Pharyngula

Airplanes make me cranky

I’m home. It’s been a very long day with horrible flight delays, and I’m grouchy. I must frog blast the vent core.

I was stuck on an airplane for far too many hours, and I wanted to get some work done — on my laptop. Have you noticed how tightly packed the seats are in coach? It was tight, but I could at least get started on some work, when the guy in front of me decided to recline his seat back and sleep. Suddenly there was a head rest aimed at my throat and the back of the guy’s head in my nose. I could smell his shampoo! (I think it was scented with sweat vinaigrette, with extra animal fats added for body). I tried to work some more, but the only way to do it was to partially open my laptop, rest the hinges on my thighs, and reach into the gap to type; it was like squatting by the tank at Seaworld, trying to do dentistry on a dolphin while squinting at the phosphorescent herring stuck to the roof of his mouth.

Airlines, please. If you’re going to squeeze the seats together that closely, could you please lock them all in one position? It just doesn’t work otherwise. And how about screening passengers for basic hygiene? By the end of the trip I was beginning to think that it would be a mercy if the hairball in front of me detonated.

OK, I feel a little better now.

Comments

  1. #1 JJ
    March 30, 2008

    You need a “Knee Defender” – http://www.kneedefender.com.

    No I don’t work for them but I did buy one for a friend.

    J

  2. #2 Dennis
    March 30, 2008

    I just got home from Vancouver after a 4 and half hour flight with sone guys elbows stuck in my ribcage while typing on his laptop for the entire trip. So I take a different view on this one. At least if the guy in front reclines I can do the same and buy a little space. But when the guy beside you decides to use his elbows like Gordie Howe in the corners your screwed. And thank god for Westjet and their “slightly” more leg room.

  3. #3 chris
    March 30, 2008

    The best flights are the international ones that take hours and hours to get where they need to go. I’m going to japan at the end of may, luckly i’ll be taking off from vancouver and not Newark like last time. I’m glad they don’t have crazy creationists there…I hope.

  4. #4 Alex
    March 30, 2008

    I hate to defend the airlines but if you want more room in coach then you have to be willing to pay more for your seat which is something that American consumers will fight tooth and nail. Each inch of extra legroom means less room for extra seats that can be sold at a profit. Higher fuel prices make this more true than ever. It sucks but thats real world economics at work.

  5. #5 Tom
    March 31, 2008

    As the 5’6″ son of vertically challenged parents, air travel is one of the few occasions when I am glad to be short. I get to stretch out in economy.

    On a 15 hour flight from London to Singapore, my parents had blagged the emergency exit seats. When they realised that they didn’t really need them, they offered them up to two taller people who were sitting nearby. I’m proud of them for that.

  6. #6 vjack
    March 31, 2008

    Just reading this post makes me want to avoid flying! I don’t even bother bringing my laptop anymore because I can rest assured that the jackass in front of me will always recline the seat. Grrrrr!

  7. #7 Art
    March 31, 2008

    One creative approach is to eat large amounts of powerful garlic before loading. When they lean back with their head just about touching your chin they enter your ‘zone of noxious fallout’ then the fight is on. Their hair pomade versus your garlic. With the odds stacked in your favor.

    This doesn’t seem to work so well with certain cultures that are more or less immune to smells and with garlic eating ethnicities. It also helps to keep a strong breath lozenge or two handy. You never know when it may be better to be less offensive.

  8. #8 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 31, 2008

    And then the person is arrested for vandalizing airline property?

    No. Haven’t you visited the Knee Defender? homepage?

    What the FAA Says

    The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was asked about the use of Knee Defenders.
    As reported in the October 28, 2003 edition of The Washington Post:
    “FAA spokesman Paul Takemoto said the clips were not against federal aviation rules as long as they weren’t used during taxiing, takeoffs or landings.”
    Knee Defenders? are specifically designed to be used with your tray table lowered, while your tray table must be up and locked “during taxiing, takeoffs or landings.”
    So, as long as Knee Defenders? are being used as they are designed to be used in flight, their use does not violate any US aviation law, rule, or regulation.

  9. #9 Orac
    March 31, 2008

    It could be worse, PZ. You could have experienced the Hand of Doom.