Cape Town - You’ve probably gazed at the slightly faded images of smiling, immaculately dressed travellers in the ’50s and ’60s, the days when you dressed up to travel.
Like the Crimplene and beehive hairdos of that era, the novelty of flying is less common nowadays. For many of us, air travel is often about people hurrying to catch their flights while trying to catch up with emails and calls.
In fact, air travel has become so commonplace that sadly, at times some of us forget our manners. Granted, very few of us are the notorious Unruly Passenger who drinks too much, creates a disturbance and is escorted off the aircraft. But even the most considerate of us may find our patience and composure slipping unintentionally.
Fortunately there are ways to make flying a more pleasant experience for everyone, says Shaun Pozyn, head of marketing at British Airways operated by Comair:
Get the paperwork done: most of us have stood behind passengers who can’t find crucial documentation at the security-gate, or who’re flummoxed about having to take their laptop out of its bag to pass through the metal-detector. Familiarising yourself with the basics will help. For a start, you can check in online with apps like ba.com, so you don’t have to check in at the airport.
Don’t make your baggage emotional: carrying luggage down an aisle and then hoisting it over people’s heads can make some passengers nervous about bumping others or being bumped. A few guidelines: taking your backpack off and carrying it in front of you will reduce the risk of it hitting someone in the face. Some passengers find that pushing their wheeled luggage down the aisle in front of them prevents it from bumping the passengers who’re already seated.
The rules are for a reason: some passengers reckon they know avionics well enough to keep their phones on throughout the flight, or have flown so often that they could conduct the pre-flight safety demonstration better than the cabin crew. But spare a thought for the cabin crew: they’re tasked with keeping you safe, so look up from your Candy Crush or copy of The Economist while they run though the demo, and switch your devices off when asked to.
Be nice about sharing space: when you’re airborne, ask the passenger seated behind you if they’d mind you reclining your seat. They may be travelling with a child and will need the space, but if not, chances are that he or she will appreciate the gesture. Also, avoid “manspreading” – the habit of sprawling one’s legs outwards and encroaching on fellow passengers’ space. Be aware too, of the need to share space on the armrests between seats. It’s possible to rest your elbow on and allow whoever’s seated next to you to do the same. There’s enough space, really there is.
Privacy: Some people are more garrulous than others and you may be seated next to a passenger who has to choose spreadsheets over chatting about the weekend’s rugby fixtures. Even if they’re not busy with work, they may simply prefer a book to banter over the ’boks. Also, you might like to unwind with the latest Saw gore-fest, but movies or games that are violent or explicit in some way can make others uncomfortable when seated close together.
Noise: If a child on board is tetchy or weepy, chances are that that the passenger who wishes for them to go to sleep the most is the parent, and the cabin crew will do their best to help. Pointedly glaring at them will accomplish nothing more than increasing your frown-lines.
Adapted from a press release for IOL