Monday, December 8, 2008

Holiday Flight Plan PSA

I am finished with airline travel for 2008, and I don’t foresee heading back to the airport until at least May. So although my time in the sky is now on hiatus, out of the kindness of my heart, I have a few tips to pass along to make your holiday flights and winter escapes even merrier.

It starts with the boarding process: Assume everyone will have the two allowed pieces of carry-on luggage. One will be at the maximum size you can get by with – and it will have wheels. These suckers fit only in the overhead bins because they can’t slide under the seats. If there are, say, 132 passengers, this means 132 pieces of big luggage need space in those small bins.

Got it? Then let’s take a little quiz. Where would you put your purse? Your briefcase? Your tote? Your small duffel? Your backpack? Your shopping bag? Your coat? Your toiletry bag?

On my farewell 2008 flight to Las Vegas, 131 people flunked, because they chose the overhead bins. (Except for the toiletry bags. That was a trick question. You can’t carry that many bottles of liquid and lotions on board these days. ) So, the last passengers have nowhere to put their luggage, thus they stand in the aisles with a half-dazed look until a flight attendant takes pity on them and begins to repack overhead bins to make room for their wheelies.

This of course means the flight can’t pull away from the gate on time and 132 people are now either squeezed beyond reason on their connections or will miss the next flight altogether.

OK, now that everyone is aware of the need to be courteous to their fellow travelers, let’s kick it up a notch. If you want to recline your seat, that is your right unless you are in the exit row, where you already have twice as much room as the rest of us and therefore should refrain from hogging what little space the peon behind you was granted. But please don’t shove it back during the beverage and snack portion of the flight. You will jam a tray into someone’s stomach and spill their orange juice. And maybe that person can’t change clothes for hours and hours and will just have to sit there first with sopping wet jeans from trying to clean it up and then with sticky residue that makes them fuse to taxi seats.

Listening to an iPod is an admirable way to pass time during the flight. But what would possess you to start an imaginary drum solo complete with crashing flourishes? Your elbow has no business getting that closely acquainted with your seat companion’s nose. If you can’t resist temptation, just sing already.

Finally, when you rise to use the restroom or get your stuff out of the overhead bin that you were so eager to cram up there in the first place, do not grab the back of the seat in front of you for leverage. You have two armrests for that purpose, and they don’t suddenly snap a fellow passenger’s head back like a slingshot. I was sleeping, pal.

I’m sure you have a few etiquette suggestions to share as well. Recommendations for getting orange juice out of sequined jeans are also appreciated.


Susan said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Julie Sturgeon said...

Stop by any time, Susan. My goal is to provide a quick laugh.

Linda said...

Thanks for the laugh! I've only flown once, but it was enough to get a visual! Nice to see a fellow hoosier's blog. And a pea at that!

Kelly said...

Flying these days is a trip, eh?

Elizabeth said...

Perfect! lol!

Marilee Salvator said...

my suggestion is to check the big bags with wheels. They are too big to put in the over head!

I get sick of people complaining about having to pay to check there bags. It has gotten so much worse lately, waiting on the people whith the big bags to find a place t put them. I put my back pack in the over head because I am smart enough to not carry a big bag. I have just as much right to these spaces as other people.


Julie Sturgeon said...

Hey Marilee,

We were told the airlines were going to crack down on the size of those wheelie bags to make sure they didn't exceed the posted sizes. I spent $300 buying a new camera case for my equipment that measured under the smallest airplane allowance in the country. But based on what I've seen people carry on these days, the airlines aren't coming through on their end of the deal.