10 rules of flying

Sleep carefully, stay quiet and try not to be smelly Discuss this article

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10 Sleep carefully
Falling asleep on a stranger’s shoulder or having them nod off leaning against you… We can’t decide which is the more cringeworthy scenario. Both include more drool than we’re comfortable with, snoring noses being pushed up against recoiling ears and awkward small talk immediately after one of you wakes up.

9 Keep quiet
Were the ear plugs and eye mask not a big enough clue about us not wanting to talk to anybody? Promise to not say another word about your worthless, overshared life for at least 1,000 miles and maybe we can be buddies. It is not that we’re unfriendly, but we only just met and have already had a longer conversation with you than people that we’ve worked with every day for six years. We’d rather clamber up into the luggage bins and cry ourselves to sleep than listen to another word from you. No offence.

8 Don’t smell
You didn’t get on this plane by mistake. You knew you would be flying. You knew you would be sitting next to somebody. You knew that it would be very compact. So why didn’t you bathe at least once in the previous three weeks? This is not a car and winding down the windows is not an option.

7 Socks appeal
No matter how fresh your feet are, there is no reason to ever take off your shoes and socks. We read the leaflet about in-flight health aboard the plane as well, and while we recall the bit about slipping off shoes and exercising ankles, we are almost positive it did not say air your ghastly toes, clip your nails and rest your naked feet across our laptop bag.

6 Seat politics
Your seat is more than something you just sit on. It’s the theatre of passive-aggressive conflict. Reclining, making a claim on the armrest or just standing up to go to the bathroom are all part of the complex micro-politics of aeroplane seating. There is no accepted etiquette, but be considerate. What is definitively banned, however, is tapping, shaking, kicking or in any way interfering with the seat directly in front of you. Do any of those things and there is a good chance a hefty piece of hand luggage will be dropped on your head when you least expect it. That includes in the taxi queue after disembarking…

5 Spoiler alerts
In-flight entertainment systems are now so advanced that there are dozens of movies, albums and TV box sets available at the swipe of a finger. With such a variety available, why is it that you always end up watching the same one as your neighbour but just two minutes behind them? With every plot twist, action sequence and revelation showcased just inches away from your screen, it is near impossible not to peek at theirs to see what happens next. Feel free to break rule nine and ask them to pause for a minute while you catch up.

4 Turbulence
Screaming, blubbering and a frightened yelp are all acceptable reactions to your plane suddenly lurching downwards in a pocket of turbulence. Close your eyes, grab onto something solid (not another passenger) and mutter to yourself that it will get better soon. It won’t keep the plane in the sky, but could be enough to keep your breakfast in your body.

3 Crying babies
The parents are without question more desperate, stressed and in need of a nap than you are. Put in some earplugs, place a blanket over your head and deal with it.

2 Meal time
To the man who stole a bread roll off this Time Outer’s tray a few years ago, this is an opportunity to say, “I know it was you”. Who else could it have been? Half the flight I was asleep, you had crumbs on your trousers and I am pretty sure I saw you lunge for it when I was trying to retrieve a lost fork. Things can be stressful enough on a plane, but let’s all of us agree that we should chew with mouths closed, try not to squirt salad-dressing on each other and keep the lunch theft to a minimum.

1 Phone manners
Tyres touching a runway is not the signal to whip out your phone and tell people you’ve arrived. Wait until you reach the terminal.

By Will Milner
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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