I just came across a delightful article about airplane etiquette, or perhaps the lack of it, written by Scott McCartney for the Wall Street Journal. His research and comments struck a major chord with me as someone who finds herself in the air more than on the ground. Anyone who flies and finds himself in economy class has been subjected to all sorts of indignities and inconveniences.
As the seats get smaller and the people get larger, the traveling public is constantly battling for space whether it is for the armrest, legroom or breathing space. McCartney suggests that as airlines cut back on amenities or charge fees for former perks while pushing the seats closer and closer together, they are to blame for the decline of civility among passengers.
Even more interesting to me are the differing opinions on what is acceptable behavior, what is tolerable at 30,000 feet and what is not.
- Should you take possession of the armrests when you are in the middle seat?
- Should you push your seat all the way back without considering the person behind you?
- Should you bring messy, smelly food on board?
- Should you stand to let a fellow passenger out?
- If you are the window seat passenger, how many “breaks” do you get?
- What is the correct way to wake a sleeping passenger?
- How loud should your headset be?
Here is my pet peeve. When the plane is late and there are passengers on board with tight connections to their next flight, do you really need to remain in your seat until those people get off? I rarely see people showing this courtesy.
Flying is no longer for the faint of heart but one thing to keep in mind is that while you have no control over the behavior of others, you can take charge of your own.
I once heard a pilot in his initial announcement remind the passengers that for the next few hours we should consider ourselves one big family. I don’t think he had “family feud” in mind.
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