Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Fight or flight

Last year I had the unenviable task of being on a 16-hour flight to Thailand. While the cabin crew did their best to keep 400 passengers comfortable and entertained, flying in general is a horrible process (unless it’s the dream where you can fly above the clouds, of course).

Every flight I’ve been on, someone around me has managed to annoy me with inconsiderate behaviour. Being suspended thousands of feet in the air in a metal tube is never the nicest thought, but having to deal with annoying passengers is worse than the possibility of plummeting to the earth in a screaming panic.

So, I’ve decided to make a list of things NOT to do so you don’t annoy the fellow traveller who might be sitting behind, next or in front of you.


Please refrain from touching the chair directly in front of you in any way. This includes digging knees into the back of it, allowing kids to kick it or using it to hoist yourself up to go for a little walk. It’s not nice waking up in sheer panic thinking the plane’s engine has failed and we’re falling to the ground to certain death all because someone’s forgotten how to raise themselves off a chair unaided.


Sore subject but damn, it needs to be said. Keep children suitably entertained, and for goodness’ sake don’t let them run up and down the aisle screaming ‘Spongebob! Spongebob!’ while everyone’s trying to sleep. Until my idea of a zoo-like child section at the back of every plane is put into action, we ALL have to put up with them screaming, crying and being smelly. If they cry, feed them. If they cry more, entertain them. If they smell, remove them and change them. If possible, figure out a way to make them sleep the duration, and everyone will be happy.


This mainly affects the middle-seater. For all those who have had the agony of being placed in seat B or E, I feel your pain. After trial and error I’ve discovered that two people can use one arm rest at the same time. Usually the smaller of the two can use the back part, nearest the chair, and the larger can use the front. Don’t hog the whole arm rest, and never engage in an elbow fight with a fellow traveller unless you want complimentary peanuts placed down your t-shirt while you’re asleep. Seriously.


Unlike trains, buses, taxis etc, it’s generally frowned upon to try to open a window on a plane. Y’know. Because of the whole death thing. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t dream of not having a shower before a flight, but just in case you think you can chance it… don’t! There are showers at most airports so I’m sure this has been a longstanding issue. To the smokers among you, it’s best not to light up just before boarding. I don’t know if you realise, but you usually have a pretty potent smell after having a fag, no matter how much perfume you spritz or chewing gum you consume. Also, when purchasing food to take on board, please refrain from the following:

Cheese and Onion crisps
Egg sandwiches
Any citrus fruit that has the possibility of spraying acidic juice into someone’s eye


Planes are generally loud places and it can be annoying. But what’s more annoying is sitting next to someone who has their iPod on loud and hearing ‘tssss tssss tssss tssss tssss tssss’ for five hours. If it’s loud enough to give you a headache after half an hour then it’s too loud. Turn it down!

So what annoys you about in-flight travel? Leave a comment and let us know. Read more by Laura.