Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hey You! Are You Talking to the Air? (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)

This week, random.org "assigned" me Mama Kat prompt number five: The 10 Dos and Don'ts of Airplane Etiquette.



I love to fly, and it takes a lot to really tick me off in an airline/travel situation.When I first sat down to compose this post, I thought I would have a symmetrical list - five "do's" and five "don'ts." Turns out I have a few more pet peeves about flight (and airports) than I realized.  

The Don'ts:

1.  Unless you are talking a fellow physician through a lifesaving brain surgery that you alone know how to do and you just can't make it in time, do not walk around blathering loudly to the air (even though you are really talking to your Bluetooth, which we can't see). The details of your latest colonoscopy do not thrill me. Actually, they repulse me.

2.  If it has been ten or more years since you raised your own children, and you find the words, "When I was raising my kids, I never would have [insert offending action here, maybe "let that child run with a lollipop in their mouth"], just don't say it. It's stressful enough traveling with young children. Being critiqued doesn't help one bit.

3.  Don't take pictures of things that you find interesting that will be hysterically funny in your blog if there is a sign posted nearby that says, "No photos." I don't think the TSA is kidding about that and I am probably bitter that can't take pictures of the hysterically funny stuff so I don't want you to be able to either (and I don't want you to get arrested!).

4.  Don't keep your cell phone on after the flight crew tells you to turn it off. Nothing is that important. I don't understand the science of why that may bring the plane down but I really don't want to be the guinea pig. It can wait.

5.  If you see a child doing something that you find irritating, or acting out in a way to which your first reaction may be: "why can't those parents control their child?" remember that although there are certainly children out there whose problems can be resolved via tougher discipline, some children have disorders that cause them to behave in ways that attract attention and that are exacerbated by unusual situations and the stress of traveling. Will it really kill you to walk on by and carry on with your travel plans? Or even to say to that child's parent or caretaker, "sounds like a rough day -  hope the rest of your trip goes smoothly."

6. Respect the fact that people who are traveling to other places speak other languages. They may have to ask the staff person the same question twice and have the answer repeated until they comprehend it. Cut them a break.

7. If you feel like tweeting, Facebooking, or otherwise socialmediaing something like, "crap - of course I got seated next to the crying infant - great birth control!" it's certainly your right to do it (I do my share of venting via Twitter too). But even though your tweet won't be read by the baby's parent or, duh, by the baby, I can tell you that as someone who has had to travel with an infant by myself, when I see something like that it plants more seeds of dread inside me about my eventual travel plans. Empathy is a good thing. (Empathy and earplugs.)


The Do's

8.  Dole out as many compliments to airport staff as complaints. If someone goes the extra mile or even approaches their job as if they are happy to be there, let them know you appreciate that. Undoubtedly they get a LOT of nastiness. Good should be recognized.

9.  Lend a hand to a parent of young children if they are juggling a stroller, three carry on bags, a toddler or two, and a latte. They need the latte. Trust me on this.

10.  Despite the frustrations of the current state of air travel in our nation and our world, try to take a deep breath and soak in the majesty of the atmosphere.

There isn't a flight goes by when I don't stare out of the window and thank my stars for what I'm seeing and feeling. 
— Richard Branson, pilot and founder of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Galactic.

Mama's

8 comments:

Bethany Blizard said...

ok Paula,I admit to being all of those people at one point in time. I suck...

Barbara said...

I love #9 and it is so true! I was this person when I was single and traveling, now I hope I'm a little bit wiser. Stopping in from Mama Kat's

mamamash said...

"Empathy and earplugs." Oh man, advice for life.

Eileen @ Bringing Up Bronwyn said...

Or even to say to that child's parent or caretaker, "sounds like a rough day - hope the rest of your trip goes smoothly."

This, I love. Great tips! (Stopped by from Mama Kat's.

Reviewer11 said...

LOL, first I gotta say the first one is hilarious, but because I imagine a guy with a bluetooth in his ear and it looks like he is either talking to you or to himself, LOL!!

So true-- we all must be understanding. There are children who overact but like you said, it's not their fault because of their illness.

SUPAHMAMA! said...

"8. Dole out as many compliments to airport staff as complaints. If someone goes the extra mile or even approaches their job as if they are happy to be there, let them know you appreciate that. Undoubtedly they get a LOT of nastiness. Good should be recognized."

You are a Flight Attendant's dream passenger. :) I wish I'd had you on one of my flights!

CoffeeJitters said...

"empathy and earplugs" I love that

My Journey With Candida said...

I agree totally with Number 4. I have been on a plane where a lady hid behind her seat and used the cell phone. I tried glaring at her but she didn't seem to care.

Number 5... The last flight I was on, I was beat, my Husband and I were trying to sleep. This kid kept kicking the back of my Hubands seat, not light but hard enough it jarred my seat too. I know you say the parents are stressed.... but that was to much for me to handle. I did not say anything but I feel the kid should of been controlled a little better.

Anyway those are my beefs.