In the Old West, stage travel took patience and stamina. Wells Fargo published a set of rules for passengers meant to make an unpleasant experience at least tolerable. Deadwood Magazine suggests these same rules might make modern travel more civil. We'd have to throw out Wells Fargo's Rule #6, but the other 8 rules would make air travel more agreeable.
So, in the interest of travelers everywhere, here are a few rules of my own:
- Play nice with the flight attendants—the rest of us want them in a good mood
- Use drugs and liquor lightly … or so heavily you pass out and leave others alone
- Turn off game sounds
- If you’re going to hog overhead storage, at least don’t wear a put-upon expression
- Armrests are community property—remember what you learned in kindergarten
- If you can’t remember the last time you bathed, it was too long ago
- Drop the F-word and add please and thank you to your vocabulary
- Air travel is not a nesting opportunity—resist the urge to haul along heaps of stuff
- Forget Mr. Rogers—you really aren’t special
Now that I’m on the subject, I’ll tell you about my most memorable airplane incident. I was stuck in a middle seat, which always makes me cranky. The man in the aisle seat came aboard and stowed his briefcase in the overhead. Suddenly, the woman in the window seat shoved me and ordered me to let her out. Before I could move, the woman yelled at the man that he had laid his briefcase on top of her fur coat. He appeared startled at her assault but politely said she couldn’t take up the whole bin by laying her coat length ways. She immediately shoved me again and demanded to get out. I struggled to get into the aisle, but now the man blocked my exit. Yelling went back and forth and all I could think about was that I had to spend five hours crushed between two warring parties.
Just before the flight attendant worked her way to our row, the man yelled, “Lady, I can tell you what you can do with that fur. You can—”
“Don’t you say it,” she yelled back.
It looked like nothing could defuse the situation, and then a passenger about three rows back yelled, “Hey lady, the last time that fur was on an animal, it was laying in the dirt.”
The whole plane burst out in laughter. The chagrined woman retook her seat and never uttered another peep for the entire flight. I read in blissful silence.