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Photo Gallery: Planespotting in my favorite place


Photo Gallery: Sunset View from an Airplane

Spotlight: Airplane Etiquette

Airplane Etiquette 101:  Suggestions from a Former Flight Attendant

So I recently found a great article on Airplane Etiquette 101 by James Wysong…very humorous, but good things for all of us to remember.  When traveling, we need to remember to treat each other with common courtesy….Here are a few highlights:

1. How to recline your seat back
Some passengers mistake their airplane seat for Old Dad’s ancient recliner. They press the button on the armrest, and then slam the seat back with enough force to send drinks and laptops flying into the lap of the passenger behind them. When that passenger is on the tall side, the maneuver is sometimes accompanied by the sound of cracking knees. All this commotion is unnecessary. The unwritten rule is to make a “looking behind you” motion and then recline slowly, giving the person behind you time to react.

2. Where to stow your carry-on
When boarding, some passengers put their carry-on bag in the first available overhead bin — never mind that their seat is in the back of the airplane. This forces the passenger who does sit up front to cram his carry-on in the tiny space at his feet. Unwritten rule: Stow your bag in the general vicinity of your seat. But there’s a wrinkle: Don’t insist that the overhead bin directly above your seat is yours. Many people like to stow their bag in the bin in front of them so they can keep an eye on it. That is both sensible and fair.

3. What to wear on an airplane
Air travel has become more casual in recent years, and so has the attire. While more casual clothes are more comfortable, passengers sometimes go too far. I consider myself fairly liberal, but do I really need to be reading “Squeeze My Juicy Melons” on the front of a busty female’s T-shirt? And then, when I do, is it fair to glare at me for noticing the fruit? Unwritten rule: Dress as if your parents were along for the trip.

4. What to do about the armrest
Too many people play “King of the Armrest.” In this game, you claim the armrest by putting your arm on it first; when you relinquish it — even for a second — your seat neighbor claims it with one deft move. Maybe it’s because the seats are getting smaller that people feel so compelled to defend the little space they have left. Here’s the unwritten rule: The passengers in the window seat and aisle seat each get one armrest, but the poor squashed soul in the middle seat gets access to both.

5. How to display your affection in public
Now, there’s the romantic kiss, and then there is the virtual face lick. I agree that the world needs more affection, but if your amorous actions are making your seat partners queasy, the unwritten rule is: “Get a room!

6. What to do about the kids
Being a parent is a wonderful thing, and being a responsible parent is a blessing — especially to everyone around you on an airplane. Faced with the challenge of controlling youthful enthusiasm in a confined space — sometimes for hours on end — too many parents shrug their shoulders or plug in their iPods. Result? The kids run around unattended, kick the seat in front of them, pitch fits, throw peanuts and play their electronic games way too loud. The unwritten rule? Parents have to really try to maintain order. Conversely, if you are not traveling with kids: Have a heart. Sometimes kids just unravel — no matter how hard you try. Besides, you were a kid once, too.

7. When to go to the bathroom
You can’t always control your need to visit the lavatory, but there are times when it’s inconvenient for others to get out of their seat to give you access to the aisle. The drink and meal service is one of those times, especially on a single-aisle aircraft. If you let the flight attendants do their thing and get up before or after, everyone wins. Wasn’t there an old “Seinfeld” episode about this very topic?

8. What to do about the window shade
A lot of travelers on long flights like to close their window shade so they can sleep, but a handful of folks prefer to keep the shade up so they can read, work or just look out the window. It may be annoying to have the full glare of the sun in your eyes when you’re trying to sleep, but nobody should be forced to keep a shade shut for somebody else’s naptime. The real problem is with those who are constantly opening and shutting their window shade. The unwritten rule here is: Make up your mind. People can adjust to your steady light but not to your indecision.

9. How to chat up your neighbor
Nobody likes a Chatty Cathy in flight, especially a loud one, and especially on a night flight. If your conversation with a willing neighbor goes on for more than 10 minutes, take it to the back of the airplane and finish it there. You could probably use a stretch, and your seat neighbors probably need a rest.

10. How to leave the lavatory
Does this really need saying? Most airplane lavatories are smelly, dirty and germy — how could they not be with so many people using them in so short a time? That doesn’t mean that you have to add to the mess. The unwritten rule is to leave the lavatory as clean as you found it, which means at least wiping out the sink with a paper towel. And those of you with bad aim, wipe it up!

11. How to use your cell phone on an airplane
Nobody wants to hear about your big business deal or your hot date while they’re boarding the plane or taxiing down the runway. Keep your voice down. (Believe me when I tell you: Everyone around you is listening.)

12. How to deal with a seat kicker
Not all seat kickers are children; there are plenty of tall, bored and just plain inconsiderate seat kickers out there, too. There are also those who retaliate for a reclined seat by giving it a good thump from time to time. Unwritten rule: Don’t do it. If you’re the victim, convey your annoyance as nicely as possible; if that doesn’t work, move to a different seat or notify a flight attendant. I once was traveling back from Australia with a 6-year-old who did a nonstop tap dance on the back of my seat while his mother did — nothing. I promised him $10 if he refrained from kicking for the rest of the flight. It worked. His mother was not too pleased with my act of bribery, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

13. Dealing with odors.
Airplanes are small confined spaces, dealing with odors is inevitable.  Odors cover the gamut of bodily-function-related offenses, as well as smelly feet, wearing of strong perfumes or colognes, and consuming strong or pungent foods.  Try to be considerate of those around you.

14. Say please and thank you.
Whether you’re asking for a $10 box of cheese and crackers or asking your neighbor to let you crawl over them to the aisle, politeness is imperative. A routine “thank you” on your way off the plane reportedly goes a long way.

The key to in-flight etiquette — like all etiquette — is to remember that you are not alone. Some consideration for your fellow man is all that you really need to get along. I would say that most of us have that, but we will always remember those who don’t.

To read Airplane Etiquette 101 in full, pls click here.


Spotlight: How Not to Behave On An Airplane

Spotlight: How Not to Behave On An Airplane

Check out Lonely Planet’s article on “How Not to Behave On an Airplane:  a Passenger’s Bill of Rights.”

Here are the highlights:

The Passengers’ Airplane Behavior Bill of Rights

Article I: The right to remove shoes
Passengers shall be allowed to remove shoes from their feet, but only if the aforementioned feet don’t stink or present health risks to other passengers. The right of the passenger to go to the lavatory without shoes shall not be infringed, as it is really your own business should you want to stand in the urine of others.

Article II: Freedom from unreasonable aromatic assault
No passenger shall, in the time of flight, be subjected to unreasonable aromas, be it from powerful perfume, foods redolent of onion, or other fragrance wholly unnecessary whilst on an airplane.

Article III: The right to reasonable light
All passengers shall be allowed the right to use their own overhead light to read when the cabin lights are turned off, as that is its intended use. No passenger shall be unwillingly bothered by the thoughtless opening of window shades during this period; window seat passengers are not delegated the power to blind their fellow passengers.

Article IV: The article of reclension
A well-justified act of reclining one’s seat shall not be prohibited at all times, apart from meal time and other times specified by the flight crew. All instances of reclension shall be preceded by a rearward glance so as not to unwittingly crush the patellas or portable electronic devices of the affected passenger.

Article V: Freedom of no speech
There shall be no requirement for other passengers to listen to you drone on about your child, cat or other subject not directly germane to an immediate inflight emergency situation. The right of other passengers to give you the ‘book-off’ shall not be infringed, nor shall you assist with the answer to 14-across if unprompted.

Article VI: The right to bear armrests
In all cases where an armrest is shared by two adjacent passengers, both parties must respect the right of the other to keep the armrest down. Passengers relegated to a middle seat shall be afforded special status, and aisle and window passengers shall endeavour to accommodate.

Article VII: Conditions of passenger quarters
Passengers shall not be subject to the rubbish of others crammed thoughtlessly into seat-back pockets, or tossed onto the floor in a cavalier fashion. Chewing gum shall not be pressed to any surface affixed to an aircraft.

Article VIII: The right to heed the call of nature
A well-organised attempt to use the lavatory, being necessary for inflight calm and gastrointestinal health, shall not be impeded by aisle passengers sleeping or otherwise. The rights of others waiting to use a lavatory shall supersede the frankly ill-advised wishes of current lavatory users to waste time poking around said lavatory.

Article IX: Provisions concerning use of electronic devices
The assurance of safety shall not be infringed by the desires of others to make one last phone call, update their social network status to brag about their impending holiday, or to plant cauliflower in their virtual farm. Whilst MythBusters and others have debunked most potential dangers of using common electronic devices on planes, safety and calm shall take precedence.

Article X: Cruel and unnecessary aisle clogging
No passenger shall, in the time of disembarking, hastily grab their bag and congest the exit route before actual movement is possible. Likewise, when it comes time to exit, no passenger shall unaccountably act surprised that it is their turn to leave.

Article XI: Freedom from feral children
The right of passengers not to be kicked in the back, have their hair pulled, be presented with unasked-for mucous-moistened objects, or be otherwise assaulted by feral children shall not be infringed. Crying babies cannot be held accountable for their actions, and are therefore exempt.

Article XII: The right of reasonable alcohol consumption
No person, apart from those who are drunk and obnoxious or minors, shall be prohibited from imbibing an alcoholic beverage should they feel that it is a good idea, despite all indications to the contrary.

Article XIII: The right to private media
Reading over others’ shoulders shall not be inflicted, unless achieved in a particularly stealthy fashion causing no annoyance to the book holder. The same shall be true for films and other non-private media.

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