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Pet peeves and travel manners . . . when boarding and unboarding a plane

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“Sir, due to some very serious physics, no matter how much you push you will not be able to get any further ahead.”

He had already stepped on my feet, bumped into my bag and made it obvious through his throat clearing that all of this plane loading was irritating him before I spoke.

I was as equally frustrated as we tried to board our plane back from Barbados; however, before I trampled him, I realised no good could come out of stepping on the person in front of me (or behind), or getting exasperated. At the end of the day the plane was not going to leave with me standing in the aisle regardless of fellow passengers’ manners.

Which brings me to a Rock Fever column I have thought about almost every time I travel (mostly while waiting): plane boarding and disembarking etiquette. For a period of hours when travelling we will all be in the same bo ... plane, so why not follow some simple manners?

My number one in plane-boarding manners: check your boarding pass BEFORE you alight onto your aircraft of choice. What good is that piece of paper buried under your laptop or hiding among the small office you have packed? Not much.

Number two on plane-boarding etiquette? Counting. Sure if you are a two-year-old in nursery school trying to count out the most mundane task could be understood. A 50-year-old adult? Not so cute or understandable. Seriously do you need to read every number along the way to your seat? Surely it is understood if you are standing at row one upon entry and you are in row 26, logic would have it that you will have a fair task of travelling down the plane. Do you need to count and peer into every row you pass?

OK maybe that one was more of a pet peeve, so why not continue with pet peeves? Counting is one and the alphabet is another. This pet peeve comes with a free travel tip too! So for the alphabet-challenged: B always comes after A so if A is the window seat, B will be.....the middle! So where do you think C is? Right, the aisle. Of course planes change in size and the number of seats before the aisle so when you walk onto a plane look at how the seats have been arranged alphabetically so you know where your seat will be. Sure this gets tricky when you move from business class to our regular class, but I have faith in you!

Then again, not all of us are adults. Which brings us to number four: if you have small children please listen to the airlines when they allow you to board early. Sure it may be cute to you when your two-year-old takes each step by themselves at the pace of a snail, but I can tell you it’s not cute to anyone else!

Then for those who do not have small children, but are carrying the equivalent in their carry-ons I have place number five on the list for you. Look I am not one to follow regulations unless faced with jail time, but the size requirements for your carry-on luggage make sense! How many times have you watched (or been) that person whose wheelie suitcase cannot fit through the aisle, but it’s too heavy for them to lift so.....you wait another 20 minutes to board! It’s annoying, right? So don’t be that person and make sure your bags can either roll down the aisle or are small enough to carry in front of you down the aisle.

The case for smaller suitcases aboard also relates to elbows in my number six spot. What am I talking about? I am talking about fellow passengers who insist on waving their large bags into the elbows of their poor fellow aisle-seated passengers. Not to mention the person in front of them who will get whacked by the oversized luggage. Oh and then, fellow passenger, you won’t be able to lift it to place the bag in the overhead bin!

And don’t be that person who brings their closet onto my plane. My number seven: I know it’s annoying waiting at the other end for your bag, but it is more annoying for 100 passengers trying to board a plane when you cannot find a place for your closet. As everyone waits for you to call the attendant, try every overhead bin and finally concede to checking it under the plane believe me you are NOT making friends.

Another suggestion for number eight? Make sure you board the plane as soon as you can if you have a lot of luggage in order to keep your luggage over your seat. Do NOT steal bins from seats you are not sitting in; that’s just not nice. Oh yeah and it also means those people will get stuck with bins in the back and will slow your disembarking time.

Additionally? When you find your seats on the plane pull in. Pull into your row, wait for others to pass and WHEN there is a break proceed to place your bag in the overhead bin! Look it just makes sense. I know you want to get rid of your bag, but if it does not fit perfectly and you have to struggle you are ensuring that 100 people behind you will be ready to fit YOU perfectly in the bin.

Which brings me to my final manners’ comment and the only one when it comes to disembarking: you have options to strategically remove your overhead bags that do not require everyone behind you to wait and watch.

Option one: make sure the luggage is over your seat and is light enough for you to remove in one fell swoop.

Option two: ensure that your bag is not behind you on the plane! Try and push your way through a group of people who have been sitting for hours desperate to go home, go on vacation or visit loved ones! Best of luck.

Option three: if your bag is ahead of you (maybe the bin ahead) ask the person in front of you to take it down while you wait for the plane to open its doors and everyone to disembark. Failing that, wait!

And finally option four: if you have children or very heavy bags then wait for everyone else to get off the plane and then take your time de-planing. You will not be as stressed and the rest of the plane will not have to wait for you.

Ahhh wouldn’t it be nice if we could all think of the greater good when it comes to flying? And these are just a few of my own travel manners (and pet peeves). What are yours? Visit www.robynswanderings.com to tell me and also for the latest in my travels (hint I am not in Bermuda right now!) Ciao ciao.

Solar Impulse's Chief Executive Officer and pilot Andre Borschberg fly in the solar-powered HB-SIA prototype airplane after its first night flight attempt near Payerne airport, Switzerland, as the sun rise, Thursday, July 8, 2010 . An experimental solar-powered plane has landed safely after completing its first 24-hour test flight. The record feat brings it one step closer to the makers' ultimate aim of circling the globe using only energy from the sun. ¬ (AP Photo/Keystone/Fabrice Coffrini/Pool)
The view as I finally (after everyone boards) leave Barbados! My view of the Caribbean. Photo by Robyn Skinner
Finally everyone has boarded and we?re off the ground.
Boarding the plane does not have to be painful. Photo by Robyn Skinner
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Published August 17, 2011 at 10:05 am (Updated August 17, 2011 at 10:05 am)

Pet peeves and travel manners . . . when boarding and unboarding a plane

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