These days, commercial airplanes are some of the most stressful modes of travel. Not only is it getting increasingly expensive, everyone is always on edge through airport security screening. If that’s not bad enough, hours of layover time, canceled flights, late flights and so forth tend to grate on travelers. But the behavior of the people traveling around you can make all the difference when it comes to an overall enjoyable flight experience.
As someone who loves flying, I can’t say as I hate traveling this way. No doubt I’m not a fan of long lines at the security checkpoint or waiting forever for a flight to take off on the tarmac, but that being said, I consider myself a rather “flight-friendly” passenger. That’s why I get very irritated when those around me act in such a way that my flight is completely ruined, at least when it comes to common courtesy and standard comfort.
So I’ve compiled a list of behavioral habits that many passengers have when flying aboard commercial aircraft. Do yourself and everyone around you a favor by avoiding these actions and thinking of someone besides yourself on a flight.
1. Ordering Tomato Juice: When you’re on a flight, remember that you may encounter turbulence. Do you really want tomato juice going all over the place? Case in point, a friend of mine was sitting next to a guy on an airplane one time who ordered tomato juice. He was (until then) peacefully watching a movie on his laptop. Then the plane encountered a little turbulence, and guess where all that tomato juice went: all over his laptop and onto my friend’s winter coat, which happened to be a light color.
So when you’re ordering drinks, pick something that won’t leave the worst permanent stain.
2. Encouraging a Screaming Child: It’s bad enough that your brat is screaming and crying and kicking the back of my seat. What’s worse is when you encourage him in his misbehavior. Restrain your child and don’t allow him or her to be the reason so many passengers have an irritable flight. The past four or five flights I’ve been on have all featured misbehaved toddlers or children – all of whom could have been pacified by a parent.
3. Yakking on the Cell Phone
I can tell you all about the hour-long conversation a rather rambunctious, insanely loud woman had while waiting for our flight to arrive. It featured a very sick father. I felt bad for him, but felt even worse for myself having to hear the grotesque story of his surgery. And I heard it not once, not twice, but three times! Evidently, the woman had to tell her phone friend, the poor passenger seated next to her, and another friend that she phoned immediately after getting off our flight.
So if you have to talk incessantly on the phone while you wait, keep it down. Not everyone is interested in hearing about your dying father’s pancreatic disease and his disgusting hospital bedroom partner. And don’t repeat the same story for the 10 passengers around you to hear during the flight.
4. Leaving All Your Liquid Packing to the Last Minute
I realize TSA provides little baggies for liquids in case you forget. But there’s not enough for everyone, nor will we all hold our patience standing in line as you individually wrap your liquids into that baggy! They’ve had that rule around long enough that you should have little excuse when it comes to zipping your shampoo and toothpaste into that quart-size Ziploc long before you arrive at airport security.
5. Demanding Every Free Accommodation the Airplane Has
A few years ago, on my flight to the Bahamas, we were graced with a rather spoiled, rich family. I’m not prejudiced against the rich – as long as they don’t act like they’re “entitled” to absolutely everything. Unfortunately, this trophy mother did act like that, and she made our pre-flight experience almost unbearable. First she delayed the entire flight by hauling her stuff (as well as her teen kids’ stuff) into the plane. Then she couldn’t get it into the overhead compartment.
She had a little spat with the flight attendant over something that didn’t belong somewhere, and when she was finally all settled in, she requested a blanket and something to drink – long before we’d even taken off and the drinks were supposed to have been offered.
All during this time, she used a terribly demanding tone, flaunted her fancy clothes in everyone’s face and took up the whole aisle, which was amazing, seeing as she was rather thin. But her visage still scars my mind as something I never want to become if I can ever afford an angora coat.