad.


OK! We've landed. EVERYONE JUMP INTO THE AISLE. Our latest scientific research has shown that standing in the aisle increases your chances of getting off the plane sooner by around ZERO FUCKING PERCENT. I know you're going to do it anyway, but next time, ask yourself, "Why am I standing in the aisle?"

Once you get your bag and make it down the jetway and into the airport, make sure you FREEZE AT THE DOORWAY and look around at this strange and magical land called Phoenix Sky Harbor and MAKE SURE no one else can get around you. Now you're doing it right!

We look forward to serving you again soon.


GG said...

I'd really like someone to do an independent study interviewing those people who stand up the second the plane lands, about what they're thinking. I'm genuinely curious. I always request an aisle seat, so I have to admit that it IS fun when I get someone who squirms anxiously nonstop starting when the wheels touch the ground as soon as they realize I am not going to stand up until the couple of rows in front of us start to exit and OH GOD THEY ARE TRAPPED.

periqueblend said...

The people who freeze after clearing the jetway tunnel are the same people who stop at the top of an escalator.

When Putin brings back the Siberian gulags, I hope they can be sent there.

Skance said...

Also, I'd like to reiterate that your ARM-REST is what you should use to propel your giant ass up and out of your seat.Don't use the back of my seat, as if to catapult me down the aisle.

Tamagosan said...

Oh, this made me LOL, mainly the sarcophagus bit. And did you know that when they encourage you to check bags at the gate, passengers do so for free? Um, loophole in the baggage fees anyone?

My flying experiences over the last year+ have been actually quite fantastic since my trips to and from Guam somehow pushed me into some sort of elite status thing where you have ALMOST half the perks as you did ten years ago. That is all coming to a crashing halt (teehee!) very soon and I will once again simply channel George Carlin when I step onto a plane.

periqueblend: You are so right. I almost always bike to work, but I've been sick and so BART it is. People just STOP at the top of the escalator. WHAT IS THAT?? Also, am I right for being bitchy about people standing on the left. I've gotten in trouble for being a citified snob when I grumble "stand on the right, walk on the left" in airports here and there. The bf claims that not everyone is used to a city pace. But is everyone not used to elevators? Standing? Walking? Doing things right-handedly in America? Thinking about your surroundings? Oh, yeah, that last one, a toughie.

OK I think it's time for more espresso. I typed that in more than 6 seconds.............

Tamagosan said...


Filippa said...

So very true -- especially the part about passengers jumping into the aisle after the aircraft lands. For people who are in a hurry, this tendency to crowd on the aisle can be irritating. Oh well, a change for the better is always welcome. In this instance, the change should come from each individual -- by making a conscious effort not to delay the person behind him.

Filippa Sartini

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