5 things you do on a plane that annoy other passengers
In my career, I’ve taken thousands of flights, clocking more than a million miles (maybe even two million at this point) in coach, business and first class on domestic and international flights. Even though I see it as a means of getting from Point A to Point B, some would say the plane is my second home. For someone who flies on a regular basis, I can say without hesitation that I’ve mastered the art of flying, and because I’ve mastered the art of flying, I’m aware of those who have not. There’s no judgment here. I know not everyone flies on a regular basis, like my parents, who I had the interesting/entertaining/mindboggling experience of flying with once from Atlanta to Boston. Selfies weren't a thing back then, so WOW. Just wow.
Anyway, there are some things passengers do on a plane that are understood to be forboden. I like to analogize it to going to a movie theater. There are people who, bless their hearts, don’t turn off their phone, text during the movie, talk during the movie, shove their feet into your seat, maybe eat nachos painfully loud and turn into giggle monsters by finding pivotal, dramatic scenes really funny. No, seriously: bless their hearts.
Obviously, you can have a similar situation on a flight, where passengers do things that may disrupt other passengers and flight crew—and, more often than not, they have absolutely no idea they are doing it. In my opinion, these are the top five things that everyone should be aware of not to do and, once downloaded in their brain, it may help them and others to fully sit back, relax and enjoy the flight. Let me know if I'm missing anything in the comments!
1) Leaving your window shade open the entire flight. It’s very rare I sit in the window seat (I’m more of an aisle person), but when I do, I keep the window shade down, like most passengers on a flight. Why is this important? When you’re flying 20,000 feet high in the sky during the day, you’re really close to the sun. That sun glares right through the window in a blinding way. This is especially annoying when the flight has seat-back entertainment. If you’re sitting in an aisle, you will definitely get that glare on your screen, which compromises the viewing, and that brightness can stretch as far as the other side of the plane. What's crazy is that the passenger is never actually looking out the window (the glare is too strong). In fact, I often notice they are usually sleeping, which totally defeats the purpose of having the window shade open. There's no official rule to having the window shade open or closed during a flight, but it's generally understood to have it closed so no one is disturbed (hint, hint).
2) Reclining your seat (arguable here). Have you ever been on a flight when, once the plane hits cruising altitude, the person sitting in front of you reclines his seat all the way back, totally hijacking your space? It’s brutal. It’s worse in coach, where the seats are already tiny, so if you’re on your laptop, you have to basically work in a weird sitting position. Like a troll or whatever. Anyway, there’s really not much you can do as all flights offer a standard number of inches for seat recline (doesn't it feel like airlines never tested these reclined seats out in a trial before taking flight?). I’ve been a victim in both ends of the dilemma. Passengers in front of me will recline the entire time (putting me in my weird laptop-using/troll position), but I also had a passenger behind me lose her shit once because my seat was reclined, and I had to argue it was the standard recline on all of the seats, not just mine. I almost made her a Twitter star. Anyway, because the recline is a standard on most planes, I understand it’s just something you have to deal with… although it can be annoying.
3) Standing near the gate before boarding. I won’t elaborate on this one. Passengers love crowding near the boarding gate, even if they are in the last boarding zone and the gate agent announces to not crowd near the gate. Listen, the plane is not going to leave without you. I promise.
4) Using the first-class bathroom when you’re booked in coach. Whenever I sit in first class on domestic flights, there’s always one or two guilt-ridden passengers booked in coach that nervously stride their way to first class to use the bathroom. I’m always waiting for them to pull some funny Kristen Wiig/Bridesmaid stunt to make it totally worth it, but they usually run in and out, with the face like they just stole something. It’s pretty hilarious. To be honest, I don’t care too much about this. When you gotta go, you gotta go. All I can say is that first-class passengers do get annoyed, especially if they have to wait in line because you're all up in their bathroom. It makes sense. They bought a first-class ticket (or upgraded with miles) to have those perks in first class, so, sure, it will obviously annoy them.
5) Moving overhead bin luggage. Among the five on the list, nothing annoys me like a passenger moving my luggage to make room for his. One: Don’t touch my stuff. Two: Don’t touch my stuff! It’s fine if passengers move my luggage around to squeeze their luggage in, but actually taking it out to put it in another bin draws the line. I’ve had this happen a few times. I get all Cassie/ANTM "Don't TOUCH my brownies!"