etiquette – noun – the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.

jetiquette – noun – the customary code of polite behavior among passengers of a fully-loaded aircraft in flight.

Yes I have a new term that I think I’ve coined. I’ll have to check on that. Anyway, I recently had to make a trip to Delaware for work. Now I have to say that I love flying. I’d rather be in a fighter or a helicopter, but flying is flying and since there aren’t any F-22’s in my near future I take what I can get, so a 767 will have to do. I also must say that for the most part I like people… or more to the point ‘watching’ people. Now that is not meant in a creepy, stalker sense, but rather as an observer of human behavior sense.

For example, I notice that people intentionally go slower doing things when they know someone is waiting behind them. The ATM, a pay-phone, a vending machine, a movie ticket kiosk, or my personal favorite… pulling out of a parking slot. People by nature can be very self-centered… as in worried only about themselves or how they are affected by something. But that’s a tangent…

Back to my flight.

Because I have flown a lot there are certain things I do to try and ensure a peaceful, relaxing and comfortable ride. The biggest thing is getting an exit row seat on the window. There’s more leg room in an exit room and no children are allowed. There’s the pesky “responsiblity” of opening the door after a crash, but seriously, how many planes actually crash in a way that permits the person in the exit aisle to open said door. In the event of a crash the odds are slim that I will be called upon to perform my duties.

Flight SafetyAnother little tip is the fanny pack in the back of your closet somewhere. Yes I know they are out of style, but they are still useful. See the problem with most airplanes is they make you put your personal bag under the seat in front of you. On a full flight this is not the easiest access. I suggest that you have a fanny pack, place your iPod, phone, Gameboy, chewing gum, ear-plugs, etc in the fanny pack. Then undo your tray table and slip the fanny pack belt over it and secure the tray table to it’s closed and locked position, so the tray is wearing your pack. Then if you need something it’s right there for you. The pack can easily be emptied and put in your laptop case or carry-on bag when you land and no one is the wiser, except you. Now you may say, there’s a seat pocket. Riiight. You mean the slit in the back of the seat in front of you filled with barf bags, safety feature pamphlets, previous occupants’ newspapers, old, used Kleenexes and my favorite, the airline’s “magazine” that for some reason always seems to be the same issue and really is just a schill for Sharper Image stuff. I’m not sticking anything of mine in there, but the choice is yours.

Ok those are my flight tips. Now to the point of this post… jetiquette. On my flight I was able to observe several behaviors that would be faux-pas in regular society but seem to fall under “well I’m on a plane so it’s ok” while in flight at 36,000 feet. Well it’s not okay.

Smelly FlightEveryone knows the stigma airline food has. There’s a reason it’s usually cold and bland deli sandwiches or nuts and a drink. THEY DO NOT STINK UP THE PLANE! I don’t know why but every once in a while some Vegan has to bring their freshly-steamed vegetable medly and Tofu hobby kit on the plane. It always has to have broccoli. Always. Why do they feel the need to do this? Another is a large salad with ranch or vinegar dressing. WHY? If you can’t eat before you get on the plane, you need to take some time management courses. If you have to bring food on yourself, make it something unobtrusive. Some people are carnivores and the smell of steamed spinach and squash for two hours in a space the size of about five cubicles is unbearable. If the food is brought as a ‘time-killer‘ then eating is your hobby and you need help. You can’t take your own food into a movie theater, but yet you can bring a TOGO bag from the Whistle While You Wok japanese stall at the terminal food court. There ought to be a law. * fresh hot coffee, cinnamon rolls, and anything with fresh bacon are exempt from this law.

Simple. Keep them ON! You are not at home. This is just common courtesy. “My feet don’t stink!”… well most people can’t smell their own bad breath either. It doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Even if your feet don’t stink your shoes might. Now if the flight is overnight or more than 4 hours… ok maybe, but the airline used to give out little booties. At least keep your socks on. If you remove your shoes in flight you’re a felon and not gellin’.

Carry On There’s a difference between a carry-on and luggage. A 50 pound duffle bag stuffed to full size IS NOT A CARY ON! A golf club bag IS NOT A CARRY ON! Your Big Bertha will have to ride in the baggage area along with my Fruit of the Looms. A hiking pack IS NOT A CARRY ON! Baby stroller… NOT A CARRY ON! A gym bag is a carry on, a laptop case is a carry on, a lawyer’s file case bag is a carry on. If you have to shove, squeeze, pich or pound the bag into the overhead compartment… IT’S TOO BIG! CHECK IT! Also don’t put something you are going to need in flight in the overhead bag. That’s just dumb. You end up blocking the aisle and I can’t then enjoy getting my elbow smashed by the drink cart and delays me in the aquisition of my honey roasted peanut sampler. Plan ahead people. Also put your carry-on over your own seat. Don’t take up my valuable three cubic feet of overhead space with your bag(s) or your suit coat. If the high school soccer team didn’t bring all their equipment on as carry-ons then this wouldn’t be an issue. * Since you are sitting in the exit aisle seat you can demand a special overhead space since you are technically working for the airline and should be considered part of the crew. At least I think so.


First Class: Okay why do we still have this? This so perpetuates the class system in this country. They think they are better than me? We are going to the same place and getting there at the same time only they paid twice as much as me. They may be richer… but they aren’t smarter. And yes their feet smell too. Also since 9/11 the First Class curtain is now a sheer mesh curtain so you can see all they way to the cockpit. What’s the point? Oooo don’t go passed the magic mesh. This will keep out the riff-raff.

Colognes & Perfumes: Go light on these please. Nothing like the mixture of Obsession, Cool Water, Old Spice, Hi-Karate and Brut Musk to nauseate a flight in record time.

Elbow Authority: Establish your elbow position early. Hopefully you will be the first in your row. If so you have no problem. Your elbow dominance is assured. However if you are not first in, you have to wait till the person next to you adjusts or goes for the bag under the seat to make your move. However your elbow should not extend over the armrest and into their seat space. That’s just wrong.

Bathrooms: If you have to for some reason used the plane’s lavatory. Be aware of the backdraft effect when you open the door when finished. Make a quick and nimble exit and SHUT THE DOOR! No one needs to be exposed to that, especially the folks sitting near the lav. Maybe if you didn’t have that Tofu and summer squash medly you wouldn’t feel the urge to use the toilet.

Okay I think I got it all out of my system now (no pun intended). I’ve had this post in my head for about a month and I finally felt inspired to actually type it all in.

MOOD THIS POST: Happy. Plane didn’t crash.

6 Responses

  1. Okay, no matter how long or short the flight, I always take off my shoes. Sorry. I totally agree about the exit row though. We always opt for these seats.

  2. great post – funny because it’s all so true and I agree with you! I only take my shoes off when the flight is more 5 hours.

  3. Hana ~ ok I can make an exception for you and Matt. 8^)

    Patricia ~ glad you agree. Sometimes the situations are so bad you have to laugh.

  4. I hate shoes!! I normally wear slip on sandal so they come off right away. If I am stupid and wear sneakers (only when heading to cold weather), I do leave them on :0) Glad to see you back. Missed your humor :0)

  5. I totally agree about the cologne/perfume issue! I find this very irritating in most places. I mean, who really needs that much perfume anyway! Seriously, I am very sensitive and get headaches and sinus junk when exposed to fragrances. I have actually gotten up and moved before in church when I sat next to someone with too strong a fragrance.
    As for the shoes…I am definitely a shoe-taker-off-er! I pretty much take my shoes off as much as possible, even when I am riding in the car (even short distances). It is just way more comfortable. But, no worries…my feet don’t smell! 🙂

  6. I live by the arm rest. But the other day I staked my ground and had to defend it against the guy next to me. This dude kept bumping my arm and trying to put his arm on mine. It was just wrong.

    I fought the good fight though. I kept that elbow glued to the rest, even when I had to put my book back into my bag.

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