Saturday, March 05, 2011


What percentage of airline ticket holders have never ridden in a car? How about not ridden in one in the past 30 years?

My guess is less than one-percent edging towards zero.

So why lecture us on the complexity of operating a seat belt? Who out there over the age of three is still stymied by the buckle mechanism? One wonders why they're not demonstrating how to flush the toilet.

"Place index and middle finger onto the lever. Push down. Then, release. Check bowl for success."
If they are going to approach us as if we're imbeciles, how about reviewing the following during the pre-flight presentation:

Use your fucking inside voice. There are people's ears uncomfortably close to your blathering pie-hole and the only way they'd be less interested in your "story" would be if they were dead.

Harsh you say? I don't think so. I've sat in front of blowhards trumpeting their entrepreneurial virility, drunken escapades and vast, tedious knowledge of oil pipeline geography for hours. With voices that bludgeoned right through space-age earplugs crammed so deep into my auditory canal they rubbed shoulders with my eardrum. Just shut it or lower it.

When they say items may have shifted in flight, they should also threaten to drop a roller bag on anyone who blithely yanks open the overhead bin in the rush to stand sardine-like while waiting for the door to open.

Our personal space is critically violated for the length of the flight. In our regular life, we'd move or shove anyone encroaching on us this way. SO, follow this simple rule: if you seat mate is wearing earplugs and reading a book, that mysterious signal is code for I'm not interested in having a conversation. Not about your grandbaby. Not about your sports team. Not about your latest acquisition and dear Lordy, not about your relationship.

Since the airlines have gone all cheap-ass on us with their wee bags of pretzels and nuts, folks often bring along a little something to tide them over on a long flight. Roger that. But since you're within copulating distance to the person next to you, how about avoiding the sardines? The egg salad? Perhaps the haggis can be enjoyed in the insulated comfort of your own home? In a practical sense, you want to reduce the likelihood of your noxious-smelling foodstuff triggering the gag reflex of your reluctant bedfellow.

Finally, if at all possible, stall the baby's nap and mealtime until the flight takes off. That way, a little boob* or bottle will send the darling off to dreamland. If the baby is a toddler, BE PREPARED. Sorry, but this is more critical than the space shuttle checklist. New toys to play with. Snacks. Drinks. A change of clothing when they puke. PLASTIC BAGS to seal the vomit- or excrement-covered clothing so your entire section does not feel like they just shifted from coach to open-sewage class.

Children will not be as polite about sitting still in cramped spaces as adults. They are simply acting out what we've all been conditioned to keep under wraps. Totally understandable. Much as I like the idea, I don't think we should drug the little fuckers. What to do: use all the resources available in your parental survival kit. Entertain them with plush toys, juice boxes, electronic gadgets, chex mix, music, etc. When possible, walk them around. Aside: Do NOT allow them to roam unattended down the 15" wide aisle. The drink cart will win and, by god, the audience will cheer.

I have been far more irritated by grownups (a group including but not limited to idiotic breeders) while traveling than by children. If I witness a parent doing all of the above to keep their child happy and well-behaved to no avail, I have nothing but compassion for them.

Airline attendants, it's all yours. Look, I don't envy your job. It doesn't look like fun. But neither is cattle class...try not to take it out on us. Oh, and by the way, unless you are really funny, stop trying to entertain us. The microphone is not your karaoke machine.

*Anyone who has issues with breast-feeding a screamer into silence at 30,000 feet should be thrown out of the aircraft.


masterdev said...

You can have my Haggis when you can pry it out of my goddamned dead claw hands. I swear to god, allah and Joe Smith that no-one is going to take my Haggis without suffering the consequences.

Epiphenita said...

Haggis smells like a dead Scot with mange...but you go right ahead and enjoy your ground sheep lung. I'll be the one puking into your laptop bag.