I shouldn’t have to write a post on air flight etiquette, but a recent experience has forced my hand and I have no other recourse but to compose this post (as in compost?)…I’m also writing this post in red, not because I like the color, I don’t, but because the information is heed-worthy.
For my three hour flight on an airline where there are no seat assignments (SW), I was happy to have received my space in line as A36. Anyone who has flown SW airlines knows this is “how they do it”.
The savvy SW passenger also knows that the line spaces go from A1-60; B1-60; and C1-60; depending on the size of the aircraft. Business people board from A1-15 and families with kids get on the plane between A&B boarding. For those not familiar with this unique boarding system, the process can be somewhat confusing at first.
As a result of this boarding system, SW prides itself on speedy passenger boarding and on time departures. Also, the flight attendants probably like this system as they do not get paid until the cabin door is shut and all passengers are strapped in their seats. So I felt fortunate to have A36 as my space in line, even though I did have to pay an additional $12.00 for this early boarding placement.
Once on the plane, I have found moving toward the back third for seat selection can offer better seats as the families and older people fill up the seats closer to the front of the plane. The back of the plane also seems to fill up last thus offering a stronger possibility of scoring an open middle seat next to you.
As I waited for those who had spots A1-30 to board the plane, a somewhat unkempt older man tried to board during this time and was told he had to wait for his line to be called as they were only boarding the A-Listers. My line of A31-60 was called and I filed onto the plane with all the other hogs going to slaughter. Back, back, back to seat A19 just behind the wing.
The wing seats are supposed to offer the best stability during turbulence. I’m not sure if that’s true but I hate turbulence so I usually select seats over or around the wing area. However, I’m pretty sure in a crash that wing area is the first to get all mangled up and all those passengers over and around the wing seats are the first to arrive in Dead City.
I always choose the window seat because I feel like I have a bit more room as I can lean into or sleep against that window. I hate the aisle seat because that stupid crap bevvie cart with the busted wheel always bangs into me as does every cow passing by to use the toilet. Plus anyone passing by, including the flight attendants, can fart right in your face and that is so NOT good!
Everyone knows air travel causes gas…..and gas only has one way to escape once it’s in your colon…unless you blow a hole in your colon, in which case you have a much more serious problem than that broken bevvie cart bruising your elbows. The flight attendants have a name for passing gas onto the passengers…it’s called “crop dusting.” Seriously, Google it.
The bad thing about the window seat though, is you are pretty much trapped in that seat; held hostage by the passenger next to you in the middle seat and the one in the aisle seat of your row. But that day I had high hopes for a nice three hour flight in window seat A19.
So, first problem is when the kids are boarding and all of them coming to the back of the plane thus blowing my kid theory to smithereens. The good thing about the SW seating process is that since there are no assigned seats, you can change your seat if you get the family with the teething triplets and those four boys with ADD all jacked up on fruit juice and pop tarts setting up shop all around you. On this flight I was surrounded by lots of kids but they looked pretty reasonable so I decided to remain in my selected seat of A19.
Most people familiar with SW airlines play the game of trying to keep the middle seat open using such tactics as putting a bag of used Depends on the seat next to them….or laying out a giant box of pads for super heavy flow days along with a five pound slab of chocolate and a year’s supply of Pamprin for debilitating period cramps. The Pamprin bottle should have a drawing of a woman with her finger posed on the red Blow-Up-The-World button prior to her consumption of several handfuls of this miracle life saving drug.
I don’t bother with Pamprin though, that stuff is for softies; I find Advil and Aleve taken in high doses will do the trick. You have a higher chance of blowing that hole in your colon though, so be careful. For more serious issues, such as your uterus being expelled, I find the three V’s for Victory can offer needed relief: Vicoden, Valium, and Vodka.
However, shortly into the boarding process the stewardess made the announcement that this flight was completely full and every seat would be taken. Dammit! Ok, into my carryon goes the Depends, the pads for menstruating elephants, the five pound slab of chocolate, and the wonder drugs. Oh well; it’s just a three hour flight; which now sounds similar to a song from a group of people stranded on a crap island for the rest of their lives.
I smile politely at the nicely dressed girl who chooses the aisle seat in my little row. She looks normal. Although there will be a person next to me and between us, it’s all good.
Oh. Shit. No. All is NOT good….I look up from my texting to see that unkempt man asking the nicely dressed girl if he can sit in the seat between us…Noooooooo!!! Fuck NOOOO. Shit, shit, SHIT. It’s clear Mr. McVile has given up bathing for life. He is not only unkempt, he is dirty and smelly! His fingernails are long and dirt filled I think he just put the shovel used for burying his last victim in the overhead bin. Deodorant is not part of his hygiene….hygiene; WHAT Hygiene?? And now he’s touching my arm. Do NOT touch my arm! I don’t like being touched…an Airflight Etiquette no-no. And if you aren’t going to wash and insist on stinking up the entire row with your gangrenous stench please don’t lean over to look out MY window (sound of window shade being pulled down…)!!
My overhead air vent was on high during those three hours and my lips looked like I had crossed the Sahara Desert from three hours of mouth breathing. I must remember to stop and pick up a gallon of Quell for head lice infestation I’ve certainly gotten over the course of this flight. My cute outfit that was clean before I got on the plane is destined for the burner barrel as only a roaring fire will kill the lingering fetidness Mr. McVile has left behind.
Seriously folks; you can’t help it if you are older; we’ll all be there one day if we are lucky. You can’t help it if your clothes aren’t the best and your carry on luggage is a clear plastic bag filled with dirty socks and underwear with skids….maybe you hit some financial hard times and you can’t be faulted for that as it could happen to any of us…but I’m sure you can find a bar of soap or some shampoo and do a bit of washing prior to boarding the plane…. A toothbrush to polish up that last remaining tooth would be a bonus as well; your mouth and all those who are within 20 feet of you will thank you.
Think about it. Please. I beg of you. The girl next to you is begging as well…as are all the passengers in the surrounding radius of nearby rows…Thank you.