Planes, trains and automobiles…

I’ve been on more than a few flights in my life. Hundreds, maybe even thousands. And there are some simple things that everyone (and I really do mean everyone) should remember before boarding that plane (in fact they are good tips for cars and trains too). Whether it be for work or play, having a little compassion for your fellow travelers goes a long way.

It’s called deodorant. Everyone should be aware of (their own) body odour. Make sure you wear deodorant, and if you are someone who is prone to odour, bring a change of shirt on a long flight, for your own comfort, and for everyone else’s. The only thing worse than being the smelly person on a flight is sitting next to them…

You were a kid once too. Kids will be kids, they get excited on flights, they have a tendency to be too loud, too excitable, and to cry, when you just want them to shut up so that you can relax. Try to keep your evil eyes to yourself and your comments quiet, if the kids are upsetting you, their parents are probably more upset and completely stressed out. If the kid next to you tries to strike up a conversation or spills their strawberry milk, go with the flow and have a little empathy for the mother and father who look like they are about to have a nervous breakdown. Even if you’re not a kid person (and some people, really are not) try to make it your one good deed for the day.

No one wants to be gassed. Unless you are ABSOLUTELY positive you do not smell, leave your shoes on! The smell… it’s not going to make you any friends. Or do what I do, wear thongs and bring a pair of socks. That way you know you’re not smelly, you’re comfortable and you have a backup in case your feet get cold. But remember, always put your thongs on before making the (often) treacherous trip to the bathroom… don’t make the same mistake I did once, it’s not pleasurable.

Ever heard of personal space? Just because you might be carrying a little extra winter weight, you don’t need to make the person sitting next to you suffer for it. The seats are made for one. So keep your arms either off the arm rest, or respectfully share it, and keep your knees in so you aren’t in someone else’s space. No one can help a little head drop when you are sleeping, but do try to sleep in the opposite direction to your neighbour, they probably don’t fancy having you drool on their shoulder.

Singing is for the shower, not the plane. If you are listening to your music or the in flight entertainment, don’t have it up too loud, and definitely don’t sing… keep your personal taste in music to yourself, as amusing as it can be for the people around you for a couple of minutes, it gets old real quick. Nobody else wants to know that you are listening to Celine Dion, so keep her down low.

Read with respect. A newspaper takes up way too much space, especially in economy, there just isn’t the room. So bring a paper back, it has more entertainment value and its much more space efficient. There is nothing worse, and trust me, I’ve been there, than sitting next to an middle aged man with a massive The Age newspaper that takes up the full two seats just to open the spread. Not only are his elbows now in my space, but so is his sports section.

Curiosity really did kill the cat…Don’t be nosy. Keep your eyes (and hands) to yourself. Don’t read over other people’s shoulders or make comments (or worse give advice) on them playing games on their lap tops.  Just mind your own business.

Personal hygiene is just that… Personal. There are some things that just aren’t meant for public. Keep your nose picking, finger clipping, hair brushing and other personal hygiene activities to the bathroom or off the plane altogether.

You will get off the plane. I promise. When it is time to disembark, just try to relax, let the other people get to their luggage and get out of their rows one at a time as you get off the plane. Don’t rush or push or be rude. Just take a deep breath and remember, it doesn’t matter if you get off the plane before or after the person next to you, it really is not a matter of life or death. If you are landing anywhere in Asia however it really can feel like a life or death situation. You are going to need to learn patience. Take a deep breath because that seemingly sweet little old lady sitting next to you will try to trample you on the way out of the plane, on the way to the carousel and at the carousel protect your vitals, she will probably utilise an elbow jab once or twice. It’s not fun, I know, but take a deep breath; it’ll all be over soon.


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