Unless you’re in business or first class, flying is not a super-duper lot of fun. And why should it be? I mean, you’re part of a coupla hundred people in ever-shrinking close quarters inside a tin can for what can be several hours. Unless it’s your very first plane ride, I don’t think flying in this day and age can ever be made into a truly “good time,” but here are some ways to help make things better for everyone. Consider them to be the unwritten rules of flying. Please don’t break them!
1. The middle person gets possession of the armrests.
No one wants a middle seat. And why should they? It’s not as if there are any sorts of redeeming factors to those seats. You don’t have good access to the window or a place to rest your head. And you don’t have more legroom or easy access to the aisle. Middle seats are so universally hated that you don’t even get charged for them if you’re in Basic Economy class. About the only redeeming factor middle seats have are the armrests. So let the unfortunate person in the middle seat have them. And if you have a window or aisle and MUST have that second armrest, consider buying one of these.
2. If you do have the window seat, don’t hog up the window
The person in the middle seat doesn’t have much going for him, but he may be able to see some of what’s outside if your head isn’t in the way. Maybe (s)he would like to see the Epcot ball, too.
3. The crew should be friendly, and hopefully, have a sense of humor
Have you ever noticed that some flight attendants are simply pills? (even before they had to worry about anti-maskers making their lives miserable) Oh sure, they’re professional. But they never crack a smile (or if they do, it’s a fake, tight-lipped smile that never reaches their eyes) and act like they’re bored to tears and calling it all in. On the other hand, some flight attendants are awesome – they’re genuinely friendly and make you feel welcome. Some of them even make it their business to make something as mundane as a safety announcement a whole lot of fun.
4. And speaking of flight attendants, even if they’re one of the boring ones, and even if you’ve heard it a bazillion times before, pay attention when they do the safety spiel!
It only takes 3 minutes and there’s nothing wrong with a refresher of how to use the flotation device in the unlikely event of a water landing. But paying attention also shows respect to the crew, who have put in hours upon hours to learn how to keep you safe while flying. So pay attention!
5. While we still have to do it, wear a mask, the right way, without being a jerk about it.
OK, OK, this one is definitely not an “unwritten” rule – it’s written EVERYWHERE. But it bears repeating. Follow the rules, mind your manners, and keep your potential germs to yourself. None of us like wearing them. But if they can do it as a matter of course in Japan, and kids getting chemotherapy can do it for months on end, you can wear a mask on a plane for a few hours without making a dramatic production about it.
6. If you use the restroom while on board, remember the old adage:
You’re sharing those facilities with a bunch of other people and no one wants to deal with your droplets of bodily fluid. So whether you’re a woman who’s hovering and you miss, or a man whose aim isn’t as good as you thought, please clean up after yourself – seat AND floor – as needed. Oh, and can I give a THANK YOU to whoever invented the concept of having to put the seat down in order to flush? GENIUS! (It must’ve been a woman LOLOL) Oh! And that goes for wiping the sink and counter after you’ve washed your hands, too, y’all. You did wash your hands, right?
7. Don’t manspread
You know that invisible line between you and the person sitting next to you? Respect it. And if the person in the seat next to you is manspreading, here’s how to make him stop.
8. If you bring your own food onboard, make sure it’s not stinky
BBQ, curry, any sort of fish, smelly cheese, anything with garlic and/or onions etc. – a plane is definitely not the place to eat that kind of stuff. The scent will linger long after you’re done eating and no one else wants to smell that for hours on end.
9. Clean up after yourself
Done eating? Unwrapped those new headphones? Finished with that newspaper you bought? Leaving the plane now? Clean up your mess. You weren’t raised in a barn. Be responsible.
10. If you are an annoying or irritable kind of person, kindly medicate yourself prior to departure so you’ll sleep during the flight (I’M KIDDING!)
OK, OK, if you’d rather be awake during the flight, just be aware of yourself in relation to others. Your seat on the plane is not a place to cut your fingernails, take your shoes off, complain about whoever or whatever is bothering you, rest your feet on the armrest in front of you, tell the person next to you about your cousin’s boil that had to be lanced, pick your nose or totally ignore that your little angel is kicking the seat in front of them.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary