Ah, the relaxing sounds from an airplane. You all wait impatiently to board the flight, after watching disorganized groups of people push their way to the front of the line to ensure they actually make it on the plane (don’t know why their ticket isn’t the reassurance that they need to already know this,) and then the airline begins to causally call off group numbers for boarding, where it becomes painfully obvious that all the people crowding the front of the line are in Group Z, instead of the A they’ve just announced.
Once you make your way onto the plane, you start to hear the familiar sounds of children crying anxiously, older men clearing a decade’s worth of phlegm from their throats, and just a general cacophony of coughing, wheezing, heavy breathing, and telephone conversation in multiple languages assuring whoever is on the receiving end that they are, in fact, on the plane and about to take off. Not to mention the loud discussions regarding luggage fitting in the overhead bins, people moving jackets to accommodate for large bags, and the occasional panicked passenger who shouts at someone jamming their laptop case on top of the $200 vase they just picked up at a crafts fair, (I am frequently guilty of this one!)
As a frequent traveler, these things don’t both me so much as the anticipation of the chaos that lies ahead. For all the families on board or the traveling newbies, you can expect general chaos and confusion, people wondering; am I in the right place, what gate is this? Do I have the right seat? What did they just announce on the loudspeaker?
So to avoid aggravating your neighbors for the next 2, 3, or even 12 hours – here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when boarding a flight.
- Blow your nose and cough up all the phlegm you can manage in the bathroom before getting on board. This will avoid an aggravated glare from your neighbor when you do this on board.
- Take out any important items you wish to keep with you at your seat before getting on board. No one wants to be the guy holding up the entire line to sift through their belongings and decide what is worth of your time for the next X hours.
- Don’t put your jacket overhead in an empty space. If you shove it on top of your bag, that’s fine, but if you take up a suitcase’s worth of space with fluffy cotton it will frustrate someone else to no end.
- Wear deodorant. And general good hygiene is always a plus! While you may be proud of the odors your body produces, no one else will be!
- On the same vein as #4, do not wear perfume or other particularly smelly things on a day when you’re traveling.
- Take care of any bathroom priorities before getting on board. While you may be uncomfortable, it does not compare to the complete disgust and discomfort of the passengers around you who have to deal with your unpleasant odors, whatever they may be.
- If you want to strike up a conversation with your neighbor, make sure they want to talk back – if they put on headphones, take the hint. In reverse, if you don’t want to talk to your neighbors, keep your headphones in – it’s perfectly acceptable on board to point to your head piece and say “Sorry, I can’t hear you”
Here is just a beginner’s list, but I’m sure on my next long flight I will think of plenty more to add. Oh, and enjoy your trip!