Last week I was in Las Vegas.
In case you missed it, these things happened:
I was so stressed out about having to present twice at the conference. Standing in front a room full of your peers and presenting is extremely nerve racking. I don’t even know how to describe it. I was stone sober, so it wasn’t even like singing karaoke to a crowded bar.
Sure, I have presented this stuff before and given lessons to my friends, but this conference was full of techy HR people, and I was there to speak their language. I wanted to run the second I got there and realized who else showed up.
So I dropped the word “vagina” during the first ten minutes of the first session and won the crowd over. Seriously, that word could have gone one way or the other. Thankfully, it worked out for me and they found me adorable.
On Wednesday night, I drank myself into oblivion. The nerves had subsided, and I was on Cloud 9. I really think I am one of those people who performs better under extreme pressure.
I left Vegas feeling like this (because I had three hours of sleep):
Which brings me to the problem. You can clearly see I look like I’m going to puke at any moment, right?
So it didn’t help that I was sat on the plane next to some guy choking on his snot. You know that noise men make when they are trying to pull a loogie out of their throats and spit it? This guy did that the entire trip, but he never spit it out. He just kept snorting up the snot.
I am back on an airplane to Vegas as I type this today (with our General Manager for the Digital Dealer Conference), and he is a perfect plane buddy. He isn’t grossing me out with snot balls, he is watching a movie quietly as I write this, and he didn’t make us late.
My Delta Skymiles tally shows that this trip will put me over 18,000 this year with their airline alone. As someone who clearly travels a lot, I would like to make a list of airplane annoyances. This way, if you don’t travel much, you know what NOT to do on an airplane. I’ve enlisted the help of some frequent flyer friends.
1. DO NOT TAKE BOTH ARMRESTS
Look, I get it. You want to be comfortable on the plane. And you can do that, but do you know who is getting fucked every single time? The dude in the middle seat. If the guy by the aisle takes both armrests, and the guy by the window takes both armrests, the guy in the middle gets nothing.
This is not hard.
Guy by the window, you get the window armrest. Guy by the aisle, you get the aisle armrest. These are givens.
Now, it’s my opinion that the middle guy gets both of his armrests since it sucks to be in the middle. However, my co-worker Matt, disagrees. He says the middle guy gets halfsies of each armrest. Which? No. I would rather trade a quick sexual favor for that armrest than touch arms with a stranger for four hours.
Anyway, someone is going to get two armrests because that’s how Armrest Math works. Just don’t be the jerk that takes all the armrests from the middle guy.
2. DO NOT FIGHT WITH THE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS
The craziest thing I’ve seen happen on a plane, was a dude who was belligerent with the flight attendants before take-off. He was on the previous flight, and he thought he’d left his folder on the plane. So he just walked back on that plane and started hollering.
I’m pretty sure he ended up arrested.
But I also see a fare share of people treating the flight attendants like crap.
Look, these people are here to assist the cabin from point A to point B. They are not here to bring you 500 mixed drinks and then have to deal with you while you’re hammered. This isn’t a bar. Oh, and if they ran out of sandwiches before they got to you? Oh. Well. Deal with this and order something else. They can’t just pull a sandwich out of their butt and feed it to you (although I am sure they’d like to give you a butt sandwich if they could). Are you cold? Tell them nicely. I’ll bet they track down a blanket for you.
Just don’t be a dick.
3. DO NOT EAT STINKY FOOD
Some people have motion sickness. Stinky food does not go well with motion sickness. Be sensitive to this.
Plus, stinky food stinks up the whole plane. It’s not like you can open a window and air the place out.
4. DO NOT POOP IN THE BATHROOM
Again, the air is recycled. Only poop in the plane bathroom if you absolutely cannot hold it any longer. Or if you’re farting uncontrollably. Or if you’re a nervous pooper.
Otherwise, poop before you leave the airport.
5. DO NOT PUT YOUR CARRY-ON IN THE FRONT OVERHEAD BIN WHEN YOU’RE SITTING IN THE BACK
I’ve never understood the people who get on the plane, have seats in the back of the plane, yet throw their carry-on over seats rows in front of theirs. Dude, take your crap and put it in the overhead bin above your ticketed row.
When you don’t do this, you mess up the entire flow.
Now, the person whose overhead bin you’ve jacked, can’t get their carry-on ready to go when they get off the plane. And they have to walk around to find it if they need something during the flight. And now, they are leaning over other people, not the people they are traveling with, trying not to put their armpit in a stranger’s face. And after that, the poor person who has had their bin jacked, stresses the entire flight since they are no longer close to their carry-on. What if someone takes their carry-on by accident when de-boarding?!
Stop messing up the overhead mojo! Three carry-ons will fit in each one! I promise!
6. DO NOT PLAY MOVIES, GAMES, OR MUSIC WITHOUT HEADPHONES
This feels like common sense, but it’s not.
I don’t want to hear your score add up every time you hit a bonus round. I don’t want to listen to the music you’re listening to. I don’t want to watch your movie with you.
Put on your headphones.
7. DO NOT LET YOUR WEIRD KID STARE OVER THE BACK OF HIS SEAT AT ME THE ENTIRE FLIGHT
I think I have a friendly face or something. Little kids seem drawn to it.
Yeah, I’ll be nice to your child for about a half-hour. After that, you need to wrangle her in, and make her face forward. She’s creeping me out, and my fake smile has faded.
8. DO NOT LOOK AT MY COMPUTER SCREEN, iPAD, OR PHONE
Hey, you! Eyes on your own stuff!
I write on flights. I spend $12 on wifi, and I write away. I cannot write with someone watching me write. This is my craft, not yours.
Most likely, I am Facebooking and tweeting about you, so it’s rude of you to watch me talk about you behind your back.
9. DO NOT CHEW YOUR GUM LIKE IT’S THE LAST PIECE OF GUM ON EARTH
I am guilty of this. But I asked around, and chewing noises bother people.
I guess it goes up there with not making snot noises the entire flight.
10. DO NOT PUT YOUR SEAT BACK
This one is controversial, but I’m just going to say it.
When you put your seat back, I cannot type on my laptop. And if I cannot type on my laptop, I cannot work on the plane. And if I cannot work on the plane, I just wasted $12 on wifi and my valuable time.
I hear there is a trick for this. If you shove a water bottle between the tray table and the seat, the person in front of you cannot lean back. They assume their seat is broken. I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m going to.
If it’s nighttime, you can lean your seat back. But during the day? People are really working on planes. Especially people who travel a lot.
A special thanks goes out to everyone who contributed ideas for this post: Matt from Work, Derek from Work, Kathy from Twitter, Alice Clayton from Twitter, Lisa from Twitter, Lauren from Twitter, and Tonya from Twitter.
So tell me, what bothers you on an airplane? Do you agree with this list? Or did it make you mad?