What To Do When Your Tray Table Is So Broken & Tilted That Stuff Slides Off It

This is what happened to me on my way home from meeting friends for a get-together in Rhode Island. We were all loaded onto the plane, I was settled into my seat and was up to the point where I could bring down the tray table in front of me so I could be served a Coke Pepsi (I was on JetBlue and they don’t serve Coke products anymore) product. I pulled the table down and, uh-oh, it was tilted towards me a little too much, which made everything slide towards me.

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So what do you do if this happens to you?

Unless there are some empty seats on your plane that you (and potentially your party) willing to switch to, you’re going to be stuck with a tilted tray table. Fortunately, there are a few things you may be able to do to decrease the slide. This first one was suggested to me by the flight attendant on my aforementioned Rhode Island trip:

This other fix, which I used in conjunction with the above, helped to keep the table at a more normal angle – I just positioned the buckle of my seat belt so the tray table could rest on it.

L: tray table adjacent to seat belt buckle // R: tray table resting on seat belt buckle

Here’s the side view so you can see how much the tray table was raised with this technique:

Of course, it’s not perfect – how much the tray table can be raised, or if you can use this technique at all will depend on body size and personal preferences. But it’s a thought.

This situation is also a good example of why you may want to keep a piece of non-slip material on your carry-on or personal bag as a “just in case” – if you put it on your tray table, that should also keep stuff from sliding (but wash it when you’re done – among other things, tray tables are up there are one of the filthiest things on planes and in airports).

One thing that I wouldn’t (and didn’t) do was use this as an excuse to get eighty hundred million bajillion miles added to my account. If that’s what floats your boat (or is a gain for your plane), go for it; I don’t think a minor inconvenience like that entitled me to anything extra. Had something spilled because of the tilt, I probably would have said something. But as is? Nah. Of course, that’s me. As always, Your Mileage May Vary.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

One thought on “What To Do When Your Tray Table Is So Broken & Tilted That Stuff Slides Off It”

  1. I just ask the pilot to adjust the roll of the plane until things stop sliding around. Problem solved!
    Reminds me of a joke:
    A very religious Jewish man could not find a ticket to his destination on any day except Saturday, which is of course the Sabbath. Worried, he asked his Rabbi, who told him,
    “It is ok if you fasten your seat belt and keep it fastened the whole time.”
    “Why is that” the man asked.
    “Because it is considered that you are not flying; you are wearing the plane.”

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