A Modest Proposal

I flew out to Salt Lake City last night (on a full 737, which makes for a rather unpleasant journey), and it occurred to me that while passengers complain about airlines all the time, in fact we, the passengers, are quite guilty of contributing to the misery that is the coach experience.  So, in that spirit, I’ve come up with a modest proposal that will, I hope, make your next journey in the back more pleasant.

–I know that your seat CAN recline all of the way.  But I’m begging you, please, please, please recline just a little bit.  This, more than anything else, would improve the quality of coach air travel.  Whenever I mention this people say to me, "But it’s my seat, I can do what I want."  I know you can.  I’m asking you nicely.

–When you get up from your seat, please do not grab the seat in front of you for leverage.  It catapults that person forward when you let go.  That is especially annoying when the person in front of them has their seat reclined all the way.  You can see how the seat reclining starts to affect the whole thing, right?  Grab your arm rests for leverage instead.

–When you’re walking down the aisle with a backpack and you turn around quickly, you will hit the person in the aisle seat in the head.  Please, either carry your backpack in your hand, or be more careful when you turn around in the narrow aisle.

–If you are sitting next to your husband, and he is a snorer (like the guy in 10D last night), please wake him to stop him from snoring.  Snoring is an annoying sound.  Listening to snoring for 4 hours is Guantanamo Bay-like torture.

–If you are on your cell phone, the rest of the plane does not need to hear your conversation.  The dude in 12D last night was, at one point, saying (yelling?) into the phone, "Steve—can you tell Bill everything we’ve just discussed, he is the only one who doesn’t know about this yet."  To which I said to the person next to me, "Because everyone on the plane now knows." Please, just keep it down.

–I’m guilty of this one:  When you see someone struggling to get their bag into the overhead bin, don’t just sit and stare at them, wondering if they’re going to triumph.  Help them out.

–If you’re the last one on the plane, and the plane is full, please do not schlep your 2 large bags down the aisle to seat 37B.  Ask the flight attendant if there is any room in the overhead bins so that you need not drag both bags to 37B, then bag down the aisle to get them checked.  It holds up the flights and knocks into everyone in the aisle seats.

–Say please and thank you to the flight attendants.  You’ll be
surprised how much happier it makes them, and how much happier that
will make you.

That’s really about it.  A few simple pieces of consideration that will make everyone’s life a little better back here in coach.


  1. gee, if you wanted comfort you should fly first class to Malasia.

  2. I’m torn on helping people put their bags in the overhead bin. There are exceptions, but in general if you can’t lift it into the overhead bin yourself, then check it.

  3. I think I’m married to the guy in 10D.