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19th Jul 2018

The 9 unspoken rules of being a considerate plane passenger

Keep! Your! Shoes! And! Socks! On! At! All! Times! For! The! Love! Of! God!

Ciara Knight

Keep! Your! Shoes! And! Socks! On! At! All! Times! For! The! Love! Of! God!

Plane journeys are, on the whole, a lot to deal with. You’re hurtling through the sky at 900km/hr and you’re surrounded by the worst thing in the entire world – people.

But there’s things you can do to make the whole experience less disgusting. If everyone agrees to adopt the following list of unspoken rules (bcos they are written lol ty), we could see plane passenger happiness increase to a solid 8/10 by this fiscal year’s end.

I’m not telling you how to live your life, I’m just suggesting that you agree to do it differently so as to stop being scum.

Please, all I ask is that you try.

Rule #1: Be flexible about your seat, you sack of shit

I don’t care if you’ve had the window seat in row 12 on every flight you’ve ever been on and it’s bad luck for you to sit in the middle because you once got a papercut watching Malcolm In The MIDDLE so it brings up a very negative headspace for you. If there’s a couple or a parent and child or even two friends that are looking to sit together and you’re not playing ball to facilitate them, I’m sorry to report that you are garbage. If you’re traveling alone, it really doesn’t matter where you sit. You’re not going to get there any quicker or slower by moving two rows behind. Just do the right thing and give them your seat, bank details, blood sample, first born and a card wishing them a pleasant journey. Thank you.

Rule #2: Don’t bore a blatantly disinterested passenger with your observations, you needy loser

Wow, it saves petrol to have the tip of the plane’s wings angled slightly upwards, does it? Cool. Is that going to help me get past the notoriously difficult level 175 of Candy Crush? Didn’t think so, pal. Look, I don’t want to come across as an arsehole, so please don’t lure that side of my personality out with your drivel. I’ve got headphones in. If I’m sitting idly beside you, occasionally making eye contact and even initiating conversation myself, then you may engage in some light chitchat. But do not come near me unless you’ve got information pertaining to the scandal that was Will Young beating Gareth Gates in the Pop Idol final that rocked the winter of 2001. Thank you.

Rule #3: Do not, under any circumstance, recline your seat, you animal

Look, I get it. I hear you. I understand. Aeroplane seats aren’t comfortable, nor are they conducive to sleeping, but everyone has the same issue. We’re all in the same boat, except that it is a plane and it’s cramped as hell. But hear me out. Let’s not make things any worse than they need to be. The sweet relief that 2cm of recline your chair can provide is nothing compared to the world of discomfort and claustrophobia you’ll be causing the unfortunate soul sitting behind you. They will curse you for the entire duration of the flight and if you happen to be seated in front of a witch, your life will begin to crumble as a direct result of the selfish act of reclining your seat. Wouldn’t risk it, tbh. Thank you.

Rule #4:  Keep! Your! Shoes! And! Socks! On! At! All! Times! For! The! Love! Of! God!

This rule actually extends to all forms of public transport, not just air travel. It should go without saying, but past experiences have led me to a point where I am needing to get this written down in digital text. Please, I beg you, never take your shoes off on a plane. Even if the plane has landed in the water and you’re being instructed by the cabin crew to remove your shoes for ease of escape, it’s best not to risk it. Nobody wants to smell feet, ever. If they do, they become chiropodists and have a long and happy career being professional weirdos. You might be convinced that your feet emit precisely zero odour, but I need you to believe me when I say that they absolutely do. Also, if you ever remove your shoes and then subsequently socks on a plane, I hope you spend the rest of your natural life waking up at 4am every night with a leg cramp of such severity that it comes close to killing you each time, but never fully does. Thank you.

Rule #5: Be mindful of the snacks you bring on board, you repulsive pig

Let’s quickly remind ourselves that a plane is an enclosed space. As with any confined area, there’s a few things that are an absolute no-go, most of which revolve around food. You might love nothing more than horsing into an egg, tuna, onion, garlic and body odour sandwich on a transatlantic flight to Lebanon, but those around you aren’t going to have a particularly swell time sitting next to the smell that that’s going to emit, nor watching you shove it down your gob like you’re at a speed eating contest. Just be mindful of your fellow passengers, is all I’m asking. Bring snacks that aren’t pungent. Might I suggest a bottle of water and a box of Tic Tacs, or failing that, quench your appetite with a plump packet of consideration for other travellers. Thank you.

Rule #6: Keep your festering germs fully contained within your own body, you belligerent oaf

Feeling unwell of late? Just reaching the tail end of a particularly nasty head cold? Well keep it contained in your own disgusting body, thank you very much. I know this rule is selfish, I understand it’s near impossible to enforce, but I am outlining a pipe dream here and I refuse to apologise for airing my true feelings on this important matter. If you are contagious, please do not get on the same flight as me. I have a laughable immune system and I will get sick because of your germs. At the very least, you need to wear a face mask for the entire duration of the flight. I cannot because I find them very irritating and this is my dream scenario, not yours. Just have a clean bill of health before you travel on the same plane as me please. Thank you.

Rule #7: Obey the armrest rule, you selfish piece of garbage

Everyone knows that the person in the middle seat gets both armrests because life is barely worth living for them during the flight. The person in the aisle seat gets to hang over the side and stretch their legs to the side, while the other person gets the window. Those are the rules, I have not made this up myself. So if you’re going to be in an aisle or window seat AND taking up an armrest, you can get a fat grip at your nearest convenience. You don’t deserve it. You can’t imagine the kind of stress the middle seat passenger is under, not unless you’ve been in that position before. Give them the goddamn armrest and would it hurt to buy them a drink as well? Come on, you’re paid a decent wage. It’s time to give back. Thank you.

Rule #8: If you absolutely must talk, do it quietly, you insufferable loudmouth

Congratulations, you’re on a flight and you’ve got a minimum of one person nearby that you know and are glad to see. What’s this? You’d like to talk absolute nonsense for the duration of the flight? Excellent. If I could be so bold, might I suggest that you shut your trap, or failing that, speak at a low level, almost in a whisper if you can get close enough to it. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that you can speak to this person when the flight lands, or even at a later date via the modern miracle of telecommunications. So it’s not hugely essential for you to relay your entire life story on this 90-minute flight, is what I’m saying. Debbie in row 16 seat F doesn’t care that Uni wasn’t quite for you, ‘nor is any institutionalised space as you’re actually more of a free spirit than some corporate monkey who’s willing to jump through hoops on cue to get ahead’. Thank you.

Rule #9: Be nice to the cabin crew, you inconsiderate arsehole

Just as a general rule of thumb, maybe be nice to everyone at all times because that’s the right thing to do? If that concept confuses you, please read on. Cabin crew have a difficult job and dealing with your bullshit isn’t something they want to have in their remit as well as everything else. Be patient, they’re not purposely ignoring you or chatting at the back behind a curtain conspiring against you to ensure that you have a substandard journey with them. It genuinely pays to be nice to the cabin crew. Remember, they are the ones that control the alcohol and salty treats. If you bestow a certain amount of kindness unto them, it’s possible that one day, you may receive a complimentary beverage or teeny can of Pringles. Don’t be a dick, basically. Thank you.

Congratulations, you are now ready to go on an aeroplane!