My husband travels a lot for work. Like a lot lot lot. And not locally. He flies all over the country to visit clients. I consider him a professional airplane traveler. He gets to go through the faster line at airport security. He knows all the restaurants and ATM's in the concourses. And he could tell you which airports and airlines stink. He knows how to travel efficiently and without drama.
I do not travel a lot for work. Being more or less a stay-at-home mom, I only fly once or twice a year. After recently flying to Key West for the weekend, I realized my husband is a much better traveler than me. I tried to be all Zen and calm and chill during the airplane/airport experience but I gotta tell you, it was hard. I'm not afraid to fly. In fact, I kind of like it. I love getting someplace far away fast. It's all the other stuff (read: people) that really turn my crank. Don't get me wrong. I am a people person. I just don't think I'm an airplane people person.
We had no problems getting to Florida and had a lovely weekend there. It was the trip home from Key West that inspired this blog. It took almost 24 hours to get from Florida to my home in Md. I could have driven a car faster. We had some sort of mechanical issue that resulted in us sitting on the tarmac for 2 1/2 hours in Key West ( I SWEAR it was 140 degrees in the plane. Greg says no way.), thus missing our connection in Orlando. OF COURSE, there were no available seats to get us home that night so we got stuck at the Hyatt in Orlando. Yes, there are worse places to be stuck. But when you want to go home and you're all out of clean underwear, you just want to go home. Did you know Orlando airport doesn't sell underwear? They "aren't allowed". What the what?!!?
So here are a list of tips for all you travelers out there that need reminders how to act when you are on an airplane. Pay attention.
Let's start with getting on the airplane. I get that you want to be on the airplane first. Trust me when I tell you that you won't be. Unless you are in a wheelchair, have paid a gazillion dollars extra, or are the Pope. YOU WON'T BE FIRST. So stop lining up with all your stuff and getting in people's way to assure your position in line. This goes for any airline, with assigned seats or not. So chill. You're on my nerves.
Please review what a carry on is. A small piece of luggage, a purse, a lap top, or a magazine is totally acceptable. I seriously can't believe the crap that people bring on planes. Everything does NOT fit in the overhead compartment folks. Your massive flower arrangement from a wedding you just attended? Seriously? Or the large portrait you plan to put under the seat in front of you? Really? And my personal favorite..a cooler of fish that you have to re-ice when we're sitting on the tarmac because it's so hot? Oh no you didn't bring DEAD FISH on the plane. I kid you not, these were all "carry on's" on my flight from Key West. SMH.
When you bring your carry on onto the plane and choose the appropriate bin to stash it, PLEASE be careful when you pick it up and place it overhead. My darling husband has been whacked countless times by frail passengers who can't seem to lift their carry on. AND they don't apologize. Really? If your carry on is too heavy for you to pick up, maybe you need to check it or at least start working out. I really don't want my husband to incur a head injury. He said he might start wearing a helmet during loading. I believe him. To prevent him from embarrassing himself, please don't hit him in the head again. Because he will wear Jenna's skateboard helmet on board. And that would be nuts. Thank you.
Be mindful of your fellow passengers when selecting what snacks you'd like to bring on the plane. Tuna fish and any Italian subs with onions should be banned by airlines. Food with garlic? Can you smell yourself? The airplane's air circulation system is no match for your stinky food. Loud snacks should be left at home too. This includes gum. I realize that gum helps you to "pop your ears" but if you can't chew quietly, please don't. Truly.
I love kids. I have kids. I have taken my children on airplanes, when they were very young. It's super hard. I know I worried a lot that they would cry or act nuts. They didn't. Because I was PREPARED. I brought activities. I brought goldfish crackers, which I fed to my kid one by one, all the way across the country. I have drugged them with Benedryl to help them sleep. (Don't judge. They were happy and sleepy and it was a great trip.) But the point is, I was ready. I am amazed at the number of parents who think there child will sit on a plane for 3 hours, just looking out the window. They bring NOTHING for them to do. Would your kid sit at home for 3 hours and do nothing?
Airplane seats are small. My husband is 6' 3". I feel bad for how little room he has in planes. He's a great sport and manages his seat space just fine. (I'm the whiny one, who is 7" shorter.) So here's the thing. If you're sitting next to someone, be aware of their space. I swear to you this guy sat on the other side of me and spread his legs out like he was lounging on his couch at home. He was touching my leg with his leg. Seriously. As he got all comfy and fell asleep, I kneed him hard so he'd get out of my space and off my leg. It worked. (Yes I could have nicely asked him to move his leg. But he might have been asleep and I would have felt bad waking him. The irony is not lost on me.) I whispered to Greg what I did. He said "Yeah. You gotta do it. Let them know." I cannot picture my sweet husband kneeing or elbowing anyone next to him. (No, it is not Christian-like to knee someone. BUT, he was touching my leg with his leg. And pretending to sleep. Not. Cool. Do NOT touch me if you're sitting next to me on the plane. Unless you're my husband.
Speaking of your seat. You know you have just a few inches to get comfortable. When the person in front of you puts their seat back, that few inches decreases to about one inch. Don't put your seat back. It's rude. Of course, if no one is behind you, feel free. But we know that never happens don't we?
Some of you might like to block at all light in the plane cabin so you can take a snooze. This may involve shutting the blind in the window. That's cool. Or wearing an eye mask. That's cool too. But wrapping a scarf around your eyes and head. Hmmm. You look like a terrorist. The person next to you might be freaking out thinking you're actually awake and plotting to take over the plane behind your scarf. Or you could be sleeping. Lose the scarf.
If something goes wrong with your plane and you're forced to sit on the tarmac or at the gate or wherever waiting, it is NOT helpful to shout out "this sucks" or "Southworst" or some other douchey heckling. This will not fix the plane faster. And people around you will just think, "what a dirt nut". Sit quietly and wait like everyone else. And no, the flight attendants can't give you a drink while waiting. You don't need one anyway.
Speaking of sitting quietly. Do you have any idea how completely annoying it is to listen to you and your seat partner talk loudly the whole flight? If I can hear you over the air circulation system, with headphones on, you're too loud. Shhhhhh.
Why would you think it's ok to listen to music or watch a movie or play video games without headphones? I mean, I like Candy Crush and everything but there is a mute button. And watch porn? Puh-lease perv. (No, I didn't actually see someone do this, but I'm sure it happens.) I don't want to hear it the whole plane ride. Thank you.
Don't travel if you're sick. Your nasty cough is scary and may infect the other passengers. Unless you're going to Key West. In which case you should load up on cough medicine, cough drops, and plan to cough into your elbow. (For the record....I tried to cough on leg-touching guy because he kept getting in my space. By the end of the flight he was curled up, facing the window, trying very hard NOT to touch me.)
So the long and the short of it? Don't be an idiot. Be a good neighbor.
And have a nice flight.