Mind your manners

This may not come as much of a surprise, but I am kind of an etiquette geek.

I defer to conventions and rules established so long ago that, in modern times, they might seem outmoded.

While some rules of etiquette might seem superfluous, in my mind, most are in place for much the same reason Emily Post or Miss Manners might argue—that they preserve civilized co-existence with our fellow humans. My words, not theirs, but you get the gist.

One realm in which greater awareness of etiquette is sorely needed is air travel. A quick Internet search revealed more than a dozen sites addressing air travel etiquette, so people and institutions are definitely spreading the word.

Mostly these sites address the obvious:  don’t kick the seat in front of you, don’t throw trash on the floor of the plane, don’t try and repack your suitcase before hefting it into the overhead bin while 75 passengers wait in the aisle behind you.

As a seasoned business traveler, I do not intend to be a snob; in fact, I go out of my way to be helpful to those who aren’t so accustomed.

However, I do believe just a few simple acts of civility would ease an already tense process; or at least keep us from wanting to mutilate each other with the tweezers that eluded security.

  1. Please dress appropriately. Whether in the gate area or a cramped coach cabin, we can’t avoid extreme closeness. So we should not be forced to look at the bare-fleshed, hairy legs or the unpedicured toes of strangers. Ladies and gentlemen alike, when you sit down, your shorts ride up. Most of us were brought up to dress for travel; I’d wear white gloves if I could find them to fit my freakishly large hands. Please save the shorts and flip-flops for your beach destination.
  2. Walk as you would drive, on the right side of the concourse. If you feel the need to stop cold, please pull off to the side. You wouldn’t stop your car in the middle of the freeway without pulling over to the shoulder. The pedestrian behind you, trying to make it from Gate A2 to Gate E58 in 10 minutes’ time, may rear-end you right in the knees.
  3. Do you really need to bring your bed pillow? I understand if you have a small pillow for your orthopedic need or a support cushion around your neck. People have told me they take their own pillows when they travel because they don’t trust the cleanliness of hotel pillows. So now when you get to your hotel, your pillow will be encrusted in airplane cooties.  Plus, it makes you look like a goofball.
  4. The universal armrest rule:  the one on the right is yours.
  5. If you notice someone sleeping during the boarding announcements, please tap her on the shoulder.

Please note:  Word Nymph is currently combining business with pleasure. Her pleasure accommodations have technological limitations that may inhibit timely blogging. Perhaps there’s a local Panera.


Filed under Rants and Raves, Travel

6 responses to “Mind your manners

  1. Dennis Jones

    Ironically, I am travelling by Megabus to NYC, and wondering why this is so much more civilized than air travel. The driver announces himself with a “Good morning!” and he is very clear and courtesy. He checked the temperature in the upper and lower decks. This is the way to go. Space is much more than on a plane and there is wifi and power outlets. Etiquette, may be something that comes from forms of travel. I know that train passengers are often very polite, in ways that air passengers are not. On the bus, the quietness is eerie.

  2. Pat Abrams

    I get to the airport early and look forward to reading my book. What happened to phone etiquette at the airport. At least five people around me are yelling into their phones instead of moving off to an area where they can speak and hear and I can read my book in peace. I always move to a neutral corner when speaking on my cell phone. Am I crazy? Please tell me that I am not alone.

  3. Deidra Darsa

    Love this, but you left out perfume/cologne. Nothing makes me gag like someone wearing either. Admittedly, I’m sensitive to it, but do they really have to take a bath in the stuff. Gag!

  4. Dianne

    And please, please, please – DO NOT stop at the top of the escalator or at the end of the moving walkway! Step to one side while you get your bearings, as people are piling up, literally, behind you!!!!

    Nothing beats the quiet car on Amtrak when traveling up and down the Northeast Corridor.

  5. Ali

    Re: #5 — did you fall asleep and miss a plane again?

  6. Come and work for me to enforce Rules 2 and 4 in Hong Kong. They need switching around here, of course (we drive on the left). Please indicate your remuneration and what specifications of goons you’d prefer to work with.

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