Skip to main content

Toddlers climbing seats, running amuck in the aisles and screaming as their ears burst on the way down, are “brats” who are “ruining travel.” To hear many people tell it, kids on planes are the worst.

And while it’s true that I’ve had the bad fortune of being next to kids whose parents refuse to parent on the plane, it’s also true that I’ve seen great people trying their hardest to handle a tough situation.

I can’t say the same for travelling with adults. What is it about climbing into a metal tube and soaring above the Earth that turns functioning adults into evil, toenail-clipping maniacs? Think I’m exaggerating? Tell it to the woman on a plane with me last week who had her bare feet on the armrest in front of her.

Let’s make a deal: I’ll work on getting my kids to use their inside voices and do what I can to manage the projectile vomiting if you do your part by not falling into one of these categories.

The Lane Stealer

The seat you paid for has borders. Middle-seat elbow ownership ends on the armrests (you’re entitled to both). What you can’t do is stick your feet or bags under the seat in front of mine. And if I’ve paid for a seat for my kid, you aren’t entitled to their “extra space” in front of their seat. Stay in your lane. Considering raising the armrest to get more comfortable? Don’t mess with the border. Also, my seat includes the back of my seat. Mind your TV-screen-punching aggression and use your armrest if you need support to stand. Thanks.

The Fully Extension-er

I know you have the “right” to push your seat back, but if you’re feeling cramped in your space, don’t you think the person behind you is equally cramped? Pushing your seat back says, “My space and comfort is more important than yours.” If you must extend, then at least give some warning and don’t attempt to make your economy seat lie flat. Fair warning: If you crash into my child or my computer, I’m completely warranted in a push back.

The In-Air Groomer

Readjusting your pony tail and a last-minute lip gloss swipe is one thing, but if you’ve turned your space into a bathroom or beauty salon, you’re doing it wrong. While, technically, this is your space for the next few hours, no one wants to find the wayward toenail clippings or random hairs you plucked from your nose on their seat when you’re gone. Ditto for flossing and heavy makeup applications. Gotta do it in the air? Head for the bathroom. And fair is fair: That’s where diaper changes need to happen as well.

The Way-Too-Comfortable Flier

Shoes unlaced? Acceptable. Discreetly having your socked feet tucked under the chair in front of you but knowing to reassemble should you need to walk to the bathroom? Forgivable. Removing your socks, putting your feet up on the armrest between the chairs in front of you, then traipsing back and forth to the bathroom? Hell no. And if you find yourself even slightly tempted to undo your pants on the plane, it’s time to hand in your passport.

The Entertainment Monster

My kids know the rules: No headphones? No sound. Your inability to remember to pack a decent pair of headphones doesn’t give you the right to subject the rest of us to your favourite band or TV show. Ditto for preflight phone conversations. The speaker phone was not meant for the airport lounge or gate. And when you’re on board, watch your volume. If your music is up so loud that I can hear it through your Bose headphones, the sound cancelling is broken.

The You-Can’t-See-Me Traveller

Not everything you would watch at home is fit for the skies. I can see the porn you’re watching on the plane and so can my kids. Be sure that I’m plotting my revenge on you while bracing for the questions they’ll likely ask me later.

The Heavy Sigher

Let’s make a deal. You have every right to ignore my child on the flight, but if you start waving and singing to her, don’t be surprised when she asks for more. You can’t blame an infant who’s been peek-a-boo’d for assuming that that’s just how this trip is going to go. Also, your sighs at every whimper from my child isn’t winning you any brownie points. We’ll still be on the flight, no matter how hard you sigh. Get over it.