Airplane travelers, keep your shoes on, leave onions and kimchi at home | News Coverage from USA

Airplane travelers, keep your shoes on, leave onions and kimchi at home

opinion

Are you planning on traveling soon? A flight to see family or for a vacation? Or maybe, like so many of us in the skies these days, you are dragging yourself off on business.

No matter the reason, I have a request for you:

Don’t be the person who makes everyone miserable. Don’t kick off your shoes and put your bare feet up on the bulkhead, or on the ceiling of the cabin, or on the arm of the chair of the person next to you, or worse yet, on the person next to you.

If it’s warm and you have long hair, put it up neatly. Don’t drape it over the seat into the drink or in front of the television screen of the passenger behind you. If you’re hungry, bring a snack, not an entire tray of kimchi.

Drying your panties? Give me a break. 

Related: Don’t eat an onion in an enclosed, pressurized space like it’s an apple.

And please don’t use the overhead air vent to dry your panties.

All of these things have happened. Some of them I’ve witnessed myself, others have been surreptitiously photographed and posted to social media. Television personality Andy Richter recently triggered a spate of articles after he angrily sent out a photo of a typically slovenly fellow air passenger, but I like to think I was an early adopter on this issue: I’ve been tweeting and writing about it for years.

What is it about airports and modern jetliners that convinces people that they should pull their shoes off?

If you think this is a strange objection rooted in some sort of disgust about feet, just ask a flight attendant what he or she thinks of people walking around an airplane — including to the lavatory — in socks or bare feet.

I have, and the response is almost always one not only of disdain but also of incredulity that anyone does this at all.

Flying 101: Don’t bring a peacock 

The list of travel sins does not stop at the toddler-like inability to keep shoes on. Whether it’s disgusting food that turns the cabin into a chemical warfare exercise, or passengers stuck on the runway having entire conversations on FaceTime without using headphones, or people trying to sneak pigs and peacocks on board as emotional support animals, every day on public transportation proves, as the existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once wrote, that hell is other people.

Of course, in modern America everyone has an excuse. Planes are getting more crowded. The airlines cancel flights. It’s expensive to check bags. There’s no food, and we cannot live by peanuts and cola alone. And on and on.

This is all just so much rationalization. What we’re seeing in the air now is narcissistic, passive-aggressive and even outright anti-social behavior. If you’re eating a raw onion, or you’re upset that the passenger next to you would think to ask you to move your dog out of his seat, or you’ve decided that life is better when you swipe the touch screen with your bare feet — again, this really happened — then something has gone wrong in your path to adulthood.

Keep your feet to yourself

Airline travel is a modern miracle, and what’s more, it’s cheap. Before the deregulation of the airline industry in the late 1970s, 4 in 5 American adults had never flown on a commercial jet. Today, almost 9 in 10 have, and many of them regularly for trips that in an earlier time would have been by car or bus.

Yet we complain and pretend that our complaints allow us to act like slobs. Our whining about life in the skies is a self-fulling prophecy: It is, in fact, miserable because we’ve made it that way.

It’s not hard to be a good citizen in the skies. Leave your shoes on, unless you’re on a long flight, in which case it’s perfectly acceptable to slip off your footwear, so long as you keep your feet to yourself and put some footwear back on to move about the cabin. Don’t stink up the cabin with food; a turkey sandwich will hold you as well as a basket of jalapeno poppers. Don’t stink up the cabin with you, either. Brush your teeth. Wear clean clothes. Pretend it’s not your first day out of prison.

Air travel is involuntary confinement

A word is in order here about the most sensitive issue there is: reclining. There are reclinists and anti-reclinists, and the battle between them will never cease. But adults have a gift called “common sense,” and it can solve a lot of problems. Is the person behind you a big fellow? Give him a break. Is it an overnight flight? Be patient with the person who needs a few inches of incline for some sleep. A little consideration goes a long way.

Air travel is a wondrous invention, but it is a period of involuntary confinement. If you’d like to work out and shower and have a drink and a first-class meal during that time, companies like Emirates airlines will be happy to show you a wonderful time in the sky on board the A380 for about 10 grand, give or take.

The rest of us, however, can still go anywhere we like for far less. We can even enjoy the experience, as long as we try to hold ourselves to a minimum standard of adult behavior. So relax, smile at the flight attendant — most of them, I find, appreciate it and will gladly smile back — and take in the miracle of rapid global travel.

Just leave the shoes on, please.

Tom Nichols is a national security professor at the Naval War College, a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors and author of “The Death of Expertise.” The views expressed here are solely his own. Follow him on Twitter: @RadioFreeTom

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *