Airline Etiquette, or; Give me a good seat or I’m hijacking this Mother to Cuba!

Airline Etiquette 

I have just returned from playing a Festival in Lubeck, Germany, which involved 4 flights in 28 hours, having to fly via Palma, Majorca from Mainland Spain. 

Kicking my heels in any number of departure/waiting/transit/boredom lounges gave me time to ruminate on the modern torture that is air travel. I’ve broken it down into four main bones of contention: 

1) Seat Allocation.  Nowadays, not a given, although it doesn’t prevent the mentally challenged myopic woman looking for seat number 236. I have lost count of the number of times the stewardess has to repeat “It’s just your allocation number, you can sit anywhere.”By the time the penny has dropped with these people, “anywhere” is usually in the cargo hold.Like a shining light, some economy airlines still offer you the opportunity to choose your seat, if you’re at the airport early enough. Like before you were born.

I selected an exit seat, needing the extra legroom. “Aisle or window?” I was politely asked. I opted for the aisle. I got the aisle, but not the exit. I attempted to dislocate my knees, so that I might insinuate myself into the miniscule gap between my seat and the one in front. Once wedged, I could observe the tide of humanity coming down the aisle.  Which brings me to the next point;

2) Passengers from Hell.  There are a number of types you wish to avoid, but basically we can narrow it down to two. 

1) Mother with screaming kids

2) Extremely large person 

You definitely don’t want screaming kids near you. They don’t shut up. Ever. And the small ones don’t know how to compensate for the air pressure thing with the ears. It hurts. They don’t know what to do. They cry. You try and put them out of the emergency exit. It’s all very embarrassing.

A word to families with noisy and/or badly behaved kids; If you’re going on holiday- TAKE THE CAR. 

Extremely large people can be a problem in several ways. If they sit next to you, your armrest becomes enveloped in the folds of their body. I once sat with such a person and they could only open their dinner tray to their chin. Still, I guess it was easier to sweep the food in…

The second hazard from extremely large people is the one I suffered at the weekend. They sit in front of you. They like to test the “springiness” of the seat, and, even before take-off, see how far it will recline.

NEWSFLASH: This seat is reclining nowhere buddy, my knees are nearly coming out of your face, and I might never walk again but you’re getting NO extra degrees on this angle! 

3) The Terrorist Inspired Mini-Industry manufacturing little bottles and transparent bags.

Who said Al Qaeda doesn’t believe in Free Enterprise? Why, singlehandedly they have created a new market for stupidly tiny receptacles for a pointlessly infintessimal amount of hair gel/toothpaste/pile cream etc. Retailers have been quick to jump on the band wagon “catering to our needs” and lining their pockets. There’s even a vending machine at some airports selling empty plastic bags. Now that’s cutting edge commercialism…Oh, sorry, no it isn’t, It’s a bloody great rip-off, I was confused.

So, there we have it. If Mr and Mrs Grey Haired Anglo-Saxon retirement couple from Dorking want to blow up a plane they’ll only be able to take a hundred millilitres of each dangerous substance in a clear plastic bag, that virtually no-one looks at, so that’s all right then,. We’re all safe.  

4) In Flight Food 

So called because it’s quickly thrown back at the stewardesses.Most economy (i.e.crap) airlines now fail to provide any food unless you provide them with the deeds to your house, so I suppose I should be grateful that I got “food” at the weekend.

On the first flight, a bottle of water and some cheese “snacks”. On the second, a slice of reconstituted Turkey in a J cloth…no, sorry, it was bread. An easy mistake to make. And the Turkey looked like the nearest it had ever been to a bird was the woman who was serving it.

Of course, this freebie food is designed to make you clamour for their executive menu, where you can pay 10 euros for…well, pretty much the same thing, but with some sauce. 

So there you have it. If you really need to fly, buy your own plane.


9 Responses to “Airline Etiquette, or; Give me a good seat or I’m hijacking this Mother to Cuba!”

  1. Totally agree with all your bones of contention. Screaming children are especially irksome on a long flight.

  2. Take a 6 pack and elevate your feet. Be sure to get aisle seat next to bathroom if you have a bladder like mine.

  3. Oh God, what happent to the baby then?

  4. You forgot the person from hell behind you who does not understand that you can feel every move their bloody tray makes. And if the person is large, and nature calls them, your seat becomes leverage acting to hoist them out of position in a springing manner. Hair pulling is often part of this process.

  5. Damn! Yes, I forgot them all right…the rocking motion of the seat back as they use the time-honoured “Hoist technique” you describe so well.
    Having long hair ,I also run the additional risk of getting Chupa-chup lollies entangled in it from the chair-back-kicking kid behind….What joy.

  6. stopbouncing Says:

    On one flight, there was a couple who changed their baby on the tray! In the cabin!

    I despise flying but it’s a necessary evil.

  7. Now that’s just plain unhygenic, not to mention anti-social! I suggest, referring to my illustration, just drop the soiled baby out of the hatch provided and kidnap a clean one when you land.

  8. When flying still offered the 50-50 proposition of catching your connector on time, I always offered to sit near the emergency exit – helpfully noting to the flight attendant that I once helped teach aircraft emeregncy egress techniques. Plenty of leg room that way, plus the chance to throw passengers out of the aircraft in the slim-to-no chance of a successful forced landing.

  9. FF Editor, I am flying again today, and will report back in these hallowed pages as to the efficacy of your “egress technique” scam, as I seek to implement it in my own subtle way. i.e. “Gimme that exit seat, my legs are 8 feet long, dammit!”

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