Illustration of disgruntled boy, circa 1950s

Miss Manners

We all know what we hate when we travel.  Noise too loud to think around. Pungent food and the resulting breath in an enclosed space.  Bottlenecks boarding the plane.  The best way to know how to act in an airport and on an airplane is to think about what we ourselves hate to see, hear and encounter and don’t do that.

HER HIGHNESS THE WHINER: Complaining the line is long will not shorten it. Arriving earlier will solve the problem.

MR. & MRS. ARGUER: Like it or not, everything is TSA’s call.  Fire up the laptop and  use this complaint form.

MR. YELLER & MRS. TEARFUL: Nothing is worse than getting to the front of the line and realizing you left your ID at home. The TSA can’t do anything about it. Making a scene will get you pulled out of line. The good news is, the people in line behind you will appreciate that very much.

LORD & LADY STRIPPER: Please undress before you get to the security scan table. Grab two bins, take off your shoes, belt, big ‘ol watch, scarf, jacket, hat, ad infinitum while you are waiting in the very long line you just complained about.   You are causing a jam.

THE SUPERSTAR:  Resist singing while listening on earbuds. You can’t hear anything but what you are listening to.  Everyone else can also hear what you are listening to.  You are like the bouncing car with the booming bass at a stoplight.  If you don’t stop singing, I’m going to shove my earbud in your ear and blast NRP classical music at you.

THE SPACE COWBOY:  Filling up the  seat next to you in the waiting area is okay until people are standing and a coat is sitting.

THE SPEED BUMP:  Board with the group listed on your boarding pass. Queuing up in front of the gate creates a traffic jam with all the bags and babies and older folks who walk slow.  The gate agent is going to send you to the back of the line anyway.

THE EXCEPTION TO EVERY RULE: The flight attendant has asked you to shut off your devices for the third time. She obviously didn’t get the memo that this rule doesn’t apply to you. I don’t care how many times you’ve heard the safety briefing, every plane is different.  If the plane goes down, you will be reaching the emergency exit last because you won’t know what to do, and you better not get in my way.

THE QUESTIONER:  Yes. I have seen a flight this full before.  Yes. When you buy a coach ticket, you have to sit in coach.  Yes. The flight attendants are very busy.  Yes. That is the button to call the flight attendant.  If you push it, I will kill you.

THE ROYAL ROADBLOCK:   Get out of the aisle. Get out of the aisle. Get out of the aisle. And PS you don’t get half of the overhead bin, you get 1/4 of it  and everything else goes under the seat even if you don’t like the way it crowds your feet.  Perhaps you should have spent the royal stipend on Economy Plus.

THE EARLY EATER: Sliding into her aisle seat, she buckles up securely, grabs her lunch sack and begin consuming a dripping chopped liver and onion sandwich.  While delicious, it REEKS. And drips. On my side of the chair arm.

Now that we’ve met this cast of characters, let’s do everything we can to avoid these thoughtless acts.  Think how much fun we could have if we just treated others the way we wish to be treated.  


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