Recently my husband, Stephen and I returned from two weeks in Belgium and France. We toured Flanders and The Somme and saw and heard many things that make us more grateful for our freedoms.
Not to trivialize freedom, but I assumed one of them was to be able to have the minimum amount of space allowed in the economy section of a trans-Atlantic flight to myself! Obviously not according to Passenger 28K. I was fortunate enough to be sitting directly behind her – someone in desperate need of airline passenger etiquette training.
Here’s my tale, sad but true. Passenger 28K had the bulkhead seat with enough room to relax much more than my minimal space in 29K, the window seat. Next to me was Stephen and next to him, a young man who was on his way to Toronto for a wrestling competition. Imagine his size – he really needed the aisle.
And then, it started! Passenger 28K reached back and closed my window screen. I opened it; she closed it! I was too tired to argue. We agreed to it being open half-way – without a word being spoken. Passenger 28K then opened her blanket and proceeded to spread it over the back of her chair, covering my screen – I moved it. Passenger 28K then stretched her legs out and put them up on the wall in front and then… put the chair back all the way! Passenger 28K then squirmed until perfectly comfortable.
I found a movie and because the screen was now at my nose, I didn’t need my glasses. Then it was meal time. Passenger 28K refused to put the seat up – even a little bit! Have you ever tried to slide a plastic glass out from under a screen and not upset your food tray when the seat in front of you is fully reclined? It was not easy.
At one point, I decided to put my foot up between Passenger 28K’s seat and the side of the plane. It didn’t seem to bother Passenger 28K. I suspect Passenger 28K has done this in the past.
Then it was time for snacks. I suspect Passenger 28K had had enough reclining, and when the staff asked again to have the seat brought up, Passenger 28K agreed. Whew – I now got to put my glasses on to watch the movie.
It truly got to the point where the three of us in aisle 29 were laughing. At one point when our wrestler seat companion got up, Stephen and I both got up and really stretched. Passenger 28K was totally oblivious. And all the heavy button pushing on my screen? Nada to Passenger 28K.
And then there was the couple who, as they made their way to economy, helped themselves to the poured champagne and orange juice that was being poured for first class. They gulped it down on their way to their seats and put the glasses back on the tray! The flight attendant just stood and watched. What could she do?
In my research, I found South Africa Airlines offers a way to meet on social media with fellow passengers before your flight so you can sit accordingly. Would you do this? Honestly I wouldn’t. Who says you will hit it off when you meet in person? And you know, for me flying is about watching movies and reading, but that’s just me.
What if airlines, along with their safety video (that very few watch) did a passenger etiquette video? I bet Virgin, WestJet or SouthWest could even have fun with this. Heck, maybe I should have video recorded Passenger 28K’s antics and sold it!
Airlines are you listening? I’m sure there would still be issues, and I’m betting not everyone would watch. Even if it stopped and made a few people think, perhaps we could all have a more satisfying flight.
Passenger 28K, if you find this, I hope you will adjust your passenger etiquette!