Being rude to service staff is a sure sign of what my mother used to refer to, awfully quaintly, as ‘lack of breeding’. I travel a lot and am regularly taken aback at how air travel seems to bring out the worst in some people who simply shouldn’t be allowed out.
Your flight crew are there to serve, absolutely, but they are not extras from ‘12 Years a Slave’.
Here are some of the cardinal sins to avoid on your travels if you don’t want to be that ‘plane in the ass’ that no-one can stand:
- Bring your nicest self into the plane. Even if you’ve had the time from hell in getting to the airport, had hassles at security or other setbacks, leave them behind in the terminal. Scowling, moaning and being angry with the flight crew before you’ve even taken your seat marks you out instantly as a ‘Potential PITA’, and you are probably far nicer than that.
- Pay attention during the safety demonstration. Yes, you’ve seen it a hundred times but someone is up there in front of you doing an important part of their job that might just save a life one day. Take your nose out of your newspaper, shut that laptop lid, get your nice Bose or Dr Dre cans off and show a bit of respect.
- Don’t be that prat who waits until the last second to switch off their phone or other gizmo before take off. How many times did your parents have to tell you, “How. Many. Times. Do. I. Have. To. Tell you. To …. Your phone call or email is NOT that important. YOU are not that important. Everyone else turned their stuff off ten minutes ago when they were first asked or even politely reminded a second time. Your arrogance isn’t marking you out as hyper-important, it’s making your fellow passengers reach for their air-sickness bags.
- Gents, listen up. At the risk of ‘too much information’ I’ll just say, leave the toilet as clean and splash-free as you found it. And if it wasn’t, well, you know how to be a better toilet tenant.
- Don’t tip your seat right back on a 90 minute domestic flight. What is fine on a 13 hour long haul is simply inconsiderate and thoughtless on a hop across interstate.
- The need for a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ doesn’t diminish with altitude. I’ve seen a passenger jab at a drink on the trolley with their finger, while staring at their Suduko, rather than ask politely. From a primate, that might be a cute trick, from a passenger it is simply obnoxious.
- Don’t bring on more carry on luggage that the Kardashians would take on a world cruise and then roll your eyes and start whinging that the flight attendants won’t ‘find room’ for you.
- Don’t have a hissy fit if they run out of the beef or chicken just before they get to you. The flight staff don’t do this on purpose and your fellow passengers haven’t conspired to ruin your life. It’s only a meal for heaven’s sake. Have the remaining option. It won’t be that bad and you’ll be eating again on the ground before long.
- Don’t do drama queen (or king!) histrionics thinking that this will scam you an upgrade. “There’s a thread loose on this seat”, “One of my 57 channels on the entertainment system isn’t working”. (cue faux distress). They’ve seen this a thousand times before and from better actors than you.
People complain about how difficult flying can be. OK, but perspective check: sitting reading, sleeping or movie watching while people bring you food and drink isn’t really up there among ‘World’s Toughest Jobs’. Surely we can all do it with civility and politeness, or as all of our mothers may have told us, ’Good manners cost you nothing’.