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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Advice for Airline Passengers

First off, I love you all, you pay my salary. Lots of you are really cool and I presume trying to be cool. However, here are some annoyances I must air. These are directed at the other guy, not you, you're great. Here's some advice for those of you in the cabin. (And us pilots ride there occasionally too.)

  • If the board says you're at the right gate, and the earlier flight is still showing when you get there, you're ok. Just check the board. The gate agent is busy working the flight before yours. Wait til it closes and THEN ask them about the movie/free upgrade/seat assignment etc. If it's not time it's not time and the flight won't leave more than 5-10 mins early. And how often does that happen to you? Not very. It's going to take as long as it's going to take. Leave the driving to us.
  • A pilot in uniform has no special mastery over all things airport related. We just drive the bus. We may not know where gate Z555 is, because we always come in at gate A1. There's probably a sign. We are better in bed though, that's true.
  • The seatback is not a handhold. When you're jerking around on it, it makes the person's head in that seat look like a Stevie Wonder bobblehead doll; especially if they're asleep. Well, they aren't any more. Don't use it to stand up and sit down. (Psst: if you are in an Embraer regional jet, look under the armrest back near the hinge for a small button. You can press that and raise the armrest. It's about an inch from the hinge.)
  • Don't hang that extremity into the facial area of the person sitting down. Unless you've got a Hooter's girl body and it's those extremities and the pax in question is a heterosexual male, then it might be ok. Usually it's the other end of someone and it isn't a Hooters girl. Unless you're on Hooters Air, but I digress.
  • Jumping around in the seat WILL move the seatback and odds are the tall pax behind you has their knees jammed into it. It ain't much but when an immovable object encounters an unstoppable force...wiggling, and whining, isn't fashionable at any age.
  • Don't suddenly lean your seat back. You're not in your La-Z-Boy at home. See above.
  • Don't take your shoes off. I don't care if they don't smell. It's just not polite society. See above. You're not in your La-Z-Boy at home.
  • Pajamas? Really? Again, above.
  • Flight Attendents ARE there for your safety. They wait on you but they are not 'really just a waiter' or somesuch as I overheard some 'aviation expert' say on a flight the other day. Folks can't even figure out how to work the bathroom door and the overhead bins and you're going to handle stuff in an emergency like oxygen masks not correctly deploying, automatic defibrillators, and exiting the aircraft at the correct exit, not the one where the wing's on fire and you're in a panic? (FA's: Most of you do a great job, just don't get too overbearing on the newbie travelers ok? It's all new to them.)
  • It's a plane, not a 'partner'. That's when you should complain about size. Want to fly in a 737 or larger all the time? Limit yourself to the larger city pairs. Houston, Cleveland, Newark, etc. Oklahoma City? You just ain't there yet.
  • Don't bring your small child on the late late late or early early early flight. No one will be happy.
  • And lastly, you will fly XYZ Airlines again, if we're the cheapest or going at the right time. We'd be ever so glad if you'd take your loud and lengthy rant to ABC Airlines. You'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Stay safe, stay polite, and try and have fun. You are getting an airplane ride at least. I leave you with this classic. (Hey, TSA, if there wasn't a grain of truth...)

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