June 19, 2014

Keep calm and carry-on

My recent trip compels me to remind all fellow travellers that these simple steps will make my trip much easier and more enjoyable. My trip.


  • Upon reaching security, try to be ready. Yes, please have your liquids in a bag  and ready to put in a tray. Burying them in your purse and/or backpack does not make them invisible to the x-ray equipment, nor the human eye.
  • If you can’t have your coat off, at least unbutton it so that you can remove it in quickly. You might want to stick your phone in your coat pocket, along with your watch, your belt, your change, and your security alarm-triggering jewelry. Leave you pacemaker in, if you must.
  • When you’ve reach the other side (and avoided the wand-frisk because you are organized and metal free), please don’t hang over the conveyer belt waiting for your tray belongings as if the Orange Blossom Special were about to burst out, it’s been a life-long dream to witness it before you die, and you have ten seconds to live. It will come out. It will come out.
  • When it does, pick it up and walk it to the end where you can comfortably re-install all that you had to remove. Please don’t stand over the conveyer belt putting on your belt, your scarf, your coat, your wath, jewelry, and accessories. Grab the try and get out of my the way. I will do the same for you.
  • If, in error, you packed your Swiss Army knife and you are asked to hand it over, please hand it over. Don’t cry. Don’t beg. Don’t ask strangers for money to mail it home. Don’t swallow it. Hand it over.


  • Stand to the right.
  • Don’t let your carry-on stand to the left.

Boarding lounge:

  • If it’s crowded, put your stuff on the floor and take one seat only. Alternately, you could put your stuff on one seat and  yourself on the floor.
  • Don’t ask someone to move so that you can use the outlet to charge your phone.
  • Speaking of phones, don’t have long, inane conversations on them. If the person to whom you are speaking doesn’t know where you left the baseball glove, chances are strong that no one in the boarding lounge knows.


  • Please bear in mind that your seat is assigned. No one is going to take it from you. No one. If you are first on or last on –  that seat is yours. No measure of pushing or queue jumping will make it any less yours. Why the rush? OK, there is the troubling issue of overhead bin poaching which can make one anxious to get on and claim it as their own. I will address this later.
  • Overhead bin poaching. If you are in Row 26, it’s not on to stop at Row 12 and use those bins to stuff your carry-on, your coat and the 15 lbs of lobster you are taking to relatives. Simply not on.
  • Bear in mind that some passengers have pre-purchased their seat selection. Don’t ask them to move so that you can sit next to your very, very best friend.
  • If you are so fortunate to travel business or first class and are on the plane before everyone except people with children, don’t look at anyone else boarding. Ever! Turn your face away for both your sakes. Too, too awkward….

Settling in:

  • If you have long hair, don’t loosen it and drape it over the back of your seat so that it hangs as a curtain before the eyes of the passenger behind you.
  • Prepare for the flight – get your gear – your book, your ipad, your pen, your inhaler, your headphones – get them out and shove them into the pocket in the seat in from of you. Scrambling up and down to retrieve your things could well induce air-sickness. In me. Not you.
  • Share the armrest. But don’t touch me.

The flight:

  • Greet your row-mates but don’t assume they want to become fast friends.
  • Do not fall asleep while eating. This will prevent your tub of frozen ice cream falling in my brother’s your row-mate’s lap while they are sleeping causing my brother him to wake thinking his genitals have frozen from some terrible fluke of the overhead air conditioning.
  • Worth repeating:  Share the armrest. But don’t touch me.
  • Don’t drink too much. The party did not start on the airplane. Someone close to you may be flying home to their mother’s funeral. They are not in the mood to listen to your laugh-out-loud Dominican Republic hangover stories while you down several hairs of several dogs.
  • If flying from or too Halifax, don’t gossip or tell disparaging stories about your fellow workers and/or exes and/or supposed friends. Someone close by knows them, or is related to them.
  • Also a flying from or to Halifax tip: Eavesdrop. You might pick up some incriminating dirt on your fellow workers, and/or…well, you know.
  • If a baby starts to cry, don’t roll you eyes and mutter “great”.  It’s a baby. Its crying is not something it’s doing to you.
  • If you are a kid, ok, you’re a kid. I understand.
  • If you’re the parent of a kid, I don’t forgive you. Don’t let your child kick the back of my seat, drop food on me from above, bounce endlessly while holding on to my headrest.
  • Help a struggling mum or dad if they look like they’re about to collapse with fatigue and frustration.
  • Remember not to have kids.


  • Just wait.
  • Be patient.
  • Just wait.
  • Be patient.

Well, friends, these are my friendly tips for a friendlier sky. And a friendlier me.


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