Along with other forms of polite behavior, I feel that flying etiquette is sadly a thing of the past. Although airlines and airport security have made flying anywhere an unpleasant experience, some people are of the belief that it’s okay to be completely obnoxious and even disrespectful while on board a plane. Here are my two biggest pet peeves when flying:
1.) The armrest: If you are a complete stranger to me, I don’t want to feel your body somehow touching me the entire flight because you cannot fit into your seat. Obviously I’m not referring to an instance in which you accidentally graze someone. I’m talking about that while seated, your body spills into your neighbor’s seat. As soon as I book flights, it’s my custom to select my seats right away, namely to avoid the dreaded middle seat. Last year I made an impromptu trip to Houston and by the time it came to select my seat, there were only middle ones remaining. I had no issues with the seatmate to my right, but the person on my left was another matter. Within mere minutes of sitting down, she put up the armrest that divided our seats so she could be more comfortable as she did not fit into her assigned seat space. Being the passive person that I am, I didn’t say anything even though I had every right to. Therefore I was the one who ended up being uncomfortable the entire flight, having to sit ram-rod straight, not wanting to be in physical contact with a body that more than spilled onto my seat. Armrests are there to clearly delineate seats. If you paid for one seat, that is all the seat space you should get. If you’re of a larger weight your fellow seat mates shouldn’t have to suffer. Stay within your seat and certainly don’t be presumptuous enough to ever remove an arm rest without at least asking beforehand.
2.) To recline or not to recline: I cannot stand the people who recline their seats the entire flight. Regardless of the fact that when they put their seat back, they’re further reducing the already limited space of the person behind them. I can’t and don’t fully blame them since airlines, not passengers, were the ones to implement this design feature. However, there are enough mindful people (myself included) who realize the absolute rudeness of this and would either never do it or only recline to a small degree. If more people stopped being so egocentric, perhaps flying wouldn’t be as abysmal as it is.
I really dislike flying but dislike it even more so when some individuals seem to think they are the only ones on a plane and only they should be comfortable. Yes, flying in coach is just about as bad as cattle being herded into a pen, yet today, that’s how it is. Help in making it slightly less irritating by being mindful of all your cabin mates, and not just yourself.
(UPDATE: I wrote this post a while ago but last week while flying back from Hawaii, on a flight between Phoenix and Pittsburgh, I had both things I blogged about happen to me, sitting next to someone who had the arm rest up due to his immense size and a person who in front of me who decided to recline his seat the entire way so he could be comfortable. I had never had more of a terrible and physically uncomfortable flight in all my years of flying. And the fact that I had spent hundreds of dollars on my ticket mattered naught. My already small seat was furthered reduced in size due to these two breaches of flying etiquette.)