Okay, no one really loves traveling by plane. We love the convenience of it, sure. It's great to get across the country in just a few hours. But the actual sitting in metal tube breathing stale air with usually at least 3 points of contact being made with another person that you don't even know? Not fun.
However, there are things that can be done to make the experience better for everyone. Most of the rules of etiquette seem pretty self-evident to me. But after what I experienced yesterday, I it seems I've got to come right out and lay some of these (so far) unspoken guidelines out there in black and white.
#1 Don't be a jerk. You know, that's not just a rule for air travel. No matter what you're doing, you can pretty much apply the "don't be a jerk" policy.
I arrived at my gate yesterday a good 45 minutes before we were supposed to board. Many people were there ahead of me, so seats at the gate were pretty sparse. There was an older man (seen below) who had taken up an entire row of seats with bags and cup lids. I asked "are all of these seats taken?" to which he replied, "Yeah, lady. These seats are for me and my wife." "All four?" I ask.
"Obviously, or I wouldn't have saved them."
A nice person across the aisle shifted their bags out of the seat beside them and told me I was welcome to sit there.
#2 Don't be a slob.
Then Mr. Curmudgeon leans out and loudly and sloppily eats a crumbly cookie (with his mouth open) just letting the crumbs pile up at his feet (some of them actually on his shoes.)
Then his wife joined him. She looked really put together...top and skirt matching nicely. I kind of had hopes that she would be the one to kind of tone down her husband's antisocial behavior.
I mean, she LOOKED like someone who knew most of the social mores that keep society from falling apart. But then...she herself violated my third rule. The rule that I really thought went unstated. The rule that you would do for your own sake as much as for others.
#3. Don't stink. I mean, really? Who wants to smell bad? Yet here we are. Ms. Socially Inept had joined her husband, handed him a milk and started rustling through her bags. I was sitting across from these two...had started checking my email on my phone when the smell hit me.
It is 7:00 in the morning, and this woman has opened a bag of smoked salmon.
She's laying thick slabs of the stuff onto her bagel. The smell is wafting through the early morning air. The nice lady beside me actually makes a little stifled gagging noise.
I understand that lox and bagels is allegedly a breakfast item in some geographical locations. That is fine. I have sampled lox and bagels. Not my thing, but again, fine. It is not, however something you prepare in a crowd of people.
It is CERTAINLY not something you slap together and carry onto a PLANE to finish. Which this couple did.
The whole interior of the fuselage smelled like stinky fish.
I found a seat as far from this couple as I could possibly manage and ordered a Bloody Mary.
I'll take a screaming baby on a flight any ole time vs. a stinky, mean old rude couple any day.